Lasting Power of Attorney

Powers of Attorney, Court of Protection & Deputyship

If you’re worried about losing the ability to manage your financial affairs finances or who will make decisions about your health or welfare either now or in later life, you may want to consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney (known as an ‘LPA’)

Irwin Mitchell have very kindly helped Sky Badger put these legal guides together. You can find them as well as lots of other organisations and charities specialising in legal advice at the bottom of this page.

Powers of Attorney

Keys facts about Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)

  • An LPA appoints an Attorney(s) to make decisions on your behalf.
  • It records your wishes and what powers your Attorney(s) should be granted
  • If you lack the required capacity to sign an LPA then an application can be made on your behalf to the Court of Protection for them to appoint a ‘Deputy’ in respect of your ‘Property and Affairs’ and/or ‘Health and Welfare’.

Types of LPA

There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)

An LPA is a legal document that is prepared by or on behalf of someone who may need assistance in managing their financial affairs or relation to decisions about their health and welfare. People are free to sign either document or can choose to sign both.  

A ‘Health and Welfare’ LPA

A ‘Health and Welfare’ LPA allows you to choose one or more people to be your Attorney(s)make decisions about you personally.  It can include decisions about your day to day life including care and support – subject to any restrictions or guidance you want to include.  It can also enable you to give your Attorney(s) the ability to give or refuse consent to life sustaining treatment.

PLEASE NOTE - this LPA can only be used when you are unable to make the specific decision in question.  You cannot delegate your responsibility to decide on matters about you personally if you are able to do so for yourself.

‘Property and Financial Affairs’ LPA

A ‘Property and Financial Affairs’ LPA enables you to choose one or more people to be your Attorney(s) and make property and financial decisions on your behalf subject to any conditions or guidance that you want to include.

PLEASE NOTE - you can use this LPA whether or not you still have capacity to decide the decision in question yourself.

Both types of LPA require registration at the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used and should be registered immediately upon completion.

When do I need to have one done?

Anyone over the age of 18 is able to sign an LPA provided that they have the mental capacity to do so.  Often an LPA is signed where someone is beginning to lack mental capacity so as to ensure they have chosen who they trust to make decisions on their behalf.

For example, a person could have the mental capacity to make simple decisions (e.g. what to have for lunch today) but not more complex decisions (e.g. where to live or whether to have medical treatment). It also means that someone whose condition changes over time might have the mental capacity to make a decision one day but not the next.

What does ‘mental capacity’ mean?

Parents tell us they are concerned about their children who lack the mental capacity to make certain decisions and worry about what will happen when they become young adults. The MCA is the law which applies to decision making for people aged 16 and over who do not have the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) says that decisions made about someone who lacks capacity must be made in their ‘best interests’.  The views of the person’s friends and family must be taken into account when deciding what is in the person’s best interests.

Things like these should be considered…

  • The person’s past and present wishes and feelings (including any written statement they made when they had capacity)
  • The beliefs and values they would be likely to have if they had capacity
  • Things they would consider if they were able to do so
  • The views of others, including, if appropriate, anyone caring for the person or interested in their welfare and any Attorney or Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection

Enduring Power of Attorney

Whilst it is no longer possible to make an Enduring Power of Attorney ‘EPA’ any document signed before the beginning of October 2007 remains valid.  PLEASE NOTE – an EPA relates to financial matters only and confers no legal powers whatsoever to a(n) Attorney(s) in relation to decisions about ‘Health and Welfare’.

An EPA does not need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian ‘OPG’ before it can be used.  An EPA can be used by an Attorney(s) without needing to register it provided that you have the mental capacity to manage your financial affairs for yourself.  An Attorney must register the EPA with the OPG when they know or believe that you may have lost the mental capacity to manage your financial affairs for yourself.

What happens if I don’t have an LPA?

Without an LPA, your family may find it difficult to manage both your financial affairs as well as take decisions about you personally as they will not have the legal authority to do so and may not know your wishes. They may need to apply to the Court of Protection for an Order to be appointed as your ‘Deputy’ for ‘Property and Affairs’ and/or ‘Health and Welfare’. It can be costly and time-consuming to do this.

Putting both a ‘Property and Financial Affairs’ and ‘Health and Welfare’ LPA in place offers security for you and your loved ones and lets you decide what should happen if old age, illness or injury leave you unable to deal with your own affairs.

How Do I Get an LPA?

You can put an LPA in place yourself or you can visit a solicitor who can discuss your individual circumstances and concerns that you may have guide and advise you about your options. They will be able to complete all of the paperwork and register the documents with the Office of the Public Guardian.  A solicitor will be able to review your situation more broadly and challenge and advise you on other issues that you may not have considered as well as looking at the ‘what if’ scenarios about how your family may act.

Sadly if you no longer have the mental capacity to understand what an LPA is and the powers that they confer upon your Attorney(s) it will not be possible to sign an LPA.  In that situation an application for ‘Deputyship’ will need to be made to the Court of Protection.  A solicitor will be able to advise you and your family about your options and prepare the application(s) for you.

How much will it cost?

There's a compulsory cost of £82 to register each LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian in England ‘OPG’. If you decide to use a solicitor, you'll also have to pay legal fees to your solicitor who will be able to advise you before you decide.  It may be possible to apply for the OPG registration fee to be waved.  You will need to complete form and demonstrate that you are within their eligibility criteria e.g. your income is below £12,000 per year.

Anything else I should know about LPAs?

An LPA can appear to be a straight forward document but please be advised that without specialist advice from a solicitor there is a risk that it could be invalid or difficult for your Attorney(s) to operate if does not function as you intended.

Where there are any questions concern mental capacity, an LPA should only be signed once a suitably qualified medical practitioner has done an assessment of capacity and confirmed in writing that you have the required capacity to sign the document.

PLEASE NOTE – ordinarily this would be a specialist medical practitioner rather than a GP.

Can we help you with any other legal information?

Advocacy

are you a carer of a young person who is about to start using adult services? Finding out about Advocacy is really important so that you or the young person you care for can be heard, understand your choices and make your own decisions.

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A Guide to the Care Act 2014

What happens when my disabled child becomes an adult?

The Care Act 2014 offers carers more rights & protection both for themselves and for the disabled adult they care for.

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Medical Negligence

Information and advice about medical negligence. Find help for your child if they were misdiagnosed, if you want to find out about brain injury compensation, clinical negligence claims, incorrect treatment or a surgical mistake.

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Public Law & Community Care, including Judicial Review

judicial review

If you are a carer, or care for someone, then this is for you. When you depend on accessing community care and services on a daily basis and you lose it, things can go badly wrong. You can be left at risk, vulnerable and alone and often unaware of your rights. Find out here what you can do, how to get help and about Judicial Reviews.

Irwin Mitchell have very kindly helped Sky Badger put these legal guides together. You can find them as well as lots of other organisations and charities specialising in legal advice at the bottom of this page.

What’s gone wrong?

Public bodies such as Local Authorities and health organisations make important decisions about the lives of vulnerable people and their access to services. Sometimes these decisions are unlawful and may need to be challenged. Sometimes the bodies delay making a decision or do not reply at all and this may also need to be challenged.

This might include some of the following things…

• Failure to carry out a community care assessment
• Failure to provide a suitable level of care following an assessment
• Withdrawal or reduction of a previous level of care
• Closure of care facilities such as day centres, respite centres, care homes or transport services
• Rights to welfare services, such as help with personal care
• Services to enable people to remain in their own homes
• Access to aids and adaptations in the home
• Direct payments and personal budgets
• Support for people on discharge from hospital, or to help safe discharge take place
• Incontinence services
• Wheelchair services
• Support to help people to access the community
• Challenges to closure of care homes and hospitals

This can also include Disputes between local authorities and NHS agencies about funding for care, including NHS continuing care.

What do I do next?

If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, you can seek assistance or advice about steps you can take to challenge the decision. You can seek advice as a disabled person, a carer or a family member of a disabled child or adult. How to challenge the decision will depend on the type of decision made and the type of public body that has made the decision – so it is important to get good quality advice. You may need to make a formal complaint, start an appeal process, or start a Judicial review claim.

What is a Judicial Review?

Judicial review is the legal process used to hold public bodies to account and to challenge unlawful decisions. There are very strict time limits for bringing a challenge so it is important to seek advice as soon as possible if you think that an unlawful decision has been made.

 

A claim should be issued in court promptly and within 3 months of the decision, and before that your solicitor would write to the decision maker to set out details of the claim and wait for a response. So, you may need to get advice and legal representation fast.

This is a complicated process that solicitors can support you with in bringing cases on behalf of vulnerable disabled people to enforce their legal rights. You usually find that most cases can be resolved before going to court once other options and routes are explored. Judicial review should only be used as a last option.

Legal Aid may be available for advice and assistance.

FIND LOADS MORE LEGAL SUPPORT, ADVOCATES & LAWYERS HERE...

Use our directory to find lots of charities and firms that can give you legal advice.

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Holidays & Free time

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Useful technology & kit

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Finances

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Legal stuff

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Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.

Not sure where to turn?

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Contact our helpdesk

Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.

Medical Negligence

Medical negligence is when medical people fail in their duty of care to you, leading to injury or making an existing condition worse. There are a number of ways that medical negligence can happen, such as misdiagnosis, incorrect treatment or surgical mistakes.

Irwin Mitchell have very kindly helped Sky Badger put these legal guides together. You can find them as well as lots of other organisations and charities specialising in legal advice at the bottom of this page.

medical negligence

Types of Medical Negligence

For example, you may consider these areas:

  • Delay in diagnosis / Wrong diagnosis or misdiagnosis
  • Brain injury either at birth, shortly after birth or acquired brain injury
  • Brain damage and traumatic brain damage
  • Childbirth injuries, traumas and birth trauma effects on a baby
  • Poor surgical treatment/ Poor nursing care
  • Delay in treatment
  • Prescription errors
  • Dental negligence and eye related treatments.
  • Hospital related infections
  • Cosmetic surgery

BIRTH INJURIES

Midwives and Doctors usually provide a high standard of care during childbirth, but if procedures aren’t followed correctly, or there’s a communication error, there can be devastating consequences for your child.

Some of these complications and injuries, either at birth or afterwards, can lead to conditions such as Cerebral Palsy and other neurological issues which may have a life changing impact on your family for the rest of your child’s life.

You may be entitled to bring a claim if you’ve been injured, or suffered an illness because of negligent treatment by an NHS Trust or healthcare professional.

Birth injury claims should be dealt with by a specialist Birth Injury lawyer; also, specialist solicitors can help you seek answers from those responsible and make sure that your child receives the compensation and rehabilitation they need.

So, it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as you can if you think medical negligence may be a factor in the outcome of any treatment.

Where do I start?

The first step to making a medical negligence claim is to contact a solicitor; as soon as you are able to after you believe negligence has happened, whilst the information is still fresh in your mind.

You can make a complaint to the care provider which should be made within 12 months of the treatment in question. Your complaint will be looked into and you should receive a reply to the concerns raised. You may also receive an apology or reassurance that changes have been made to prevent the same problem happening again.

When do I need to Claim by?

Usually you have three years to make a medical negligence claim; this is from the date of the medical error. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

In the case of children, the three year time limit does not apply until their 18th birthday and they can process a claim up to their 21st birthday.  It doesn’t matter about the date that the incident occurred, or you realized they were injured.

Also, if the person bringing the claim lacks mental capacity the time limits may not apply.

How Do I Prove A Medical Negligence Case?

You must be able to prove that you’ve received negligent treatment which caused an injury or contributed to making an existing condition worse.

How Much Can I Claim For Medical Negligence?

The amount of compensation you can claim for medical negligence will vary depending on:

  • The extent of the injury/illness
  • Any expenses you’ve incurred
  • Your future care needs
  • Therapies
  • Accommodation
  • Aids & Equipment
  • Rehabilitation

Will I Need To Go To Court?

Only a very small number of these cases go to court.. However, if your case goes to court, you will get help and support through the process.

How Long Do Cases Take To Settle?

They usually settle claims (i.e. come to an agreement) as quickly as possible to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. This differs depending on what happened in the case.

LEGAL AID

Legal Aid, can I apply for this?

You can usually apply for legal aid if a child has suffered a brain injury during pregnancy/childbirth, or shortly after ( 8 weeks) , which has resulted in a severe disability.

Not all solicitors firms are able to offer Legal Aid, so if you think you might be able to apply for this funding it is important to find a firm who offers Legal Aid.

Will a Medical Examination be needed?

It’s likely that you’ll need to see an expert doctor to assess the extent of any damage/injury you’ve suffered as a result of negligent treatment. It’s important to get the professional opinion of an independent medical expert to help with your claim.

Can I claim on behalf of my child?

Parents can make medical negligence claims on behalf of their children. There are many solicitors who can do this and talk through the timescales, as well as the personal injury compensation guidelines.

Some other useful information...

This film was made my Irwin Mitchell.

When Julian and Rachel went into hospital for the birth of their first child, they expected to be bringing home a healthy baby, however due to complications during his delivery, their son Joseph now suffers from cerebral palsy.

Watch their story here.

law society
  • Legal aid and access to justice
  • Where do I find a legal aid solicitor?
  • Cases where you can get legal aid
  • How do I find out if I'm eligible for legal aid?

Find loads more legal support, ADVOCATES & lawyers here...

Use our directory to find lots of charities and firms that can give you legal advice.

Looking for something else?

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Education

Find extra help at school, information about Education, Health, Care Plans (EHCP), apps & programmes, tech and IT for supporting learning and sensory activities.

disabled holidays uk

Holidays & Free time

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Useful technology & kit

Find sensory toys, useful technology, trikes and bikes, wheelchairs & mobility.

disabled grants

Finances

Find grants, governemnt benefits and help with your utility and council tax bills.

oqmzwnd3thu-helloquence

Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.

Not sure where to turn?

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Contact our helpdesk

Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.

Information about you…GDPR

What is the GDPR?

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy. Under the GDPR, the data protection principles set out the main responsibilities for organisations.

 

Article 5 of the GDPR requires that personal data shall be:

  1. a) processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals;
  2. b) collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes; further processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes shall not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes;
  3. c) adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed;
  4. d) accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay;
  5. e) kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures required by the GDPR in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals; and
  6. f) processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures.”

 

Article 5(2) requires that:

“the controller shall be responsible for, and be able to demonstrate, compliance with the principles.”

Awareness

All staff and decision makers at Sky Badger have been made aware that the law is changing to the GDPR. They appreciate the impact this is likely to have and have identified areas that could cause compliance problems under the GDPR.

Information Sky Badger holds about you

We have identified certain groups that need high levels of security and data control. We do this with all individuals but not companies in line with the GDPR regulations.

Key points

We do not share your information with any third parties in a way that can identify individuals. We only share information as part of our annual return and accounts to the Charity Commission as well as grant givers and supporters (statistical purposes). Information shared includes numbers of helpdesk cases and what they are about in a very general way.

Personal Data Held

  • Email
  • Name
  • Description of case (helpdesk has specific controls – see below)
  • Emails to and from Sky Badger Staff
  • Duration of relationship in regards to volunteering commitments etc.

Case Studies

The only exception to this anonymised data reporting is made public through annual case studies from the helpdesk and our volunteers. Permission to share their information is requested separately and is only published with their explicit permission and certain facts may be anonymised if requested by that individual.

Helpdesk Cases

Sky Badger has extra security levels relating to our helpdesk to make sure that all information is kept in the strictest confidence. This includes all information being managed through our Salesforce database. The helpdesk information is only accessible to approved and trained helpdesk staff and the CEO in her role in anonymising this data for annual reporting and in her role as DPO (Data Protection Officer).

Personal Data Help for Helpdesk Cases

  • Email
  • Name
  • Description of case including any pertinent details regarding conditions and needs being advised upon.
  • Emails to and from Sky Badger Staff

Right to be Forgotten

Also known as Data Erasure, the right to be forgotten entitles the all Sky Badger users that have data stored by us to have the data controller erase his/her personal data, cease further dissemination of the data, and potentially have third parties halt processing of the data. These conditions for erasure are outlined in article 17 and include the data no longer being relevant to original purposes for processing, or a data subjects withdrawing consent. If at any time you wish us to delete you data from our records before the 12 month requirement, please contact as at team@skybadger.co.uk

Communicating privacy information

Sky Badger has reviewed our current privacy notices and has put a plan in place for making any necessary changes in time for GDPR implementation. When you collect personal data you currently have to give people certain information, such as your identity and how you intend to use your information. This includes our new need to explain our lawful basis for processing the data, your data retention periods and that individuals have a right to Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

ICO

Sky Badger fully complies with the ICO regulations in managing data.

Individuals’ rights

Sky Badger procedures ensure that the rights individuals have, including how to delete personal data or provide data electronically and in a commonly used format.

The GDPR includes the following rights for individuals:

  • the right to be informed;
  • the right of access;
  • the right to rectification;
  • the right to erasure;
  • the right to restrict processing;
  • the right to data portability;
  • the right to object; and
  • the right not to be subject to automated decision-making including
  • profiling.

Subject access requests

Sky Badger has updated our procedures in how we will handle requests to take account of the new rules:

  • We will not be charging for complying with a request.
  • We will have a month to comply, rather than the current 40 days.
  • We can refuse or charge for requests that are manifestly unfounded or excessive.
  • If we refuse a request, we must tell you why and that you have the right to complain to the supervisory authority and to a judicial remedy. We will do this without undue delay and at the latest, within one month.

Lawful basis for processing personal data

The lawful bases for processing are set out in Article 6 of the GDPR. ‘applies whenever we process personal data:

(a) Consent: the individual has given clear consent for you to process their personal data for a specific purpose.

Consent

GDPR definition: “any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject's wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her”

When requesting consent, Sky Badger includes the name of our organisation and the names of any third parties who will rely on the consent, why we want the data (the purposes of the processing), what you will do with the data (the processing activities); and that you can withdraw their consent at any time.

We confirm consent through…

  • ticking an opt-in box on paper or electronically;
  • clicking an opt-in button or link online;
  • selecting from equally prominent yes/no options;
  • choosing technical settings or preference dashboard settings;
  • responding to an email requesting consent;
  • answering yes to a clear oral consent request;
  • volunteering optional information for a specific purpose – eg filling optional fields in a form (combined with just-in-time notices) or dropping a business card into a box.

Children’s Consent

There is a specific provision in Article 8 on children’s consent for ‘information society services’ (services requested and delivered over the internet).

Volunteering: If any children under the age of 16 volunteer for Sky Badger we require parental consent in advance of the programme beginning.

Helpdesk: We do not deliver counselling or support directly to children. All advice is delivered to parents and carers.

Data breaches

Sky Badger have the right procedures in place to detect, report and investigate a personal data breach. We are already required to notify the ICO (and possibly some other bodies) if Sky Badger suffers a personal data breach.

Data Protection by Design and Data Protection Impact Assessments

Sky Badger has adopted a privacy by design approach and carries out a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) as part of this. We also carry out PIAs – referred to as ‘Data Protection Impact Assessments’.

Data Protection Officers

The Chief Executive, Ms Naomi Marek is Sky Badger’s Data Protection Officer. She will be required to report to the Trustees in regards to data protection. Training will be provided when necessary and expert guidance to fulfil this role will be gathered from Sky Badger’s IT expertise.

Security Measures

Website access controls, hacking prevention, firewalls and threats.

  1. The website uses https:// so that website traffic is passed over a secure connection.
  2. There is a plugin installed called WordFence that enhances the security of the site - It can enforce strong passwords for user accounts (or the frequency they need to be changed), monitor password attempts to prevent hacking and block threats from known IP addresses.
  3. The website server is a Virtual Private Server run by Ecohosting. It has a firewall and access is restricted by password and IP address - If you need any information about this, let me know and I can find out.
  4. The 'contact us' and 'volunteering' forms use the "Web-to-Lead" plugin and pass the data straight into Salesforce without storing any of it on the website.
  5. The other contact forms on the website use the WordPress plugin 'Contact Form 7'. The default setting for this plugin is that it emails the contact data to a chosen email address and doesn't store any data on the website.

Salesforce Compliance

  1. Salesforce complies with a variety of data protection laws and regulations. Their services have earned numerous security-related certifications based on the administrative, technical, and physical safeguards they use to protect our customers’ personal data. For some of their services, these certifications include the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001 and 27018 standard, the American Institute of CPAs’ (AICPA) System and Organization Controls (SOC) reports, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI), the TÜV Rheinland Certified Cloud Service, and the UK Cyber Essentials Scheme. Their services also have earned the TRUSTe Certified seal, signifying that the privacy certification organization TRUSTe.
  2. Salesforce publishes Trust and Compliance documentation for each of their major services. This documentation describes the architecture of each service, the security- and privacy-related audits and certifications the service has received, and the applicable administrative, technical, and physical controls. The documentation also describes the infrastructure environment and entities material to their provision of services.

Lost in Transition – Part 18

Love Actually

Love Actually

Love is funny stuff.

Max, my fabulous 16-year-old son who has autism and epilepsy has been in love with his gorgeous Italian girlfriend for 2 years now. They met at school in the Cabin, an SEN supported section of their mainstream school in Cambridge.

Last year however, I had a horrid phone call from the school when they found out that Max and his girlfriend were having sleepovers at each other’s houses.

”…serious safeguarding issues Ms. Marek...”.

It sparked an equally serious response from me and the girl’s mum, I probably over reacted but their relationship is amazingly innocent. You see, they are both a lot younger than their years and haven’t even kissed yet. It is a relationship based on hand holding, declarations of undying love and lots of cute presents. I explained this to the school forcibly enough to get an unreserved apology. BUT they probably will kiss one day, they might even do more! Then what? How can a parent protect and support a relationship between two SEN young people? Is it even any of our business? There are after all, big conversations to have…big emotions, birth control…augh! Not yet though. I shall try to pop this terrifying thought in Pandora’s box just to the left of ‘hope’.

In September, the young love birds had to say goodbye to each other as Max left to go to college in Shropshire to do catering. An amazing college but a good 3 hours away from his girlfriend in Cambridge. Max has been so worried she’ll find someone else…. especially if that someone else turned out to be Max’s best friend who is still as school with her and a really nice chap to boot!

So here is my problem, we all hope our children grow up and find love. I don’t know about you but the thing that keeps me awake at night is the idea that my beautiful boy will become isolated. The idea of Max being alone, not hanging out with friends, not blushing when he asks out a girl, not holding sweaty hands on a date or having his first kiss.

I’m terrified of Max breaking up with his Italian girlfriend. The idea of him feeling heartbreak for the first time makes me feel physically sick. He’s been through enough challenges to be fair. All the medical stuff, struggling at school and making friends. I want to protect him from any more pain. Ridiculous I know. Love and heartbreak are normal and important parts of growing up and once again, this pain isn’t something I can shield Max from and that kills me.

Ironically, for my other son I want him to date lots, to have the great adventure that is love and heartbreak over and over again. I’m struggling with the inequality I’m feeling between the way I treat my two boys. After all, if my other son were to fall in love with a girl he meets at school and never dates anyone else at all I would be seriously worried.

Should I be worried about Max? Am I doing wrong to see them differently?

Last week I saw something beautiful. Max met up with his girlfriend for the first time in ages when he was back for half term. He brought her a dozen red roses. She melted, it was glorious…but her mum and I got thoroughly tearful. The young love birds held hands and coyly walked to the cinema with us mums following at a respectable distance. For now, I’ll try not to worry and remember the way they looked at each other walking in front of us. So delicate and tender. A true gentle innocence. It was enough to take your breath away.

Love Actually.

Extra help… In and out of the classroom

Disability Living Allowance Seeing

If you're looking for extra help for a child with SEN, Dyslexia, or on the autistic spectrum you have come to the right place!

What are Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

Your child has Special Educational Needs if they have a difficulty or disability which makes learning harder for them than for other kids their age. It could be anything from dyslexia or dyspraxia, to emotional or social problems.

Levels of help

There are lots of levels of help available to your child, with a statement being right at the top. Have a conversation with your school teacher or SENCO (special educational needs co-ordinator) for advice on the level your child needs.

The educational support process is like a staircase, and your child can only move up one step at a time, if it is clear that they are not making progress with the current level of support. It can take time to get them the right support, so hang in there, and be patient.

Gifted?

Your child also might have SEN and be gifted in another way. This is called Dual or Multiple Exceptionality. You can find out more with some brilliant factsheets from the National Association for Gifted Children about supporting gifted kids with additional needs.

Extra help

You can get extra help if your child is affected by...

  • a lengthy stays in hospital
  • mobility issues around their school
  • or sight or hearing problems that prevent them from fully accessing the curriculum.

People You'll meet...THERAPISTS & EDUCATIONAL PROFESSIONALS

While your child goes through diagnosis and treatment, you may come across some specialist therapists and professionals. Here is our handy guide to the types of professionals that are there to support your child and what they do.

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Browse loads more help at school

Our directory is crammed with amazing organisations who can help with all aspects of your child's education.

Not sure where to turn?

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Contact our helpdesk

Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.

LOST IN TRANSITION – PART 16

Real Genius

GCSE results

Results day. I know I should be pleased for them. I should say “well done” to all the children of my friends that I’ve watched grow up with Max. I’m trying, promise. But the wild gushing of how incredibly bright they are, how hard they worked, how much they deserve their 15 A*s. Well, do you know what? I’m not proud of them, I’m green eyed with furious envy.

You see, my Max sat his exams this year too. Actually, that’s exam in the singular but that’s another story. He studied, he revised. He threw himself into the subject with everything he’s got and he failed spectacularly. He was always going to fail, I knew that too but there is something deep down that feels unfair about how hard he tried. The fact is that in order for people to get A’s there must be others that get C’s or fails. I just didn’t want it to be him, he could do with a win. He’s only 16 and his life has been so damn hard. I wonder how many other mums have spent time today with fixed smiles on their devastated faces? How many of their friends simply forgot that their children also sat a couple of exams? How many chose not to ask?

It’s all a bit ridiculous I know. But when our children were little and we heard the news for the first time that all was not well, we began to live a day at a time. We lurch to the next seizure, the next time they walk into a road without looking, the next MRI the next set of ECG results…fingers crossed every night as you fall asleep. Odd, but at the time, you don’t think about your little one never learning to read properly, never going out on the town with their mates (if they have any) or getting to GCSE results day knowing you’ll pretend the day isn’t happening.

Of course, it doesn’t end there. This is just the beginning of a much longer journey. No conversations about which university courses they’re interested in or what they’re going to do during their gap year while travelling around India. Instead its talk of if your local authority will continue funding their special needs 6th form that you nearly killed yourself fighting to get him into and then will he be able to get a job? How are his medical needs going to be supported? Will he ever leave home? Will he be lonely? Scared? Will bad people take advantage of him? Can I keep him safe?...I’m just so incredibly scared.

“If at first you don’t succeed, lower your life expectations.”

That used to be a lot funnier.

BUT....self-pity is terribly unattractive. Instead, I shall probably wallow for a little longer then pull myself together. I have to focus on this being his journey and it mustn’t be measured against other people’s journeys. Like all of our original children, they will hopefully grow up to be original adults. It has to be our job to take these ridiculous exam feelings and put them in a box, burry the box at the bottom of a lake then napalm the lake.

Big deal that other kids got 15 A*s today. Are they seriously going to grow up happier than Max? Will their lemon meringue pies make eyes roll in glee like his do?

So, stuff you world and the way you decide to measure success in my beautiful boy. That world can go spin. I’ll have another piece of pie thank you very much.

If you’re in the same place, you might want to check out these useful links…

IPSEA - https://www.ipsea.org.uk

Preparing for Adulthood- http://www.preparingforadulthood.org.uk

Sky Badger can also help you with...

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Education

Find extra help at school, information about Education, Health, Care Plans (EHCP), apps & programmes, tech and IT for supporting learning and sensory activities.

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Holidays & Free time

Find holidays, sports, free cinema tickets, theatre, clubs, art, dance, music, days out, make a wish charities and more.

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Useful technology & kit

Find sensory toys, useful technology, trikes and bikes, wheelchairs & mobility.

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Finances

Find grants, governemnt benefits and help with your utility and council tax bills.

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Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.

Not sure where to turn?

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Contact our helpdesk

Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.

Top 10 Chew Toys for Kids

10 of the coolest and chewiest chew toys

For lots of kids especially those with autism and other disabilities, chewing can be incredibly calming and self soothing. So if you have a child with autism, or special needs who loves to chew then you've come to the right place!

silly sentences

1. Chewigem Starter Kit – Glow in the Dark

1. Chewigem Starter Kit – Glow – Glow in the Dark (child sized bangle)

9/10

An excellent starter kit by Chewigem. You can also get it in rainbow colours but we love the glow in the dark set. This one includes a button pendant, a child tread bangle, a hexichew  and some top tips in their ‘Chewing diary’ booklet. This is a must have. Separately this box's contents would cost about £40 so you can't beat it for value for money either!

£24.99

2. Brick Stick 

Brick Stick 

8/10

An excellently stylish chew toy. The green one is a fairly tough chew and the purple version is a softer chew.

£21.25

3. A 'Super' Chew

autism chewing

8/10

For the chew focussed superfan. This red chew also comes with a breakaway clasp to the neck cord for safety.

 

£9.97

4. Berries

Berries

9/10

Very chunky chewy beads 28mm in diameter in some funky colours. Each bead is covered in nubs for an extra yummy sensation. Ideal for fidgets and sensory seekers. They feel nice and heavy and will handle the most serious of chewers.

£15.95

5. Chewigem Tread Bangles 

1. Chewigem Tread Bangles 

7/10

Chewigem Tread Bangles come in a wide range of fashionable styles and textures. They're suitable for children aged 3-14. Suitable for moderate to aggressive chewers. With a different bangle to match every outfit...what are you waiting for?

£8.99

6. eBoot 5 Pieces Silicone Chewable Pencil Toppers

eBoot 5 Pieces Silicone Chewable Pencil Toppers

9/10

A handy way to take your child's chew toys into school by smuggling them in on the top of pencils. These chew toys come in a range of colours and can be used with or without pencils (obviously!) They come as a set of 5 and may help your child's sensory processing, increase their focus, and improve their communication at home and at school.

£7.99

7. Chewbuddy Autism Chew Toy Blue

Chewbuddy Autism Chew Toy Blue

9/10

The excellently cute chewbuddy is a proper must have. The round "head" gives a bi-lateral biting surface with ridges for additional interest, the "legs" have raised dimples for sensory feedback. Even better, the entire toy is sketchy and bendy so makes a great all round sensory toy.

£7.49

8. Skull

skull

8/10

A fabulously groovy design to satisfy the coolest and discerning of chewers. One side has bumps for extra sensation. Suitable for mild to moderate chewers.

 

£13.45

9. P's & Q's Chewy Tube

P's & Q's Chewy Tube

9/10

A good all round chew to with a wide range of pointy bits to reach the back of the moth and loops to really get your teeth into. You can now chew you P's and Q's as well as minding them!

£14.35

10. ARK's Z-Vibe Chewy Animal Wand

ARK's Z-Vibe Chewy Animal Wand

10/10

This is our favourite chew toy.  It has a smooth vibrating wand that provides gentle sensory feedback to the lips, gums, tongue, jaw and inside the cheek area.

The interchangeable chewy animal tops are very cute and can be used to practice biting, chewing and jaw grading and stability. Each top has a variety of shapes and textures for oral stimulation and sensory input. Available with either soft or firm tops. A fabulous chewy based addition to your child's chew box.

£55.14

Browse loads of other chewy and sensory toy suppliers here...

Use our directory to find lots of companies who supply sensory toys and kit.

Sky Badger can also help you with...

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Education

Find extra help at school, information about Education, Health, Care Plans (EHCP), apps & programmes, tech and IT for supporting learning and sensory activities.

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Holidays & Free time

Find holidays, sports, free cinema tickets, theatre, clubs, art, dance, music, days out, make a wish charities and more.

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Useful technology & kit

Find sensory toys, useful technology, trikes and bikes, wheelchairs & mobility.

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Finances

Find grants, governemnt benefits and help with your utility and council tax bills.

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Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.

Not sure where to turn?

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Contact our helpdesk

Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.

Top 10 Sensory Toys that Your Kids Will Love!

Top 10 Sensory Toys

From the four corners of the internet, Sky Badger has hunted out these  fabulous gems just for you. So if you have a child with autism, ADHD or if they just love shiny, squishy or fiddly things, then you've come to the right place!

Personal Budgets

1. Beans Squishy Toy Pendant

Beans Squishy Toys Pendants

10/10

A must have. How many times have you ended up trying to keep your kids entertained while doing the waiting room shuffle? Well, with this attached to your keys, your troubles are at a (temporary) end. This incredibly cute toy is designed to reduce stress, and they smell and look great...and at under a pound you can't beat it for value for money!

£0.99

2. Mirror Pebbles

Mirror Pebbles

8/10

These are just incredible! Your children will be totally absorbed and mesmerised by this reflective collection of differently sized metallic discs. These smooth, shiny, pebbles will fascinate when laid in paths or stacked. Four different sizes D15cm x 4.5cm and they come as a set of 20.

£65.95

3. Sensory Pillow Led Light

Sensory Pillow Led Light

8/10

This colour changing LED pillow is the perfect bedtime friend for your little ones. A lovely soft pillow with just about the cutest expression too. I can't imagine a nicer way to fall asleep. Fab to take on holiday too for kids like mine that struggle with change...packing a warm smile from home helps that first night in a strange bed while away.

 

£10.46

4. Fidget Toy Cube

Fidget Toy Cube

9/10

Love them or hate them, I bet you still can't stop fiddling with them. This camouflage cube is a nice touch but in essence the fidget cube is one of the very best fiddle toys on the market. With 9 types of movements and textures this should be a permanent feature in every glove compartment and handbag.

 

£6.99

5. Strawberry, Peach & Mango Kawaii Squishies

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7/10

Welcome to the cool kids! These Kawaii swishy fruit are defiantly on the short list for next faddy thing your kids will demand. They have a great slow release texture that is disturbingly pleasing and they smell fab too....also great for a good vent.

Other designs include ice creams, pandas, tofu and a loaf of bread. Japanese Kawaii is cool indeed.

£8.99

6. LED Light Fidget Spinner

LED Light Fidget Hand Spinner

9/10

Well, we couldn't talk about sensory toys without an honourable nod to mother of all fidget toys the Fidget Spinner. With sales in the 10's of millions so far, this is a must have. Although you probably have a few already. This one has the added bonus of lighting up. Hours of mesmerising fun to be had.

£7.99

7. Fluffy Floam Slime

Fluffy Floam Slime

9/10

A great sensory play thing and I found it a woefully addictive fiddle thing as a grown up too. It comes it tonnes of colours and will give you hours of fun. The only down side with products like these is that little fingers like to hide all sorts of stuff in it....my two find disapearing lego men most interesting.

£2.45

8. OPTI Aura Sensory Projector

s-l1600-2

8/10

This exceedingly groovy light projector comes from the company that started out doing light shows for Pink Floyd and The Who. There are obviously loads of other projectors on the market that are a lot cheeper but none are as groovy.

£169.00

9. Sensory Floor Tiles

sensory-floor-tile-7

8/10

Available in green and yellow, red and blue, orange and red or purple and pink, these liquid floor tiles make a seriously funky room for your kids. The coloured liquid in each tile moves about when you press it making  new patterns. Ideal for use in sensory rooms or just for fun.

They're sturdy enough to stand up on too just incase you were worried.

£29.95

10. Pheebsters Sensory Toy fidget Kit

Pheebsters Sensory Toy fidget Kit

9/10

And finally...the bag to sling in the back of the car. A good allrounder with lots to keep happy fingers busy. This kit comes with a flashing spike ball, giggle stick, large bendy figure, slinky spring, twist & lock blcks, bendy monkey and flashing puffer toy. They're all kept neatly in a  drawstring bag. Excellent value too!

£10.99

Browse loads of other sensory toy suppliers here...

Use our directory to find lots of companies who supply sensory toys and kit.

Sky Badger can also help you with...

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Education

Find extra help at school, information about Education, Health, Care Plans (EHCP), apps & programmes, tech and IT for supporting learning and sensory activities.

disabled holidays uk

Holidays & Free time

Find holidays, sports, free cinema tickets, theatre, clubs, art, dance, music, days out, make a wish charities and more.

gwvmbgpp-pq-steinar-la-engeland

Useful technology & kit

Find sensory toys, useful technology, trikes and bikes, wheelchairs & mobility.

disabled grants

Finances

Find grants, governemnt benefits and help with your utility and council tax bills.

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Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.

Not sure where to turn?

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Contact our helpdesk

Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.

LOST IN TRANSITION – PART 15

The Pursuit of Happiness

The Pursuit of Happiness

This morning as I looked in my rear view mirror, I noticed Max's hand print in the frost. It was a freezing cold day and I left the print there for ages, reluctantly watching it melt away as I defrosted the rear window slower than was probably safe.

I now have a tiny new white car to fit in with my post-divorce restyling. I tend to notice new things with my car as a consequence of its sheer tininess, it is by no means a mummy car. The car has become known as Cary McCarface after the almost named boat. You might remember the news story, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/17/boaty-mcboatface-wins-poll-to-name-polar-research-vessel. The Natural Environment Research Council put out a public vote to name their new boat. Over 124,000 votes went to “RRS Boaty McBoatface” but it was decided that it wouldn’t be a dignified enough name and the boat was eventually named “RRS David Attenborough”, which came in fifth. I also quite liked some of the other suggestions including “RRS It’s bloody cold here” and “RRS Mr Splashy Pants”.  

So as a completely pointless act of defiance, our new car has a silly name that makes me smile. It is also far too small for my needs and fogs up immediately whatever the weather. But it does have a top that comes down so the boys can wave their hands in the air like they just don’t care and the front of the car looks like it’s smiling all the time. It kind of makes up for the shock lack of boot space, almost.

That handprint still stays clear in my mind as we drive to school. It makes me think about how big those hands have become. How I didn’t think they would ever get that big. It made me remember how many times I'd held those little hands in doctor's offices, how many hospital ID bands they had worn and how frightened I was every single minute, of every single day for years and years.

I realised that I hadn’t done that silent crying thing for ages while driving. There was a track by Athlete called Wires LINK < https://youtu.be/uriGngTXyrE > that had silly amounts of radio play when Max was at his worst. It was about the writer’s own daughter when she was in hospital.

“Running down corridors,

Through automatic doors,

Got to get to you

Got to see this through.

First night of your life,

Curled up on your own.

Looking at you now

You would never know..

I see it in your eyes

You'll be alright”.

I remember wallowing in those lyrics for weeks. Now they just make me angry because for so many of us “You’ll be alright” turned out to be nonsense. What I do think now is some days he’ll be alright and some days he won’t. I watched Max, shaggy haired in my rear view mirror and realised that today was an alright day. I smiled at him, he smiled back and said "What?". He’s so age appropriate sometimes. Happy.

Sky Badger can also help you with...

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Education

Find extra help at school, information about Education, Health, Care Plans (EHCP), apps & programmes, tech and IT for supporting learning and sensory activities.

disabled holidays uk

Holidays & Free time

Find holidays, sports, free cinema tickets, theatre, clubs, art, dance, music, days out, make a wish charities and more.

gwvmbgpp-pq-steinar-la-engeland

Useful technology & kit

Find sensory toys, useful technology, trikes and bikes, wheelchairs & mobility.

disabled grants

Finances

Find grants, governemnt benefits and help with your utility and council tax bills.

oqmzwnd3thu-helloquence

Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.