Make The Case for Play: Get involved with The Sense Public Inquiry!

This week, Sense launched an important public inquiry into access to play opportunities for children aged 0-5 with multiple needs.

We all know that play is extremely important for children.  In addition to being fun, playing helps children to learn to socialise and communicate, and to develop an understanding of the world around them.  But despite this, children with multiple needs often don’t get the same opportunities to play as other children.

For this reason, we are running a public inquiry, to find out more about whether barriers exist to children with multiple needs accessing play, and about what works.  We’ll use all the evidence we find to campaign for changes to the way play services are planned and delivered at a local and national level – in both England and Wales.

The Inquiry will focus on answering the following questions:

  • What is the impact of play for children with multiple needs and their families?
  • Do barriers exist to young children with multiple needs accessing play settings and activities?
  • What can be done to increase play opportunities for young children with multiple needs?

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A busy week for welfare benefits

This has been a crucial week for deafblind people who rely upon disability benefits, and their families.  We’ve had a mixed bag of announcements and decisions from the Treasury and the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, the Chancellor, George Osborne, delivered his post-election budget and finally set out how his £12 billion pounds of welfare cuts will be achieved.  Fears that the government would seek to tax disability benefits such as the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or increase the ‘bedroom tax’ were not realised – much to the relief of the disabled people and organisations that have campaigned against them.

But the Chancellor did announce that Work Related Activity (WRAG) Component of Employment and Support Allowance (claimed by disabled people being supported to find work), will be reduced to the same level as the Job Seekers Allowance for new claims made from 2017.  People on the Support Group or existing claimants on the WRAG will not be affected.

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Come and play! Deafblind Awareness Week 2015 at Sense

Play is a crucial part of every child’s development – it helps them to develop social and communication skills and learn about the world around them. But through our work with deafblind children and families, we know that many face a number of barriers to accessing and enjoying play.  Play settings and activities are not always accessible to children with complex needs, and parents and professionals often  need more support to understand how to engage deafblind children in play successfully.

Today marks the start of Deafblind Awareness Week 2015 (DBAW).  This year Sense is celebrating DBAW by launching a year-long campaign aimed at improving access to play opportunities for deafblind children.

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A new system for special educational needs: Six months on

It has been six months since the start of the new system of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in England.  Since September 2014, local authorities have been working to put new systems and processes in place after the Children and Families Act 2014 became law last year.  Sense worked hard when the new system was being designed to make sure it could bring positive benefits for deafblind children, young people and their families.  But what have we heard so far about the impact the new legislation is having on the people we support?

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