Advice and support

There are several ways to access help, advice and independent support for parents, carers and young people:

Unique Ways

Take part in our Annual Survey 2018 and have the chance to win one of four Love2Shop £50 vouchers!! - This is your opportunity to contribute to the biggest single report on what it is like to live as a family of a child with a disability or additional need in Calderdale in 2018.

Unique Ways Survey 2018

Unique Ways are the contracted agent to deliver Independent Support to parent carers and young people in Calderdale.Unique Ways logo

Their Independent Supporters are trained to support parent carers and young people through the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC) process. They can support you if you or your child are going through the transfer process from a Statement of Educational Need or Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA) to an EHC plan or if you or your child are being assessed for an EHC for the first time.

Their Independent Supporters can;

  • Help you to understand the EHC process and your rights.
  • Support you to put your story together for Section A of the plan.
  • Give you independent information and refer you to other sources of support.
  • Act on your behalf - they are independent of the local authority.
  • Attend reviews and meetings with you.
  • Support you with correspondence.

Contact the Independent Advice Support Service at Unique Ways

  • Username Unique Ways - Helen Norris
  • Telephone 01422 343090
  • Website Unique Ways



The SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) Information, Advice and Support Service (formerly Parent Partnership Service) provides legally based, impartial, special educational needs serviceconfidential and accessible information, advice and support for parents of children and young people with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities about education, health and social care.

The IAS (Information, Advice and Support) Service offers face to face, telephone and electronic information advice as well as casework and representation when needed. They work impartially and confidentially with parents and children / young people together but also ensure through the Independent Support Coordinator that they are able to provide a service directly and separately to children and to young people should they request it.

How can we help?

  • Give independent information and advice
  • Give information or refer you to other sources
  • Explain jargon and help with letter writing
  • Go with you to reviews and meetings
  • Help make sure you have your say
  • Explain the assessment process and your rights
  • Allocate you an impartial parental supporter.

Contact Independent Advice Support Service

  • Username Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS)
  • Email
  • Telephone 01422 266141

Website: Calderdale SEND Information Advice and Support Service

Information, Advice and Support Services Network

Information, Advice and Support Services Network (IASSN) aim to help children and young people with SEND understand better what rights they have for accessing information, advice and support. It also has contact details for Information advice and support networkall Information Advice and Support services in England.

Special Stars Family support group

Come along and enjoy a chat in a friendly environment – the group offers a wide range of support for parents and carers with disabled children from the Asian Community.

The primary function of the group is to provide support for families to develop resilience and social capital within their family’s local areas. Families are engaged through activities and therapeutic opportunities.

It gives parents and carers the chance to share cultural and personal experiences and to gain support from each other.

The group is held at Queen’s Road Neighbourhood Centre once every fortnight term time only on a Tuesday from 10am to 12noon.

For more information please contact Shahida or Rizwana at the Specialist Inclusion Service on 01422 394136

Together for Short Lives

This guide aims to help families of children and young people in England with life-limiting conditions to join-up their assessments, plans and services across education, health and social care. The guide can be found at:   Together for Short Lives

Decision making toolkit

This decision making toolkit is a practical guide to support social workers, health practitioners, school and college staff, parent carers, families and anyone working directly with children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). It is designed to be used in partnership with young people to support them to make their own decisions and to participate as fully as possible in decisions made on their behalf.

The toolkit has been developed based on feedback from practitioners who attended Council for Disabled Children 'It's My Life! Decisions, capacity and EHC plans' training in July 2016 and it includes a template practitioners can use to support a young person who lacks capacity to go through a best interests decision making process based on the best interests checklist in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 code of practice.

Safe Places Scheme

In Calderdale we have a number of ‘Safe Places’ you can go if you are out and about and need directions, have lost your purse or wallet, become distressed, are being harassed, bullied, or feel unwell. The Safe Place scheme means that some public places offer support to those of us that are vulnerable and may need help. For a list of safe places see PDFSafe place centres [PDF 78KB]

If you have a smart phone you can download the ‘Safe Places’ app from the App Store or Google Play and this gives you details of your nearest Safe Place.

Contact cards with the Safe Places logo are available and can be carried when out and about in Calderdale. If you need to call into a Safe Place the staff there will help you ring your contacts and keep you there until  help arrives. You can get a card from;

  • Username Halifax Customer First
  • Address
    Halifax Customer First
    19 Horton Street
    HX1 1QE


or Unique Ways, Hanson Lane Enterprise Centre, Hanson Lane, Halifax, HX1 5PG: Telephone 01422 343090

For more information on the Safe Place scheme, see: PDFSafe place scheme flyer [PDF 269KB] or contact:


The Communication Trust – resources for parent carers

A coalition of over 50 not-for-profit organisations working together to support everyone who works with children and young people in England to support their speech, language and communication

For more information, see: The Communication Trust.

Always open first panel: 

Support for siblings

Siblings have a lifelong need for information; they often experience social and emotional isolation, and have to cope with difficult situations. They also want to have positive relationships with their disabled brothers and sisters and to be able to choose the role they play in future care and support. If you would like to find out more on the information and support available to siblings please visit:

YoungSibs A UK charity representing the needs of children and young people (aged 6 to 17) who have a brother or sister who is disabled, has special educational needs or a serious long-term condition

SIBS for all ages.

Calderdale Healthy Minds

Calderdale Healthy Minds is a user-led organisation working across the Calderdale borough to promote positive mental health and recovery for people affected by mental distress. They offer a range of Peer Support Groups including Disability, Anxiety & Depression, Bipolar, Chronic Pain, Self-Harm and Wellbeing. They also offer Walking, Allotment and Art & Wellbeing activity groups.

Your rights

Get Your Rights is an interactive and accessible website helping explain to children and young people their rights when using the NHS, developed in partnership and co-produced with children and young people. It includes videos from young people telling their stories about how the rights have made a difference to them, and messages from professionals explaining why they value young people’s rights. It also has advice on what to do if young people are concerned their rights haven’t been respected.

Disagreement resolution and mediation

It isn't always possible to reach a resolution without the help of a neutral third party. Disagreement Resolution and Mediation services are available in Calderdale and are delivered by Collis Mediation. They offer a variety of effective mediation services for people in dispute using trained and experienced mediators. They work hard to make sure that the parties are as comfortable as possible during the process and that final agreements meet the needs of both parties. Disagreement Resolution can support parents and young people when concerns around SEND provision in school or college cannot be resolved through discussion with the SENCO. Mediation can help resolve issues around EHC needs assessment and EHC Plans. For further information please contact the SEN team Contact SEND support.

PDFCollis Mediation [PDF 493KB]

SEND complaints: guide for young people aged 16 to 25 in education

For young people aged 16 to 25 who want to know who to talk to if you are unhappy with the help you are getting for your special educational needs or disability at school or college.

SEND complaints guide


Inclusive education for children with muscle wasting conditions: a guide for schools, parents, and students

This month, Muscular Dystrophy UK has launched a comprehensive guide to inclusive education which aims to empower schools and parents to improve the lives and educational experiences of pupils with muscle-wasting conditions, so that they can reach their full potential.  The guide includes information on a range of topics, as well as links to agencies that are there to help with every aspect of care.  

You can request a free copy by emailing or by calling the helpline on 0800 652 6352. 

Calderdale NAS (National Autistic Society)

The Calderdale branch of the National Autistic Society provides support and information to families and individuals who are affected by autism or are on the waiting list for assessment for autism. The branch is run exclusively by volunteers and we rely on donations to ensure we can provide support and activities to our branch members. Examples of support we offer includes:

  • Monthly coffee mornings;
  • Family activities
  • Monthly meet up for girls on the autistic spectrum (age 9 - 19)
  • Monthly bowling session for teenagers on the autistic spectrum
  • Siblings group
  • Autism Transition Parents Group (see information below)
  • Monthly family Bricks4kidz session
  • Closed Facebook group for CNAS members offering peer support

We continue to develop links with our local community to increase awareness of autism and to support them to take an autism friendly approach. We are also developing links to help with planning future services for people with autism in Calderdale. We are delighted that we have won Branch of the Year from the NAS Staff and Volunteer Awards 2016 and were praised for the diversity of the groups we provide.

Please take a look at our website  Calderdale NAS  where there are details about how to join the branch or email on for further information and details about how to join the branch.

Advice and support about autism and how to manage associated behaviours and challenges can be found on the National  NAS website.

Autism transition parents group

A support group for parents and carers of young people (aged 14-25) on the Autism Spectrum. You can meet other parents and staff from Calderdale NAS, Unique Ways  and Calderdale Council. The group is held on the last Thursday of each month 7.30-9.00pm at the Orange Box, Halifax HX1 1AF.

Find out details of the group: PDFAutism Transition Parents Group [PDF 55KB]

Calderdale Autism Hubs

Information, signposting and peer support for individuals living in Calderdale (aged 16+) on the autism spectrum who have little or no funded support in place.  Also host workshops and act as a source of information on a range of topics chosen by those attending. Hubs will take place every week, but will alternate between Halifax (Wednesdays) and Todmorden (Tuesdays) to accommodate people across the Calderdale area. See PDFCalderdale Autism Hubs [PDF 195KB] for further information.

My Adult - Still My Child

My Adult – Still My Child is a guide for parent/carers of adults (aged 16+) who may not be able to make decisions.

Co-produced and inspired by those who have experienced decision making within health and welfare settings and felt unprepared or challenged without such guidance. Welcome to My Adult - Still My Child is a website aimed at those new to making Best interest decisions and especially those caring for a young person in transition to adult services.

Bullying resources

Who can you contact for information and guidance if you are being bullied, are a parent or work in an education setting?:

Always open first panel: 

Council support services

Breaks for carers

Having a break from looking after your child is not an admission of failure or a way of saying you don’t care. Without an occasional break you may become completely exhausted or even unwell.

You may just need to get a full night's sleep or would like to have a night out with a friend or partner. For further information on the support available, see Breaks for carers .

Crisis and emergency support

Within office hours it may be most helpful to talk to a professional who already knows your child and family. For contact details of the services available see Contact SEND support

In the event of an out of hours emergency, contact the Council's Emergency Duty Team (EDT) or the child's GP's out of hours service. Council Out of hours support

Volunteer helper

If you have a child under the age of five, or a disabled child up to the age of 11, your local Home-Start may be able to offer you a volunteer helper. A helper can accompany you to appointments and medical visits and offer additional support.

For more information contact Home- Start Calderdale

Alternatively, you can volunteer to be a helper to other families. Home-Start run regular volunteer preparation courses all over Calderdale. Contact Home-Start Calderdale for more information.

Other useful contacts can also be found in: PDFDirectory of useful contacts [PDF 109KB] .

Department for Education guide for parents and carers

The Department for Education has created a guide for parents and carers on the support system for children and young people with SEND, see: SEND: guide for parents and carers .

It covers the law and statutory guidance on which the system is based, plus the changes that have occurred since 1 September 2014. The guide also provides advice on the places to go for help and information.

The full SEND Code of Practice is also available at: SEND: code of practice: 0 to 25 years .

Ofsted SEND Video’s

Ofsted have produced four short films featuring their two national leads for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) - Lesley Cox and Mary Rayner. The videos cover SEND and the Local Area Inspection Framework introduced May 2016:

See also