A ‘Little Hearts’ autism and special educational needs support group will be launched at the Potter Street Family Hub in Harlow this month.
Little Hearts is being started by the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service to help families reduce anxiety and isolation by providing peer support.
The group will be led by experienced, qualified volunteers within the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service, which is delivered by us in partnership with Barnardo’s on behalf of Essex County Council and NHS West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group.
Health Specialists will regularly attend the support group, offering advice and guidance and to signpost families to other services where required.
And the group aims to enhance life experiences for children while exploring their needs through information sharing and mutual support.
Children will have the opportunity to engage in sensory activities to stimulate all the five senses – touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing, which can help in many ways including:
- stimulating the brain, creating neutral pathways and improving sensory processing systems
- improving social skills such as communication and cooperation
- improving coordination, as well as fine/gross motor skills
- calming children down when they are agitated
Lisa Farrell, West Essex Manager for Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service said; “We are so grateful to have such highly skilled volunteers who are passionate about offering support to families working within our service. The value of peer support and community networks is so important for families and we hope this group will give families in West Essex that environment for this support.”
Hilary Waters, Community Therapies Manager for Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service added: “It is really important that children with autism and special educational needs are supported to develop their skills from an early age and that families get the right advice. We are therefore really excited to involve our therapists and autism specialists with this new group”.
Little Hearts will meet every Thursday from 19th September between 11.00 am to 12.30 pm at the Potter Street Family Hub, Carters Mead, Harlow, Essex, CM17 9EU.
Little Hearts volunteers (L-R, Valentyna Pyndiur Angela Hilton, Dina Volcov)
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