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Advice and Guidance

Link Newsletter October 2020
picture of a signpost against a cloudy sky. signs post to support, help, assistance and guidance

In this section:

Hello from Trafford SENDIASS

Inclusive Digital Safety Project

Universal Credit DWP message

Free Flu Jab for disabled Children and Young People

The new Covid alert levels system and extremely clinically vulnerable people

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Hello from Trafford SENDIASS

We are writing this edition’s article on the back of World Mental Health Day. Discussion around mental health and well-being is as important now as it has ever been due to the difficult and challenging year we are all trying to navigate through as best as we can.

It is so important in these current times to take a breather and think about our own mental health and well-being. We may feel under pressure in both our home and work life and this can leave us feeling vulnerable and anxious.

It may feel easier to busy ourselves to avoid acknowledging our own anxieties but this can take its toll on us both emotionally and physically.

We have copied some advice from Sally Benson, Consultant Psychologist and Paediatric Psychological Services Lead at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust.

Sally suggests we observe our breathing; this allows us to take notice of how anxious we may be feeling:

  • Notice your breathing.  
  • In noticing your breathing connect with how you are feeling physically. 
  • Take a moment to take some deep and slow breaths in and out and count them as you do this. 
  • Ask yourself how aware you are of your breathing patterns.   

Our breathing helps inform us of how stressed and/or anxious we might be if we allow ourselves to notice it.  

Read more at: Sally Benson Managing Anxiety Breathing

It is vitally important that parent carers of children and young people with SEND exercise restorative self-care. This will help to sustain energy levels and build resilience.

One way to analyse how we are managing our daily lives is to look at our energy levels. Loehr, J and Schwartz (2003) looked at ways we can invest in our energies; these are renewable if we take the time. Simon Newitt in his article ‘Managing Energy Levels’ discusses how we can break down our energies into four categories:

Physical energy

Good nutrition, exercise, sleep, and rest are the foundation of physical energy, but they are also vital for managing emotions and focusing attention. Is your body getting what it needs to properly restore itself each day?

Intellectual energy

This is about the mental ability for sustained concentration and attention; for data, for memory, and for speed, flexibility and creativity of thought. What do you do to relax that gives your mind the time and opportunity to recover throughout the day?

Emotional energy

Emotional energy is central to how effectively you understand and regulate your emotions, as well as how you connect with others. What coping mechanisms do you use to process your emotions and develop your self-awareness? Who or what in your life helps you experience positive emotions?

Spiritual energy

We all have and feel a connection to something bigger than ourselves. What that is will be deeply personal but could include things like values, connection to culture and community, the natural world, and/or to faith and our beliefs. Spiritual energy is ultimately about motivation; it ensures congruence between who we are and what we do (authenticity). What really matters to you?

How we can help

We are here at Trafford SENDIASS to support you with free, confidential and impartial information, advice and support in relation to special educational needs and disabilities. We acknowledge your struggles and understand your anxieties and, we are here to listen and to support you.

Trafford’s Virtual Mental Wealth toolkit has an abundance of resources you may want to have a look at and, as usual, we recommend regularly visiting Contact’s advice and support pages for details of free courses and seminars that support parent carers.

For those of you finding the new digital way of working a little too challenging don’t forget that our helpline is open from 9am till 12 noon Monday through to Friday all year round. If you need some guidance or support to access virtual meetings please let us know. You can also email us, look at our website or find up to date information and advice on our social media pages.


Inclusive Digital Safety Project

The Inclusive Digital Safety Advice Hub is an online resource for parents, carers and professionals caring for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), care-experienced, and from minority populations such as LGBTQ+. It is the result of a partnership between South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) and Internet Matters.

It connects parents and professionals with resources from expert organisations, with series of fact sheets and videos that highlight key insights to inform those supporting vulnerable children. From browsing the internet to gaming online, you’ll find practical tips to equip children and young people with the right tools to thrive online.

Find out more about the Inclusive Digital Safety Project .


Universal Credit DWP message

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Scheme) will be closing at the end of October to be replaced by the Job Support Scheme at the start of November. As such local DWP partnership managers are wanting to get the message out regarding applying for Universal Credit, if you think you might be eligible.

The Universal Credit system has risen to the challenge of the pandemic, with over 3 million new claims and over 1 million urgent advances paid out to those who needed it. An extra £20 a week rise has been given to all Universal Credit claimants this year to help them deal with the pandemic.

The Universal Credit system is there for those who need it, and it is prepared to help those who migrate onto it once the furlough scheme ends this month. A DWP spokesman has said: “Check your eligibility for Universal Credit as soon as you think you might be able to get it.”

Can I get Universal Credit?

It is easy to check if you are eligible, head to the Gov.UK Benefits Calculator to find out what you could be gaining from Universal Credit. It should only take a few minutes to check. If you find you are eligible, please don’t delay claiming, as doing so will mean you miss out on getting paid sooner.

How to get Universal Credit?

To make a claim, go to Gov.UK How to Claim Universal Credit and follow the steps there.

Other information can be found at:

Understanding Universal Credit – Support

Department of Work and Pensions – Employment and Benefits Support

Help applying for Universal Credit:

Citizen’s Advice

See more on the Local Offer:

Money, Housing and Legal services


Flu Information and Flu Jabs

Now is the time that GP practices and community pharmacies are carrying out vaccinations for those at risk. 

The vaccine offers the best level of protection from the flu virus, and it’s important to have the vaccine every year, especially as the flu virus strain changes every year. 

Anyone who is defined as being in an ‘at risk’ group should contact their surgery and arrange an appointment to have the vaccine.

Having the vaccine sooner provides the individual with protection over a longer period of time; it also helps reduce the chances of spreading the virus to family and friends.

Do not let anything stop you from getting your flu vaccination. The flu vaccine is quick and easy. After the vaccine you may feel a bit hot, have a sore arm and ache a bit, but you would feel a lot worse if you caught the flu.

Free Flu jabs for disabled Children and Young People

NHS England has significantly expanded the flu vaccination programme, aiming to vaccinate more than 30 million “at risk” and vulnerable people this winter

Flu vaccination is important because:

· if you're at higher risk from coronavirus, you're also more at risk of problems from flu

· if you get flu and coronavirus at the same time, research shows you're more likely to be seriously ill

· It'll help to reduce pressure on the NHS and social care staff who may be dealing with coronavirus

If you've had Covid-19, it's safe to have the flu vaccine. It'll be effective at helping to prevent flu.

Primary School age children and children in Year 7 are usually offered their flu jab at school, so look out for the consent forms.

Home educated children can be vaccinated in community health clinics. Children with long term conditions can opt to have their flu jab at their GP surgery.

Parent carers are eligible for the free flu jab if they receive Carer’s Allowance or are the main carer for a disabled person who may be at risk.

You can also get the jab free if you live with someone who is at high risk from coronavirus and has been on the NHS shielded patients list.

Flu Jab for People with a Learning Disability

People with a learning disability are at greater risk of developing serious illness.

People who have a learning disability can be more susceptible to the effects of flu and are therefore at increased risk of developing complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia. 

As the NHS emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic, anyone with a learning disability is encouraged to get their free vaccination and annual health check to help stay well this winter.

Take a look at this short video of Camilla. Camilla had her free flu vaccine to stop getting ill over winter. 

Carers of anyone with a learning disability are also entitled to the free vaccination.

All carers (family member or support worker) are urged to ensure they are registered at their local GP practice as a carer of someone with a learning disability.

Individuals should also be on their GP's Learning Disability Register to access the very best care. 

You can also view a new flu awareness video – on behalf of the NHS, Misfits Theatre Company tackles the misinformation surrounding the flu vaccination head on and urges people with learning disabilities and their carers (family member or support worker) to not delay, and get their free flu vaccine today.

Contact your doctor or pharmacist today.

For more information see:

Flu vaccine page at NHS.UK

Contact article on disabled children entitled to free flu jab this winter.


The new Covid-19 alert levels system and extremely clinically vulnerable people

There is new advice from the Government for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable so they can protect themselves from coronavirus.

The guidance is tied into the new local Covid-19 alert levels framework, meaning those at the highest risk of serious illness from the virus will receive specific advice depending on the level of risk in their local area.

The clinically extremely vulnerable group includes those with conditions affecting the immune system, certain cancers and organ transplant recipients among others. The new advice will help this higher risk group better protect themselves from the virus, without needing to follow more restrictive shielding guidance.

Those in exceptionally high-risk areas may still be advised to adopt formal shielding in the future, including to stay at home, not go to work or school and limit social interactions to their own household and support bubble. Those in these areas will also be updated if the decision is not to follow shielding advice. If shielding advice is reintroduced in their area, they will also be eligible for a support package – including food access support, medicines deliveries and any additional care or support required. They may also be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay or Employment and Support Allowance.

Shielding advice will not automatically be triggered by an area going to a very high Covid-19 alert level, but will be considered as an additional intervention, agreed by ministers under advice from local public health experts and the Chief Medical Officer or DCMO. The government will write to people in these areas if they are advised to adopt formal shielding again.

NHS Volunteer Responders can help people stay safe and well. You can call 0808 196 3646