New support for families in Merseyside living with neurodevelopmental conditions

Families in Sefton, Liverpool and Knowsley whose children have a neurodevelopmental condition can now access a range of new interactive learning programmes.

Developed and delivered by Merseyside-based ADDvanced Solutions Community Network (ASCN), the autism post-diagnosis learning programme is a unique programme for parents and carers whose child has received a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The programme, part of a pilot commissioned by the Liverpool, South Sefton and Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) in partnership with Alder Hey NHS Trust, is available to families in Liverpool and Sefton.

Designed to help parents and carers develop their understanding of autism, sessions will cover a range of subjects, including discussing a diagnosis of autism, communication skills, sensory processing differences, and self-esteem. Parents will learn valuable strategies for supporting their children with daily life.

Speaking about the programme, Suzanne Roberts, learning delivery lead, ADDvanced Solutions Community Network said: “As an organisation, we’re delighted to be commissioned to deliver this programme to local families. Receiving a diagnosis of autism for your child can be daunting and quite overwhelming.

“We know that for many families, the journey leading up to a diagnosis can be long, challenging and stressful. Help is out there, but parents need guidance on how to support their children from this point onwards. Post-diagnosis support is so important, learning how to guide your child and adopting strategies that work for your family.”

Families in Knowsley can access the Supporting Behaviours that Challenge programme. Commissioned by Knowsley Council, ASCN will work with local agencies, including children’s centres, the Youth Offending Service, Positive Behaviour Support, Child Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), looked after children’s teams, schools and colleges. The programme aims to give parents, carers, and professionals who work with families the skills, knowledge, and understanding to better manage children and young people’s behaviours.

The overall programme will cover two areas. Delivered over four weekly sessions, the supporting behaviours that challenge learning course explores the causes of challenging behaviour and strategies to manage specific behaviours.

Speaking about the programme, Vanda Reeves, director of community network development, ASCN said: “It can be challenging for families when children display behaviours they don’t understand, we’re delighted to be able to add this programme to the range of support we offer families living with neurodevelopmental conditions.

“A child doesn’t need to have a diagnosis for parents and carers to attend; we’re welcoming anyone who has concerns about their child’s behaviour to come along and learn more about different neurodevelopmental conditions and the reason behind certain behaviours.”

Once a family has attended either of the learning programmes, their child can register to access the group coaching programmes for 8-11-year-olds or 1-1 coaching offer for 12-18-year-olds.

Vanda continued: “We’re also inviting young people aged 18-25 who want to make positive changes to their behaviour, or professionals in Knowsley who wish to discuss someone they are working with who they think would benefit from some coaching, to get in touch.”

The first session will take place in January 2022.

ADDvanced Solutions Community Network has been supporting families throughout Merseyside with understanding ADHD, autism, sensory processing and specific learning difficulties – pre, during and post-diagnosis – since 2012.

More information about these new programmes, along with the full range of open-access family events and learning activities, can be found on the ASCN website

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