We Are Beams

Disabled Children's Charity in Kent

Family Advice

The aim of our Family Advice Service is to ensure parents, carers and young people have access to timely, accurate, and independent information as well as advice and support.

Call 01322 668501
Family Advice

1-1 Advice

What Is Transition

Fathers Club

Parent Support Group run by We Are Beams

Parent Support

Education Support

Education Support

Programme Programme run by We Are Beams

Parenting Programmes

Autism and ADHD

Autism and ADHD

The aim of our Family Advice Service is to ensure parents, carers and young people have access to timely, accurate, and independent information as well as advice and support. This enables you to take an informed and active role in any decisions relating to SEND processes and day-to-day activities. Priority support is given to our members, (please see our website for information about membership), however, we welcome enquiries from anyone in need, within the areas of Dartford, Gravesham, and Sevenoaks.

The service aims to empower parents, carers, and young people and to help you ensure your voices are heard.

The Family Advice staff team are well established and has accessed independent training in Disability Benefits, SEND Practice and Procedure, Behaviour Management, Autism & ADHD Awareness, and all have personal experience of supporting disabled children.

Please read a copy of our latest impact report.

 

How we can support

  • Telephone enquiry line, Mon – Fri 10 am until 2 pm
  • Weekly Advice drop-in clinics (term time only)
  • Monthly support group meetings
  • Parent training courses/workshops
  • Home visits (if approved by the service manager)
  • Support at meetings

Our advisers can

  • Meet with you to discuss your concerns
  • Help you prioritise actions
  • Give you information & advice about referral pathways
  • Help you understand a diagnosis that has been given
  • Give you an overview of SEND processes
  • Offer advise which may help you manage your child’s behaviour

Extended services for members

  • Help you complete benefit forms and draft letters/emails
  • Help you prepare a parental request for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP’s)
  • Give you advice and support relating to annual reviews of EHCP’s
  • Support you at meetings with professionals in relation to health, education and social care matters

    Our advisers can not

    • Speak for you
    • Make decisions for you
    • Represent you in benefit tribunals
    • Advise or support you with SEND tribunals
    • Give you legal advice
    • Dual work alongside other agencies including Early Help and IASK
    • Provide therapeutic input suggested by Health Services, including Camhs

    Disclaimer

    Whilst our team has substantial experience in our field of work, the information and advice we give are general and as such, does not constitute ‘Legal Advice’. You must not rely on the information given as an alternative to legal advice from a solicitor or other professional legal adviser.

     

     

    1-1 Advice

    Family Advice

    Our Family Advice face to face clinics take place weekly at a number of venues. Our experienced team can help you to prioritise the key areas of support needed.

    For each session, we have two advisers available to facilitate.

    Our helpline remains open Monday to Friday, 10am until 2pm.

    Our service is provided for families with disabled children and young people in the Dartford , Gravesham and Sevenoaks districts.

    We can help you through the maze of services, agencies and processes. This is particularly useful around the time of diagnosis where parents often feel isolated and are unsure of what to do next.

    Here are just a few areas of support given:

    • Help parents draft letters to request and access support.
    • Signpost to other specialists.
    • Give strategies to manage challenging behaviour.
    • Give a good listening ear on any concerns.
    • Information on dealing with education professionals to ensure your child receives the right support.
    • Ideas on where to take your child for leisure activities that have special services for a disabled child.

    Advisers are available at regular Drop in Advice Sessions, or in exceptional circumstances by a home visit.

    Dartford *New Venue*
    When: Tuesdays term time only.
    Time: 9.30am – 2pm
    Where: St Edmunds Church Living Well, St Edmunds Road, Dartford, Kent DA1 5ND

    Gravesend
    When: Thursdays term time only
    Time: 9.30 am-2 pm
    Where: The Maltings, City Praise Centre, 9-11 Lower Road, Gravesend, DA12 2LY 

    Sevenoaks 
    When: Wednesdays term time only
    Time: 10 am – 2 pm
    Where : House in the Basement, Youth Cafe, Stag Community Arts Centre, London Road, Sevenoaks, TN13 1ZZ
    We are in the basement of the Stag Theatre. Entry via right hand side of the building.

    Our clinics are open advice sessions. No need to book. Come along and join us. 

    It is not always possible to ensure total privacy in these Drop-in Sessions, particularly at peak times. If confidentiality is essential to you, please make this known to the adviser and they will do their best to accommodate you.

     

     

     

    Fathers Club

    What Is Transition

    Our Father’s club meet once a month and offers support and guidance to fathers and grandfathers of children with Autism. 

    Fathers Club Kent hold meetings once a month, offering support to Fathers and Grandfathers of children with Autism.

    Welcoming and informal the club aims to provide knowledge and support for fathers to improve the quality and future of their child. The club has supported hundreds of families over the past few years.

    Father’s Club Kent will be meeting on:

    Thursday 27th June 7.30pm

    Thursday 25th July 7.30pm

    Thursday 26th September 7.30pm

    Thursday 31st October 7.30pm

    Thursday 28th November 7.30pm

    Location: We Are Beams Allsworth Court, 38-40 St. David’s Road, Swanley BR8 7RJ

    No need to book, just come along and join us. For further information, please send us an email.

    Parent Support Group

    Parent Support Group run by We Are Beams

    Our Parent Support Group meets once a month and offers support and guidance to parents and carers. 

    Our Family Advice Support Group is held at We Are Beams, Allsworth Court, 38-40 St Davids Road, Swanley BR8 7RJ.

    No need to book, just come along and join us. For each session, we have two advisers available to facilitate.

    Support Group will be taking place on the following dates:

    Thursday 20th June 10am until 12pm

     

    Support Group at Ifield Smile

    We will be running a Family Advice Support Group at Ifield Smile, Ifield School, Cedar Avenue, Gravesend DA12 5JT on the following dates:

    Tuesday 2nd July 10am until 12pm

    Please note, places are limited and will be on a first come, first served basis. Booking is essential. To book a place, please email. 

    Education Support

    Education Support

    Beams Family Advisors can provide you with information and advice on education and help you prepare a parental request for an Education, Health and Care Plan.

    We offer Education Advice through the drop-in 1 to 1 sessions throughout the three areas we serve.

    Support will also continue to be available to families through their local SEND Information, Advice and Support Services (SENDIASS) and also through the national Contact helpline.

    Within Kent, the local SENDIASS service is provided by:

    Information, Advice and Support Kent – IASK
    Helpline: 03000 41 3000. Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.
    Email: iask@kent.gov.uk
    Address: Shepway Centre, Oxford Road, Maidstone, ME15 8AW
    Telephone: 03000 412 412

    Please see the links below for more information on EHC Plans:

    Further information/support

    Parents may wish to look at Ipsea’s website for additional legally based information and resources including helpful template letters.

    Ipsea’s vision is that children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities are able to fulfil their potential. With a mission to help children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, and their families and carers, to get the appropriate education, training and support to which they are entitled under the law.

    Sossen offer a free, friendly, independent and confidential telephone helpline for parents and others looking for information and advice on Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). They also have a regular advice clinic in Kent plus various online training events throughout the year.

    Parenting Programmes

    Parenting Programmes

    Our Family Advice Team works with professionals and agencies to deliver a number of parent programmes, courses and workshops aimed at supporting parents of children with a disability.

    Our popular parenting programme Cygnets is a course for parents of children with ASD aged between 5 – 17 years.

    The course runs for 6 weeks, is half a day per week, and covers arrange of topics including:

    • What is ASD?
    • Communication
    • Sensory issues
    • Understanding Behaviour
    • Managing Behaviour-coping strategies

    There is a follow-up session approximately 3 months later.

    For more information or to be added to the waiting list please contact us.

    Autism and ADHD

    Autism and ADHD

    Do you think that your child may have Autism or ADHD. You don’t need a diagnosis to get Help from Beams.

    Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. People with ASD often have challenges with social communication and interaction and restricted or repetitive behaviours or interests. People with ASD may also have different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention.

    What are the 3 main symptoms of Autism?

    • Your young person or child may find it hard to understand what others are thinking or feeling.
    • They may get very anxious in social situations or settings
    • They may find it hard to make friends or prefer to be in their own company.

    What is Autism? 

    Genetics. Genetic factors may be the most significant cause of autism spectrum disorders. This means that part, or all of the risk, is passed down from a parent. Certain disabilities are caused by an abnormality in one single gene.

    Genes produce proteins which are necessary for the normal functioning of the body.

    At what age can Autism be diagnosed?

    Children may be diagnosed with autism by age two, but a more definite diagnosis may come several years later. The average for diagnosis is at 8 years.

     

    What are the signs of high-functioning autism?

    High Functioning Autism is partly characterized by an obsession with a particular subject or activity

    • Emotional sensitivity
    • Social problems
    • Language peculiarities
    • Sensory difficulties
    • Little or no attention to caregivers.

    Attention-deficit/hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disability that is usually first diagnosed in childhood. People with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, be overly active and can have controlling impulsive behaviours.

    What are the 3 main symptoms of ADHD?

    • Your young person or child may find it difficult to concentrate for long periods and will appear forgetful at times.
    • They may find it hard to sit still and talk excessively, unable to wait their turn in social situations or settings.
    • They have little or no sense of danger and will often act without thinking.

    What is ADHD?

    Genetics. Genetic factors may be the most significant cause for autism spectrum disorders. This means that part, or all of the risk, is passed down from a parent. Certain disabilities are caused by an abnormality in one single gene.

    Genes produce proteins which are necessary for normal functioning of the body.

     

    The Big Lottery Fund through their reaching communities programme is a valued partner of Beams funding our Family Advice Team and inclusive playschemes.