Empowering families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities
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Reaching Families was first established in 2008 by parent-carers to “…empower, inform and support parents and families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in West Sussex”. We achieve our mission through the delivery of a wide range of high quality projects and services, including:
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Making Sense of it All

Our parent-carer guide, Making Sense of It All, is often referred to as the “parent-carer Bible” by West Sussex parents. Designed to inform and empower parents of children with SEND from birth through to adulthood, covering a range of subjects including diagnosis, benefits & money matters, getting support for your child at school, accessing support from health and social care and transition to adult life. It also contains a directory of over 400 local and national organisations and an extensive jargon buster.

The books is available to order FREE (plus postage and packing), or to download in eBook format from our Guide page.

Fact Sheets

In partnership with Amaze we have published a diverse and growing series of localised fact sheets on childhood disabilities and rare syndromes that combine clinical information on a condition with local information on relevant projects, services and support. We have also co-published a range of fact sheets on miscellaneous subjects that again combine clinical information with local information on relevant projects and services. Please visit our fact sheets page for further information.

Training Workshops

We deliver a range of high quality, half-day workshops for parent-carers on a wide variety of subjects including:

  • Anxiety in children
  • ADHD, Autism and associated subjects
  • Challenging behaviour in younger children and adolescents
  • DLA, PIP and other benefits
  • EHCP and support at school
  • Food issues
  • Handling stress & building resilience
  • Parenting siblings of children with SEND
  • Sensory processing difficulties
  • Transition to Secondary School

Our courses have been designed with Covid in mind, and have been adapted to suit the current environment. ALL workshops are FREE OF CHARGE and delivered online via zoom or in person. For more information please visit our Training page.

Making Sense of It All - Foundation Course

This course has been designed to provide an introduction on all the key issues parent-carers will encounter as their children grow and develop. It aims to empower parents of children undergoing or who have recently undergone diagnosis but is helpful to any parents who feel they need an overview of the following subjects and issues:

  • Coming to terms with and understanding your child’s diagnosis
  • Where to go for information and advice
  • Handling stress and building resilience
  • Gaining support from other parent-carers
  • Accessing benefits and financial support
  • Getting support for your child at school
  • Accessing support through health & social care
  • Accessing other key services and opportunities in West Sussex

The course is delivered in person and via Zoom. For further information and to book your place please visit our Training page.

Making Sense of Wellbeing

This twelve week online course has been designed to help parents and carers build resilience, reduce stress and learn relaxation techniques. The course covers issues like managing anxiety, relaxation and self-care, exercises to manage low moods, problem solving, building resilience and positive thinking. It also offers regular fortnightly sessions to practice mindfulness. For further information on this course and to book your place please visit our Wellbeing page.

Face-2-Face Befriending

This project provides volunteer based befriending and emotional support from an experienced and specially trained parent-carer to parents of children who are undergoing or have recently undergone diagnosis. Our befrienders undergo intensive training, are DBS checked and provided with ongoing professional support and supervision. Befriending can be delivered in person or via phone or Zoom. For further information on the project please visit our Face-2-Face page.

Umbrellas Parent Support Group

We deliver monthly support groups for parent-carers of children with SEND based in Billingshurst, Littlehampton and Worthing and since Covid, an online group that meets weekly on Zoom. The groups are vital in helping isolated parents make connections with other parents in a similar situation. It also helps in signposting parents to other relevant projects and services. For further information on our support groups please visit the Umbrellas page.

Facebook Group

Reaching Families Facebook support group is the largest of its kind in West Sussex, an engaging and supportive forum of over 5,000 parent-carers providing hints, tips, discussion and advice on an array of subjects including benefits, education and schools, mental health and wellbeing and specific disabilities. Our group is also a must for up-to-date information, articles and news on SEND issues both locally and nationally. To find out more visit our Facebook page, or to join our group now please click the blue button.

Facebook News Page

To accompany our Facebook group we have launched a Facebook news page designed to keep parents up-to-date with our projects and services. Whilst the group is mainly used for advice and discussion the page is only used for sharing information on our work. To visit our Facebook News page please click the green button.