Useful Links: Advice, Helplines, Respite Care, Health and Wellbeing

Contact details of support services for parents and carers of pupils with SEND

As a school we provide information and support to families through our daily home-school communication books,  phone or email communication as needed, referrals, parent workshops and newsletters.

We empower parents and carers to seek support when they need it from a wide range of brilliant services across Surrey.

Please click on the headings below to find links to the services:

Advice, advocacy and information

Local Offer: your one-stop-shop for all things SEND. Find information ranging from childcare to leisure opportunities to events in your local area, and talk to other parents and carers through an online forum which suits your need.

SEND Advice Surrey (previously SSIASS): provides impartial, confidential and free support to empower parents and SEND children to express their views and make informed decisions.

Family Voice Surrey: Giving Surrey parents a strong collective voice, a forum to share knowledge and empowerment to improve opportunities for SEND children in Surrey

Action for Carers: offers information and practical support to carers

Surrey Independent Living Council: offers advocacy with both health (NHS) complaints and for disabled people aged 16+.

Citizens Advice: provides free, confidential advice on everything from employment rights and benefit entitlements to family and social care services

Positive Autism Support and Training: support and advice for families with children with autism spectrum conditions, including PDA.

Special Help 4 Special Needs: Dr Mark Brown provides practical support and advice to families to help them understand their child with additional needs.

Communication Tools

Every child has a preferred method of communication. At Pond Meadow we work with our students, staff, families and therapists to support communication. Please find links below for more information and ideas to support communication at home. 

Makaton is a unique language programme that uses symbols, signs and speech to enable people to communicate. It supports the development of essential communication skills such as attention and listening, comprehension, memory, recall and organisation of language and expression. At Pond Meadow we have a 'sign of the week' which encourages students and staff to have fun learning new words and signs.

The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) enables communication  using pictures. People using PECS are taught to approach another person and give them a picture of a desired item in exchange for that item. By doing so, the person is able to initiate communication. A child or adult with autism can use PECS to communicate a request, a thought, or anything that can  be displayed or symbolised on a picture card.

Communication boards - other names: aided language display (ALD) or theme board. Communication boards are a page of symbol and words that can be used to support an interaction around an activity. The pictures (words) on the board will enable a child and the adult supporting them to make comments, requests or give a direction to each other.

Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display (PODD) bookThe aim of a PODD book is to provide vocabulary for use in multiple environments, with a range of messages, across a range of topics. Selection of words and symbols in the PODD can be made by pointing, looking or other combinations of methods.


Exercise at home

The Down's Syndrome Association have a range of FREE online activities on their website, including:

Gympanzees have a wonderful range of exercise games which you can adapt, designed for children who use a wheelchair

Shake up games  designed to play with the whole family, choose from Disney and Marvel themed ideas, adapt to suit your child needs. 

Exercises for children with cerebral palsy  tummy time ideas to strengthen and build muscles 


Family Learning

Surrey Family Learning: Family Learning courses are free for parents and carers to help and support your child's learning and development.

Courses and workshops include:

  • parenting
  • wellbeing and managing anxiety
  • understanding your child's behaviour
  • getting to grips with maths and phonics
  • healthy eating
  • understanding education in England
  • English as an additional language (EAL)

Health and wellbeing

Free mental wellbeing services: are available to support mental health and wellbeing listed on the Healthy Surrey website

Mind Matters Surrey: talking therapies for anyone experiencing common mental health problems

QwellOnline Emotional Wellbeing Support for Surrey parents/carers of children with SEND. Since June 2020, Qwell has offered online mental health and wellbeing support for parents and carers with children between the age of 0 to 25. Qwell is free to use and offers one-to-one online text chat counselling sessions with trained counsellors, along with access to self-help tools and forums. The Qwell counselling team are available from 12 noon to 10pm Monday-Friday and 6pm-10pm at weekends, 365 days a year. You can register online to access the service at


Mindworks Surrey:

Crisis line for support during a mental health crisis, call 0800 915 4644 open 24/7 for children, young people and parents.  

Neurodevelopmental helpline for parents/carers of children with ADHD and autism, call 0300 222 5755, open 5pm to 10pm every day.     


Contact a Family:

Call 0808 808 3555 free for advice about any aspect of caring for a disabled child. Open Mon-Fri, 9.30am - 5pm.


Call 0808 800 5678 free if you need someone to talk to about parenting or personal issues. Open 9am-5pm weekdays, but you can request an evening call back.



Call 116 123 free, 24 hours a day, 365 days/year. There to listen.


Relate: offering relationship counselling, you can have free live webchat sessions with a counsellor, or organise telephone, email or face to face counselling (at a subsidised cost).

Money advice and grants

Turn2Us: Check which benefits you're entitled and search for grants to help with respite or equipment.

Surrey Independent Living Council: support with managing direct payments

Family Fund: offers grants for clothing, equipment, furniture and respite

Family Holiday Association: offers breaks for families, and has lots of links to organisations that can fund breaks

GP Carer's Prescription: is a scheme that means your GP can ask for a donation for you to spend on something you need for yourself.

Guildford Poyle Charities: offer individual grants to people living in central Guildford.

The Respite Association: offers grants to fund respite care

Revitalise Support Fund: offers holidays, including grants towards a holiday, for young adults aged 18+

Sullivan’s Heroes: funds home adaptations for children with additional needs



Respite/Short Breaks

Challengers: providing exciting and challenging play and leisure opportunities for disabled children and young people, with play & youth centres in Guildford and Farnham, and community based projects across Surrey.

Cherry Trees: offers short break respite care for children and young people up to age 19 with learning and physical disabilities, and sensory impairments.

Crossroads: offers a range of support services, including respite, to families.

Disabled access and special/medical needs at Gatwick: information for travelling through Gatwick.

Disabled access and special/medical needs at Heathrow: information for travelling through Heathrow.

Dramatize: provides theatrical workshops and events for young people/adults with learning disabilities aged 16+

Halow Project: based in Guildford and nurtures young people with learning disabilities to fulfil their potential through exceptional person-centred care.

InterAKtive: a parent-led charity for families with children with ASD or a similar communication difficulty, to help you access support and activity events.

LinkAble: Woking-based charity offering activities and breaks for children and young people with learning disabilities.

Shooting Star Chase: hospice, respite and family support service for children 0-21 with life-limiting conditions. There are two hospices: Shooting Star House in Hampton and Christopher’s in Guildford.

White Lodge Centre: based near Chertsey, offers a range of services for families with children with additional needs.

YMCA East Surrey: provides short breaks services for children with SEND aged 5-18 years, and a Friday Night Project for young people with learning disabilities aged 16+. 


Support groups and organisations

National Autistic Society Surrey Branch: parent-to-parent support group that organises local meet ups, workshops and family activities, as well hosting an online forum.

Barnardo's Positive Parenting: a programme of support and advice for parent carers with children with a diagnosis/suspected diagnosis of ADHD.

Can't Go Won't Go: information and advice for families with children who school refuse.

Challenging Behaviour Foundation: can help with managing behaviours that challenge in children and young people with severe learning disabilities.

Counselling Directory: offer advice and guidance on a variety of subjects including bullying, bereavement and staying safe online.

PSDS: supports children with down syndrome and their families.

The Zoneruns events for children and young people with additional needs on the Surrey/Hampshire border.

Young Epilepsy: is the national charity working for children with epilepsy, based in Lingfield. Support includes a helpline and training for parent carers. 

Water Safety

Canal and River TrustAdvice on summer water safety by the canals, rivers and lakes.

Beach Safety: Advice on water safety at the beach. 

RNLI Top 5 safety tips: Advice on floating, choosing beaches with lifeguards, calling the coastguard and more

Colin the coastguard: Interactive website with free downloads and stories about keeping safe by the water.

National Water Safety signs: Do you know what these signs mean?

Sun Safety

Sun Safety: CBeebies video and advice

NHS: Sun safety advice