Words by Sean Douglas
A few weeks ago The Codpast was invited to the launch of a brand new initiative which many have dubbed, ‘The TripAdvisor of Disabilities.’
SENDirect is an online directory, which will bring disability services from across the UK together on one platform, for the first time. Launched in January, the website will allow the families of children, with additional needs, to find services in their local area, from national supplier’s right down to independent practitioners.
Its comparison to TripAdvisor comes from the fact that, as well as allowing users to search for local services, it also allows them to leave feedback and ratings on services they’ve used. After further inspection, the site also has elements of Amazon, as you can buy and pay for services directly on the site. Additionally there is help and advice on hand, to inform you of what to look for, when choosing a service for your child.
One thing that makes this site unique is not only does it provide you with a platform, to search for services tailored to your child’s specific needs, it also list’s services that will allow your child to integrate into the wider society. Elizabeth Archer, SenDirect Project Director explains further:
“Families have been telling us, for years, that one size doesn’t fit all, that they don’t want their child to have to go to the local after-school club, for autistic children because that’s the only option. Actually if your sons into football, that’s more important than any diagnosis that he might have and actually it’s about finding an accessible football club. It’s the same idea with ballet or dance; it’s about kids being able to have interests and personalities, rather than the provision being based purely on a diagnosis.”
So whether it be a swimming coach, scouts group or children’s party entertainer, you will be able to search for mainstream services and be confident they’re set up to accommodate your child’s specific needs.
SENDirect is supported by 9 of the UKs most prominent charities including Scope, Dyslexia Action, Ambitious about Autism and Mencap, with further funding from the Department of Education.
Kevin Geeson, Chief Executive of Dyslexia Action was in attendance and told us,“We got involved because we felt parents of disabled children need choice, an understanding of what’s available and an understanding of the difference between what is available”
If you’d like to find out how SENDirect may be able to help your child or to get your service listed go to: https://sendirect.org.uk/
The Codpast is a multimedia production from www.extraordinaire.tv