Cumbria Information Advice and Support Service - How we can support you

How we can support you

We can offer support around education issues to parents and carers who believe their child has special educational needs or a disability. You do not need to have a medical diagnosis of your child's needs to ask us for help or to use  our service, but on your first contact with us you will be asked to describe how your child's difficulties impact on their education as this will help us to know how best we can support you. You just need to provide us, in your own words, with a picture of how your child's needs affect their life at home, in nursery/school/college and in the community.

The children and young people whose parents we support have needs spanning a very wide range, including those who have emotional needs (maybe vulnerable to bullying and lacking in self-esteem), behavioural needs (perhaps diagnosed as ADHD or ASD, or arising through other causes), medical needs (through a medical condition such as chromosomal conditions or epilepsy), physical needs (such as cerebral palsy or degenerative muscular conditions), sensory needs (hearing or sight difficulties), learning needs (frequently associated with other difficulties such as Down's syndrome or ASD), or social interaction difficulties (usually associated with ASD and related conditions such as attachment disorder). Ages of the children range from 0 - 25 years old.

We can offer you practical support to:

  • understand the different ways the school should support your child

  • build and maintain a good working relationship with school staff

  • be fully involved in decisions made about your child's education

  • resolve problematic situations

  • make a complaint to the school governors when a difficult situation is unable to be resolved

  • understand and set in motion statutory processes where your child has very high level needs

  • ensure that you are informed about and involved in those processes

  • access independent appeals where other means of resolving disagreement have been exhausted

  • resolve issues around school exclusion

and with other education-related issues.

We offer support ranging from a single telephone helpline call to listen and talk through the difficulties you are experiencing, to in-depth face-to-face support at meetings or to complete paperwork relating to education issues.

Some parents contact us just occasionally, to ask about something that has arisen in school, while others remain in close contact over a long period of time, perhaps having individual support from a caseworker for up to a year.

Parents can come back to us again and again - in fact we rather like to hear how things are going!

Legal Support Project: discrimination in education