Support organisations

Local support groups:

  • ACCT – Aspergers Children and Carers Together is a parent-led support group for children and families affected by Asperger’s Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism. They run activity groups for children and teenagers with Asperger’s and Autism, as well as family days out and other trips. Siblings are welcome too.
  • Autism Hope is a support group for parents of children with autism of all ages. They are based in the North of Sheffield and meet monthly. Children are welcome to come along.
  • Busy Hands is a stay-and-play group for families with children of primary school age or younger, who have additional needs. They meet fortnightly for free play, crafts and an evening meal.
  • Epilepsy Action is the UK’s largest epilepsy membership organisation. The Sheffield branch acts as a support group to people with epilepsy, their families and friends, as well as providing information and educating the public about the condition. The group holds monthly meetings for mutual support and advice about epilepsy in a friendly group.
  • Fable is a Sheffield-based charity which offers help, support and advice to people affected by epilepsy. They operate an information drop-in centre at their offices on Glossop Road, and run a monthly support group for patients, parents and carers.
  • Helping Hands is a group of parents and carers of children and young people who face disadvantage or discrimination for any reason. They are based in the S13 area of Sheffield and run regular play activities where families can to come together and play, feel less isolated, support each other, and share information and experiences.
  • PDA Support Group is a group for parents and carers of children and young people with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). They meet every two months in central Sheffield.
  • Ray of Hope is a support group based in North Sheffield, for families of children with any kind of additional needs. The group aims to provide peer support through regular meetings, coffee mornings and fun activities, and provides access to useful information.
  • Sheffield Autistic Society is a local charity for people with autism (including Asperger’s syndrome) and their families. They provide support and information and campaign for a better world for Sheffield people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome.
  • Sheffield Deaf Children’s Society is a local charity run by parents and friends of deaf and hearing impaired children living in Sheffield, Rotherham and Chesterfield, and the surrounding areas of South Yorkshire. The group gives deaf and hearing impaired infants, children and their families the chance to get together for mutual support, to exchange information, and to have fun.
  • Sheffield Down Syndrome Support Group (SHEDS) is a support group for families who have a child with Down Syndrome and live in and around Sheffield. Their aim is for families to provide advice, support and friendship to each other and to exchange information on how to best support their children.
  • Sparkle Sheffield is a support group for families with autistic children. They offer peer support, mentoring, information and advice sessions and family activities.

Sheffield City Council services:

  • Autism Team: Supports mainstream schools to meet the needs of pupils with autism and related conditions. Runs a dedicated phone service that is staffed by experienced teachers from the team; available Monday-Thursday, 1-4pm, term time only. Tel: 0114 2736567
  • Early Years Inclusion Service: Works with young children (0-5+) with additional needs both in their homes and in settings. Also provides the Portage home visiting service.
  • Educational Psychology Service: Works with families and staff in educational settings to support the education and development of children and young people.
  • Sheffield SEN and Disability Information Advice and Support (SSENDIAS): Formerly known as Parent Partnership. Provides impartial, confidential information, advice and support to parents/carers of children and young people (0-25) with disabilities and special educational needs in relation to education, health and social care services, disability benefits, support groups and leisure opportunities.

Support for siblings:

  • Sheffield Young Carers: Offers support to children and young people (8-21 years) who provide care for a family member, e.g. a disabled sibling.

Other local services:

  • ADHD Project: Run by Family Action, this service provides information, support and training for families with a child or young person with ADHD.
  • Child Disability Register (formerly known as the INDEX): A register of children and young people, aged 0-19, who live in Sheffield and have a disability or life-altering medical condition. The register helps the local authority and NHS Sheffield to plan services for disabled children. Registration is voluntary; families who register receive a termly copy of “What’s Going On” magazine through the post.
  • Core Assets: Provides independent information and support to families in relation to EHC plans (both for new entrants and for those converting from a statement/LDA). This is a free service.
  • ibk initiatives: ibk is a social enterprise based in Sheffield which works to promote the inclusion of disabled children, disabled young people and their families in their local communities, and to challenge a disabling world that denies their right to an ordinary existence. They can help families find, recruit, train and supervise personal assistants.
  • PACES is a leading specialist centre in Sheffield for children with cerebral palsy and other motor disorders.
  • Ryegate Children’s Centre: Run by the Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, this service provides assessment, diagnosis and therapy for children and young people with developmental and neurological problems.
  • Sheffield Carers Centre: Offers advice, information and support to anyone in Sheffield who provides unpaid care for someone else, regardless of whether the cared-for person is a child or an adult. Services include benefits and legal advice, counselling, employment support, telephone befriending, and more. Publishes a regular newsletter.
  • Sheffield MENCAP and Gateway: Sheffield Mencap and Gateway provides a range of services to anyone in Sheffield with a learning disability and to their families. These include regular social clubs and activities, learning opportunities and a children’s performing arts group.
  • Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind: Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind offers a wide range of services for people of all ages who are blind or visually impaired. Services for families include a comprehensive benefits advice service, a play group, leisure clubs and events, and support groups.

National charities:

  • Contact provides information and advice on any aspect of caring for a disabled child, including education and benefits.
  • IPSEA provides free legally-based advice on educational issues for parents of children with special educational needs.
  • Cerebra strives to improve the lives of children with neurological conditions, through research, information and direct, on-going support.
  • The Family Fund provides grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people.