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Free helpline from contact charity for families with disabled children

we run a free helpline for parents and carers who want to talk through their issues with one of our expert advisers.

Who is our helpline for?

Our helpline is for parents and carers in any part of the UK with a disabled child aged from birth to 25.

Your child can have any kind of disability or additional need, and you do not need to have a diagnosis.

How our helpline can help you

We understand that life with a disabled child often brings unique challenges. Our helpline advisers can help you feel more confident and informed about tackling them.

We can give you advice, information and support about any concern or question you might have, including:

GETTING A DIAGNOSIS AND MEDICAL INFORMATION

We can talk through how to get a diagnosis for your child. We also have reliable and trusted information on hundreds of conditions, including rare conditions. If you'd like us to, we'll put you in touch with national and local condition support groups and introduce you to our online community, where you can chat with families across the UK affected by the same condition.

SERVICES YOUR FAMILY MIGHT BE ENTITLED TO

We'll help you to understand how to ask the local authority for practical help and support for your family. This includes making requests for needs assessments and accessing short breaks.

BENEFITS AND SOURCES OF FINANCIAL HELP

We will help you to find out what benefits you might be entitled to and identify other potential sources of financial help.

Our website contains information on all of the main benefits for disabled children and their parents. You can use our Common Questions Tool to help you find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about benefits for disabled children and their carers. You can also use our website to access the Turn2us benefits calculator or search for a local benefits adviser.

The parent advisers on our helpline can also provide initial advice on the benefits you may be entitled to. They will assess your situation and may offer you a telephone call back appointment with our specialist family finances team.

A call back appointment might be offered where you have doubts about the accuracy of an online benefit calculation; where you need advice on challenging a benefits decision; or if you are dealing with a change in your family, including:

  • A child is going into hospital long term or into residential accommodation.
  • The effect on entitlements after separation from a spouse or partner or a new partner joining the household.
  • Where you need to know the impact a change in your employment status or earnings will have on benefit entitlement.
  • Families with a child aged 16-19 who could claim benefits in their own right as an adult for the first time.

SUPPORT IN THE EARLY YEARS

We have access to a range of resources that can help, including information on behaviour, sleep and toileting. We can also help you to understand about your rights to free childcare and how to find childcare places in your area.

SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS

Our advisers can explain how special educational needs (SEN) are identified and assessed in England, and what to do if you're not happy about the support your child is getting. If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, we may provide information and signpost you to alternative sources of advice in those nations where appropriate.

Our education advisers can help:

  • If your child is struggling at nursery, school or college and you are not sure how to get the help and support your child needs.
  • If you need help about transport to school or college.
  • If your child has health needs that affect their education or attendance at school.
  • If your child with SEND has other difficulties in education, including exclusion, bullying or discrimination.
  • We can also put you in touch with local sources of help and advice.

What our helpline cannot do

As a national UK-wide service, the helpline cannot help with the following:

  • Providing legal advice.
  • Providing medical advice about treatments or second opinions.
  • Casework or representation at meetings and tribunals.
  • Filling in forms, checking paperwork or writing letters on your behalf.
  • Attending meetings at the school or with the local authority.
  • Providing funds or grants for items or holidays.

Getting prepared for your helpline call

Demand for our helpline is high, so you may have to wait to speak to a parent adviser.

The busiest times of the day tend to be between 10am and 11.30am, lunchtime between 1pm and 2pm and between 4pm and 5pm.

It's helpful to prepare for your call:

  • Try to organise a quiet place where you can talk if possible.
  • Have a pen and paper to hand and any documents you wish to discuss.
  • As your call may take up to 30 minutes, please set aside some time.

During the call you will share and we will ask you for personal information about you and your child. You can find out more about how we use the information we collect in our privacy policy.

As a result of your call, we may book you a call back appointment with one of our welfare rights advisers, or provide you with some follow up advice and information by email or post with your consent.

Getting in touch with our helpline

FREEPHONE

0808 808 3555

9.30am-5pm, Monday-Friday, free from UK landlines and UK mobiles.

Press 1, to speak to an education adviser, press 2 for all other helpline enquires.

Access to interpreters from Language Line Solutions.

Who to contact

Telephone

Time / Date Details

When is it on
9.30am-5pm Monday to Friday
Time of day
Morning
Afternoon

Other Details

Age Bands
11-14 years old
18-25 years old
Parents and carers
15-17 years old
0-4 years old
5-10 years old