At today’s Check in and Chat, Clare Brillus and Nicky Chaperlin shared their wisdom on the world of Post-16 SEN parenting, and the challenges of transitioning into this new terrain of independence.

Both Clare and Nicky are part of the Senior Leadership Team of SPACE Herts, and they both also have 16-year-old neurodiverse children. The chat was a relaxed space with them sharing hints, tips and answering questions.

We discussed the transition to becoming ‘adults’ in the eyes of GPs and other services (as they do at 16), and the repercussions that this will have on how your child’s healthcare is managed. It is important to discuss with your GP if you and your child feel that it is in their best interest to have their parent still involved, as there is no universal policy. It was agreed that while most 16-year-olds are starting to appreciate and enjoy additional independence, it is unlikely that they will be too excited to suddenly have to manage the mundanity of healthcare paperwork!

Clare and Nicky also gave an overview of all the benefits changes that will come into force once a child is 16, the most relevant being that DLA is replaced by PiP. Tax Credits, Universal Credit and Family Allowance will also be impacted so it is very important to get organised and make sure that you are aware of the changes and what impact it will have. The Money Advice Service is a great source of help with this.

We chatted about the impact on EHCPs and education in general and the consensus was generally that maintaining close involvement with the child’s plan is still very important and that Sixth Forms, Colleges and Universities will still welcome parental input.

One of the biggest changes to a young person’s life Post-16 will be the ability to control their government funded trust fund and order their own adult passport. If they are entitled to higher rate PiP, they will also be able to get their provisional driving license. It was agreed by everyone that this was all both exciting and somewhat daunting at the same time!

Thank you to Clare and Nicky for taking the time to chat to everyone. All the participants agreed that it was a very helpful session.