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special needs group, how to get people coming?

(11 Posts)
elliejjtiny Fri 07-Oct-11 23:25:35

I help to run a group for parents of children with special needs but we are a bit low on numbers. It's just me, DS2, DS3 and the portage worker. We started off saying it was for parents of children recieving portage, then all children with special needs, then all children with additional needs or chronic health issues. It's been running for a year and still nobody comes. We have advertised it at the local playgroups, at the children's centre and the dr surgeries. I can't think of anything else to do. I know a lot of mums with children with SN are busy with appointments or have had bad experiences at ms toddler groups but I really wanted to create a safe haven and I miss the weekly chats I used to have when I took DS2 to the SN baby group (he now goes to the preschool on his own). Has anyone got any ideas to get people coming? I'm in Somerset if anyone here wants to come to a group with only 2 other people.

ThePumpkinofDoomandTotalCha0s Fri 07-Oct-11 23:29:39

is the venue accessible by public transport? maybe advertise in newsagent windows/supermarkets etc, some mums to kids with SN may not go to playgroups/children's centre etc. what's happened to the other mums you met at baby group, are they busy with other children/back at work?

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 07-Oct-11 23:39:57

Can you get hold of the email lists of other groups, or at least email other groups to email their members about it.

If you can have a hook, or a guest speaker. LA professionals are free and whilst I avoid any group that has one speaking, I know that lots of people like to go and listen to them talking rubbish. YOu might get the odd person from monetary advice, a SNHV or someone, then you can email the other groups and let them know that is what you have and ask if their members would be interested in coming to yours for this too.

justaboutstillhere Sat 08-Oct-11 07:56:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

signandsmile Sat 08-Oct-11 09:30:10

have you advertised at local special schools? or maybe given info to social work team for children with disabilities? Also might be worth telling the local Health visitors?

PS how far into somerset? (I am in North Wilts). If it's useful... as well as being mum to ds (ASD and LD) I am doing my PGCE and trying to tot up some 'teaching' hours in different environments. Would be happy to come and do a basic intro to BSL sign lang, for a 2 or 3 sessions, (I often find people are fascinated by that, so it might pull a few people in...) Am not 'blowing own trumpet', blush no problem if you don't think suitable, or could do that yourself maybe.... but PM me if it would be useful... grin

oodlesofdoodles Sat 08-Oct-11 09:57:45

Well done for trying to set something up ellie.
SN covers such a broad spectrum, I find people want to meet others with the same specific needs, eg my friend whose child is deaf doesn't want to come to my asd group. Maybe you need to specify which SN the group is for.
Does the flyer have contact details and a map on it? Do you hold the meeting somewhere associated with children or health that already has footfall?
Do keep on with it. I have found peer support groups so important.

BakeliteBelle Sat 08-Oct-11 10:29:37

Contact-a-Family has guidance on running groups, so look them up. Lots of tips about what makes a group welcoming and what doesn't.

Definitely agree with the accessibility thing and the hook. Lots of people find it very hard to walk into a room full of strangers - or into and unknown situation - and will need some sort of introduction prior to going.

lisad123 Sat 08-Oct-11 10:30:46

you need to find the professionals that deal with SN in your area, and make sure they know of you. The pead, the child development centre, special needs health visitor, the special needs school, speech therapist, health visitors and physio.
You need a tag, to get people there, as just a chat group is quite likely seen as a bit of a downer. Get a speaker in, arrange an information day, and invite SN proffessionals in to talk about their services. Arrange for someone to come in with some SN equipment, use a local senosry room instead, and put together a timetable for the half term with useful stuff.
Once you have parents coming in, you can then settle easily into a mix of helpful workshops and just a quick chat smile
HTH

keepingupwiththejoneses Sat 08-Oct-11 13:14:10

We have a similar group where we live, we got in touch with our local parent carer advocate at the carers centre in our area and also the woman who does our local disabled childrens register, both where great at spreading the word. Link nurses are also very good at spreading the word about groups like yours.

mishymashy Sat 08-Oct-11 15:11:49

Where abouts in Somerset??? I've looked but cant find anything locally as we are rural Somerset so forgotten about!!!
Sounds like a great idea, i'm sure its down to advertising rather than lack of need in the community. If i'm close enough, i'll be your 3rd person!!

elliejjtiny Wed 19-Oct-11 00:09:55

Sorry for late reply, I have a habit of starting threads and then forgetting about them!

The baby group covered most of somerset and so we are scattered all over. Some of us (including me) don't drive and our children do different days at preschool.

The children's centre (where we have the group) is right by the bus stop and also has ample parking including blue badge bays.

I saw the hv today and she recently relaunched a nearly dead breastfeeding group and got loads of mums from nowhere to come so I asked her for tips and to promote our group. She sounded quite enthusiastic so fingers crossed. She said she phoned people individually so I could do that but I'm worried about putting people under pressure to come.

Thanks for the idea of advertising at the supermarket, I hadn't thought of that. I've already put a poster on the notice board at the special needs preschool and the lady in charge sent out our leaflets to all the families nearby whose children go to the preschool. There is another similar group about half an hour away so I will try and find out if any of them would be interested in coming to our group to hear a guest speaker.

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