Sefton’s Early Help team are delighted to help an inspirational young person, who struggles with a communication disorder, to make her voice heard and support others through her own website.
Sixteen-year-old Ellen from Crosby has been diagnosed with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) which is a type of speech, language and communication need that affects the way children understand and use language. It is more common than autism with up to two children in every classroom having the disorder.
Living with DLD has meant that through her life Ellen has struggled to express herself and process complex sentences and to feel heard, preferring to communicate by writing words down or making videos.
Hannah Howard from Sefton’s Early Help team said: “Like many other young people with a similar condition, Ellen feels that she is not heard because she can’t communicate easily, and people’s patience, belief in her and understanding is varied and often limited.
“This has had an effect on her education as well as her social and emotion
al wellbeing, however Ellen has said that having the support from people who have really listened has made a massive difference.”
“I have been absolutely inspired by Ellen. As a professional I have always strived to listen and put every child at the centre of what I do.
“Ellen has reminded me of the importance of us all taking the time to increase our understanding and knowledge around individual needs and that taking extra time to ensure a child has a voice is paramount.”
Ellen’s mum Roisin said: “Ellen has received support from Sefton’s Early Help team who have been there to help stop us getting to crisis point and their support has been immeasurable.
“The way they put Ellen first shines through, and they always come back to ‘what does Ellen want’. They have been Ellen’s voice and she really feels they have enabled her to be heard.
“We have also received amazing support from the Venus Centre in Sefton (which provides counselling), her head teacher at Holy Family Catholic High School and Speech and language therapists at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
“They are helping to empower Ellen so she can achieve her full potential by continuing to promote communication and give practical advice and encouragement while putting Ellen’s voice at the centre of everything they do.”
With her support network on board, Ellen has used her own experiences to help others by developing a website.
‘This is DLD’, not only gives a personal insight into Ellen’s experience of living with the disorder but also gives help and advice to people who have difficulties expressing themselves.
The website contains videos and pictures giving advice to practitioners and teachers on how they can help a child with DLD, such as taking enough time to respond and using pictures sometimes instead of words.
Ellen said: “When you struggle with communication life can be hard for you and your family as you need words for everything.
“Often, I have felt invisible. However, over the last year I have had Alison from Sefton Speech and Language therapy, Paula from Venus and Hannah from Early Help supporting me and my family.
“They listened and followed things through. They believed in me and helped me find my voice and speak out about the things that mattered to me.
“I wanted to help give a voice to all those children and families in the same situation as us. It is important that they too are seen and heard, so with my Uncle’s help I have created a website to try and get the message out to the right people so things can change.
“I want people to understand what it is like growing up in a place without a voice and how they can help make life easier. None of this costs money, only time. Everyone deserves a fair chance.”
GP surgeries and pharmacies across Sefton are starting to vaccinate thousands of people against flu, whilst ensuring that coronavirus social distancing measures are followed.
This year will be the most comprehensive flu programme in UK history, with more people eligible for the free NHS vaccine than ever. If you are eligible, please do not call your practice, your GP practice will be in touch to let you know the plans for you to get your vaccine.
Those eligible for a free flu vaccination this year are:
people who are on the shielded patient list and members of their household;
all school year groups up to and including Year 7;
people aged over 65;
those with pre-existing conditions including at-risk under-2-year olds;
receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick.
Later this year, dependent on supply, people aged 50 to 64 will also be invited to get the flu vaccination. If you are in this age group, please wait for your invitation and do not call for an appointment.
Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “With more people eligible for the flu vaccine and the need for social distancing and infection control measures staff have been working really hard to ensure that everyone will be as safe as possible while receiving their vaccination this year.”
“Don’t ignore the flu, it’s a potentially fatal illness and one that can spread very quickly. If you are eligible for a free flu vaccine and invited to have it, it is important that you take up that offer.”
Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Flu should not be underestimated it is a serious illness and can even be deadly for the most vulnerable of our population.
“The flu vaccination is the best defense we have against the virus. It is vital that those eligible have the vaccine every year as it protects against different strains of flu which can change and evolve each year.”
Margaret Jones, director of public health for Sefton, said: “Having the vaccine is the single best way to protect against flu and will be an important step in preventing not only you, but your family, friends, and colleagues from getting the virus.
“As well as getting the vaccine, practicing good hand hygiene by catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue, throwing it away and washing your hands after can really help limit its spread – catch it, bin it, kill it.”
Responding to today’s announcement that Merseyside has been identified by the Government as one of two new areas of concern owing to rising number of COVID-19 cases, Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher said:
“In the light of this news, it’s essential that every single one of Sefton’s residents and businesses continue the great efforts they have made already to prevent us going into lockdown.
“The willingness and efforts of local people and the vast majority of the Borough’s businesses to follow the guidelines and implement the measures required have been impressive and were reflected in low numbers of cases recently. However, this current rise is a cause for concern.
“Infections in Sefton are spread across the Borough through people’s familiar social networks, whether at home, at work or out and about and while we are seeing cases being reported in people of all ages, those in the group from 20-60 are prevalent.
“Those people may be only mildly affected by COVID-19 and some are asymptomatic, but our real concern is how these people can still spread the infection, including to their loved ones at home who may be vulnerable and far more seriously affected.
“It’s vital that local people continue with social distancing and follow the Government’s recently revised guidelines restricting indoor meetings to members of two different households and keeping numbers at outdoor gatherings to a maximum of six. Wearing masks and face coverings where required and frequent, thorough hand-washing are also crucial.
“Sefton’s businesses need to ensure they are protecting their customers and staff by having all the required measures in place, including Test and Trace arrangements for pubs, bars and restaurants, distancing and cleaning procedures and face coverings where required.
“Also, we need those people who develop the coronavirus symptoms of a high temperature, or a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste, to get a test immediately, for their own safety and the safety of others. They just need to visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 to make an appointment at their nearest available Test Centre. Home testing kits are also available on request.”
“And finally, it is vitally important that if any Sefton residents are contacted by the Test and Trace programme that they comply with the requests of the contact tracers and stay home if they are asked to do so.
Efforts and sacrifices
“We really appreciate the huge efforts and sacrifices Sefton’s population and business have made to work with us to protect vulnerable people across our communities. Now we need them to continue those efforts and prevent tighter restrictions being re-introduced.”
Earlier this Green Sefton took the decision to close the car park due to essential sewerage works being carried out by United Utilities at a nearby leisure site.
Owing to the large number of vehicles and the machinery on site, the decision was taken to temporarily close Ainsdale Beach car park to ensure public safety.
Sefton Council is asking people who do come to the beach to act responsibly, to be considerate to local residents and to follow the measures in place to protect them and their loved ones from COVID-19.
Sefton Council recently developed a Coastal Visitor Action Plan which sets out some of the measure in pace. As well as the re-opening of Ainsdale Beach Car Park, these have included the introduction of portable loos and skips where people can leave their rubbish.
This short video shows some of the measure in place as part of the Coastal Visitor Action Plan.
When the plan was launched, Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “We have proposed a wider range of measures to meet the requirements of residents, visitors and employees and our beautiful coastal environment while at the same time keeping them safe in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Government’s national guidelines.
The Council has been asking people not to light barbecues or fires or to take glass bottles and other items onto the beach as they can cause fires and dangerous litter if left behind.
People are also being reminded that a Public Spaces Protection Order is in place preventing the outdoor consumption of alcohol in areas of Formby & Ainsdale Beaches, Southport Promenade and town centre, Crosby & Waterloo including by the Marine Lake as well as Bootle and Formby town centres. The Order can be enforced by Police officers and authorised Council officers and fines for breaching it start at £50.