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HCT's SEND national conference with iHV a success

HCT’s second Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) conference took place on Thursday 14 March with a fantastic attendance of more than 300 people attending. 

Following the success of HCT’s first SEND conference in 2022, this year’s national event at Hertfordshire Development Centre in Stevenage was organised in partnership with the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV).

 “A Different Journey: The Best Life from the Start”, focused on better joined-up support to improve the outcomes for children with SEND, which is a national priority and requires a multi-agency approach. The event aimed to equip health visitors and early years practitioners with new knowledge and skills to support babies and young children with SEND, and their families – with a focus on early identification of need and joined up support.

A fantastic line-up of high-profile national speakers presented the current national SEND priorities, as well as ambitions to improve outcomes and reduce inequalities for babies and young children with SEND. The programme encompassed evidence-based practice and latest research on a range of SEND topics from experts in their field including:

  • Overview of national picture and SEND policy
  • Improving seamless support through Integrated Care Systems and pathways
  • Reaching underserved communities with SEND
  • Enhancing communication
  • Understanding Cerebral Palsy
  • Supporting a child with a cleft palate
  • Understanding Down’s Syndrome
  • Neurodiversity in the early years
  • Safeguarding is everyone’s business
  • Health visiting and SEND – opportunities to improve practice

The conference also provided an opportunity to network with multi-agency professionals and leading SEND experts, as well as charities and exhibitors to support work in this area.

All HCT staff involved in the event received positive feedback including Fiona Petty, Operations Manager, North Herts and Stevenage PHN service (Health Visiting), Nikki Freeman and Kirsty Jacques (Health Visitor Clinical leads for SEND who were the first keynote speakers), Health Visitors Pritrica WebberLucy Tomlinson and Jeannette Parker, Becky Gough and Laura Black from the speech and language therapy (SLT) team, and Rachel Olivier who talked about the role of speech and language therapy for babies and children with cleft lip and palate.

The Nursing Times also attended and covered the event featuring an interview with HCT's Kirsty and Nikki

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