PACC Conference 2024 Reflection


The conference focused on how we live positively with difference, which is something SEND families know a lot about.  We used the term ‘Neurodiversity’ in its widest sense to encompass all SEND families, who typically consist of a range of individuals with differing needs, strengths and ways of interacting with the world. The challenge for parent carers is meeting the needs of that range of people, whether they identify as neurotypical or neurodivergent.

We believe that the information shared at the conference was relevant and useful to all SEND families, regardless of the actual diagnosis of family members.  When we spoke about ‘disabled children’ we meant any child or young person who lives with a diagnosis that has a long term and significant impact on their daily life.  This includes those who are physically and learning disabled, and others who are neurodivergent due to Autism, ADHD, Tourette’s and other similar diagnosis.   

The day started with a recorded presentation from Bel McDonald, who is a development and training lead for the Healthy Parent Carer Programme, designed by parent carers in partnership with the Peninsula Childhood Disability Research Unit, at Exeter University.  Bel explored the role of being a parent carer and how the additional responsibilities impacted quality of life and emotional and physical health. PACC is committed to promoting the understanding of what it means to be a parent carer and as part of this we announced at the conference that going forward we will be known as the ‘Parent Carer Council Shropshire’, our logo has been changed to reflect this and our website will be updated soon.. As part of this discussion PACC also launch our 5th Mad, Sad, Glad survey, asking those present to tell us what made them mad, sad or glad about being a parent carer in Shropshire.  The online Mad, Glad, Sad Survey is now live and you can participate here

The second presentation was delivered by Dr Steve Farmer, Clinical Psychologist from the BEE U Learning Disability Team and explored the importance of quality of life in regard to reducing behaviours that challenge, and how ‘Positive Behaviour Support’ can help deliver this.

Our final presentation for the morning was from our joint conference hosts, Autism West Midlands, sharing information about what they offer in Shropshire.

The afternoon session started with an introduction to the SEND and Alternative Provision Change Programme from Julie Johnson, SEND and AP Change Programme Partnership Senior Lead for Shropshire.  This is a significant piece of work looking to make major improvements in the experience of SEND families and includes trialling a national template for EHCP’s, increased Alternative Provision and an ‘Ordinarily Available Offer’ in schools to provide early support and interventions for those with SEND. 

We ended the day with a series of workshops covering; Communication, Sensory Processing, Living with Tourettes and Working with Schools.

The main presentations from the day are available below.  There is also an online feedback survey for those who attended on the day to complete, some of the feedback received so far includes;

“The day was full of so much information, which was brilliant thank you. I was so pleased that I booked it.”

“Bel's talk was really eye opening as I had never considered myself a parent carer but now I would.”

“A great day for chatting, feeling supported and finding useful information. Thank you”

Conference feedback survey for those who attended

Copies of Presentations

Being a Parent Carer & Healthy Parent Carers Programme

Positive Behaviour Support and Quality of Life

AWM Offer Shropshire 2024

SEND & Alternative Provision Change Programme




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