Coronavirus Resources for Children and Families

  1. From Sheffield Children’s Hospital

Coronavirus resources for children and families

2. From Widget Software

Widgit Software have quite a lot of recently updated Covid support materials that can be accessed here.

They’re also making Widgit Online available for free to families in January during the current lockdown.

Government propose changes to the law around mental health

The National Autistic Society says, “the Government has published promising new proposals to change mental health law in England and Wales which could result in fewer autistic people being wrongly sent to mental health hospitals. This is a huge step forward. We and hundreds of thousands of campaigners have been calling for changes to mental health law for years, so it respects autistic people’s rights. At the moment, it allows people to be sectioned because they’re autistic – even though autism isn’t a mental health problem. The proposals will change this in some really important ways.

It’s right that the Government has listened and is taking action. But it’s important to remember that these changes will take years to come into force and, crucially, won’t end the scandal of autistic people being stuck in mental health hospitals alone. The Government and NHS need to stop autistic people reaching crisis in the first place, by investing in better social care and mental health services that work for autistic children and adults.”

See the full information published by the National Autistic Society, who have been instrumental in helping to bring about the proposals.

Covid19 – News on restrictions, permissions, support & other information

Please forgive the less than ideal organisation of the many items in the page below. Information is coming in to us regularly and items are being added all the time. The information includes:

From 5th January 2021 – National Lockdown rules:

For links to all government guidance and support in connection with Covid-19 see this page:

National lockdown: Stay at Home Easy Read (downloadable), from Cabinet Office:

Covid Vaccine Easy Read (downloadable):

Sheffield City Council Changes to Services / Support for People

Key public safety information to help support Sheffield’s various communities during the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s all free to use and supplied in various languages and formats:

 Information about face covering
Government Guidance (Updated 23rd July) : Face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own

For advice on exemptions from the NHS and printable exemption cards download: mask exemption cards

Some suggestions about choosing masks from ‘Autism Wellbeing’. See here (PDF): Choosing masks

See also our News item of 21st June

Hospital Visiting (from the NHS):
An immediate family member or carer – will be permitted to visit if you are supporting someone with a mental health issue such as dementia, a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed.

See full statement here: Visitor-Guidance_8-April-2020
(NB Sheffield health authorities say, please check with the specific ward  before you visit.)

Preparing a Covid19 Hospital Communication Passport and Supporting Resources
for children and adults with special needs:

NHS COVID-19 ‘Grab and Go’ Hospital Passport
A quick form for people with a learning disability and / or autism to complete if they need to go to hospital. Ideally it should accompany the complete hospital passport (see item above): C0381_NHS Covid-19 Grab and Go LDA Form

SpeakUp Spreading the News “What if I have to go into hospital?” Easy Read Guide published 3rd November 2020
Speakup  Spreading the News 3 November 2020

‘Coping with COVID’ for people struggling with their mental health during Coronavirus
Sheffield Health and Social Care have a phone line and are providing an online course ‘Coping with COVID’ for people struggling with their mental health during Coronavirus. These services are available to anyone, you do not have to have accessed mental health services in the past:

National Autistic Society Guidance and Top Tips
The NAS’s latest guidance on coronavirus and some handy top tips for dealing with its impact:

See also

The Government’s Plan to Support the Social Care System (16 April 2020):
A commentary by the National Autistic Society

Sheffield Carers Centre – Update on Services for Carers
see PDF : Update from the Carers Centre

Sheffield Carers Outreach Project Virtual Carers Groups
Sheffield Carers Outreach Project are offering a number of Virtual Carers Groups,  starting this week (28th April).
These groups are for both adults with LDs and/ or autism and their carer/ parent.
See the posters on this page
and to find  out more please e-mail the Carers Outreach Team at:

Covid-19: Supporting autistic people and people with learning disabilities
Guides from the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) for families and professionals supporting autistic adults and adults with learning disabilities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Disability Sheffield
Support from Disability Sheffield during Covid-19 Crisis

Coronavirus – Easy Read Guides from the UK Government
Social Housing and Coronavirus

Easy read posters and other easy read resources on the government’s latest rules and guidance on coronavirus
From On face masks, government’s rules May to June, shielding, testing and other issues, including editable posters:

Coronavirus A Book for Children
by Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler
You can download the free book here:

Ideas, activities, resources during the lockdown
mainly – but not only – for people with a learning disability and their families, from the internet: see this page

See also Sheffield Carers Outreach Project Virtual Carers Groups above

See also materials from Sheffield Childrens Hospital and Widgit Software

RNIB Bookshare
Interesting for organisations and parents  of learners with a print disability. Accessible textbooks and resources for learners with sight loss, dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism and qualifying physical disabilities. “RNIB Bookshare UK education collection provides textbooks and materials to support the UK curriculum. We offer a range of accessible formats that can be read electronically or adapted to suit the personal reading needs of learners. We now have 545,905 titles with more being added all the time!” See 

Be alert to Coronavirus Scams and Fraud
(Courtesy of Triodos Bank):—retail


Autism Alert Card (from South Yorkshire Police)

South Yorkshire Police now offer a free Autism Alert Card to help autistic people. The scheme has been developed with the help of the National Autistic Society – “The free, credit-card sized, Autism Alert cards are now in circulation to help police and other emergency services workers communicate with autistic residents more effectively, helping those on the autism spectrum feel more comfortable in what perhaps could potentially be an extremely stressful or frightening situation.”

For details of how to obtain your card see:

Guided Mindfulness Meditations

One of our brilliant members, Jonny Drury, is delivering a programme of guided meditations from next week. Jonny is an experienced meditator and has practiced many methods of meditation and holistic health from an early age. He is a MBLE (Mindfulness Based Life Enhancement) practitioner, a certified coach and specialist mentor, working mostly in autism and neurodiversity. He encourages meditation as part of a whole system of self-care, well-being and personal and professional development.

It is a series of Guided Mindfulness Meditations hosted by Scottish Autism from this Monday and it is open to anyone. The sessions are suitable for all (alone or with family). The times are both in the evening and daytime so should be able to accommodate all who wish to join.

Details & registration: Suitable for beginners or not, the first session is a presentation and taster.

‘Ambitious About Autism’ sessions for employers

Ambitious About Autism is a national charity for children and young people with autism. They provide education and employment services, raise awareness and understanding and campaign for change.

We are grateful to Faraz Choudhry for telling us about the following free autism awareness webinar events :

How to Support Autism in the Workplace – Lunch and Learn (1st December and 19th January)

For details see

Ambitious About Autism also invite employers to book a place on this free webinar delivered on a variety of dates for your convenience: