A SCHEME to support parents and children with special needs as they progress into adulthood has been launched by specialist college Ascent.

Ascent Autism Specialist College, based in Newton-le-Willows, developed the scheme in-house by head of adult services Julliet Doherty, employer engagement officer Tara Thomas, and safeguarding and admissions officer Natalie Molyneux, aim to support parents and carers with the tools and knowledge to enable them to support their child as they develop into adults.

The monthly forums will cover several topics, including mental health and wellbeing, safeguarding, money and benefits advice, therapy support, careers, mental capacity and tribunals.

The sessions are open to parents and carers of current and former students, family members, parents and carers of Wargrave House School learners, community members and professionals.

Each session will address the topics and issues that autistic individuals may face as they navigate the transition into adulthood.

The first forum will cover Educational Health Care Plans (EHCPs), annual reviews, phase transfer, tribunals and appeals and will be facilitated by Nathan Davies, director of educational law at HCB Solicitors.

As part of the session, attendees will get the opportunity to ask questions, discuss concerns and share ideas and experiences in a safe and supportive environment. Speaking on the forums, head of adult services at Ascent College, Julliet Doherty, said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of the Ascent Autism Advice Forums.

“The forums were developed with autistic individuals and their families in mind. We wanted to create a safe, supportive and educational space for parents and carers to meet, learn and share their experiences as they support their children as they enter adulthood.

Julliet added: “For autistic individuals and their families, the transition to college and the next steps afterwards can be one of the most life-changing events, and the process can often be challenging and confusing.

“By introducing the advice forums, we can help families establish the tools and knowledge to support their child, whether with money management, health and wellbeing or legal advice.”

The sessions will run monthly, with the first on Wednesday, June 5 at 10.30am.

Following this, the sessions will run on the first Wednesday of each month, with a total of 10 sessions across the academic year.

To book a place on the first session email tarathomas@ascent.college