For Parents

A Parent’s Guide
to Services in North East Essex

The purpose of this directory is for parents to provide other parents with information about SEND services and organisations available to them in North East Essex. This directory will be updated termly, so if you have any comments on the services, if you would like to recommend a service that you have used or if you provide a service and would like to be included, please contact us via email at: [email protected]

click the image to download our PDF guide

A Parent’s Guide
to COVID-19 and Mental Health

During times of stress and crisis, it is common for children to seek more attachment and be more demanding on parents. Discuss COVID-19 with your children using honest and age appropriate way. If your children have concerns, addressing those together may ease their anxiety. Children will observe adults’ behaviours and emotions for cues on how to manage their own emotions during difficult times.

Click the NHS image to download COVID-19 Mental Health Resources PDF guide.

what we do..

The MAZE is a structured specialist 12 week programme for parents of children and young people with any kind of additional needs (with or without a diagnosis).

There are several visiting professionals from health, education and independent organisations (IPSEA, Families in Focus, Essex Steps) who deliver specialist session on Social Stories™, resilience, behaviour and anger management, continence, sleep, diet/eating, therapeutic interventions and mental health. A key strength of our programme and approach is the multi-agency collaboration, with ongoing support by trained, experienced Parent Mentors.

On completion of the course and the evaluation of it, parents report a marked improvement in their relationship with their child and 100% of participants expressed an improvement in their ability to cope with their child. Furthermore, 90% of parents rate the parenting programme very highly in meeting their needs and expectations.

There are MAZE Groups running each term. If you are interested in the course, please email us at: [email protected]

To book a place on the course, please download the referral form below and email it back to us at: [email protected] or post to:

PO Box 1035, Bentley, Ipswich, IP9 2WL

You are welcome to join our group for parents of children with any kind of additional need

We offer Specialised Advice & Support in:

Sensory Processing Difficulties – Communication Strategies – Understanding Social Awareness – Lifestyle Issues (sleep, continence, diet) – Functional Behaviour Analysis – Behaviour Management (using positive strategies) – Positive Family Relationships – Building Resilience – Planning for the Future – Attention and Listening Skills – Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health

Week 1: Introductions

Week 2: Sensory processing difficulties

Week 3: Sensory processing / attention and listening skills

Week 4: Communication

Week 5: Social communication and social understanding

Week 6: Diet, continence and sleeping

Week 7: The SEND process

Week 8: Emotional well-being and mental health

Week 9: Positive family relationships and managing behavioural challenges

Week 10: My child’s development

Week 11: What about me?

Week 12: Conclusions



Tuesday AM

10:30AM – 12:30PM

CoCo Care Ltd
2 London Road

Thursday PM

6:00PM – 8:00PM

CoCo Care Ltd
2 London Road


Thursday AM

9:30AM – 11:30AM

Whitehall Academy
Melbourne Rd
CO15 3SP

Spring Term 2020

Wednesday AM

9:30AM – 11:30AM

Shorefields School
Clacton on Sea
CO15 6HF

Summer Term 2020


Wednesday AM

9:30AM – 11:30AM

Home Start
St Nicholas Hall,
Stour Rd,
CO12 3HS

Spring Term 2020

Term Dates 2019/2020

Autumn Term 2019

w/c 16th Sept 2019 to w/c 9th Dec 2019

(no group w/c 28th October 2019)

*Please note this programme is for parents only and we cannot accommodate children at the weekly group*

Spring Term 2020

w/c 6th January 2020 to w/c 30th March 2020

(no group w/c 17th February 2020)

*Please note this programme is for parents only and we cannot accommodate children at the weekly group*

Summer Term 2020

w/c 20th April 2020 to w/c 13th July 2020

(no group w/c 25th May 2020)

*Please note this course is for parents and we cannot accomodate children at the weekly group.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is MAZE and what do you do?

The MAZE Group is a community group of parents of children with additional needs who provide support and information for other parents. We offer a specialist weekly programme, drop-in coffee mornings, additional workshops and a lot of online content via Facebook and our website. The website contains lots of information about what we do. This is the best place to start to learn about The MAZE Group.

Do you provide a service for children and young people?

Our service is only for parents and carers and any other adults affected by additional needs.  We don’t offer a service for children, but we can provide information for you about other local organisations that we collaborate with who can offer services for children.

What does it cost to come to MAZE activities?

Our coffee mornings are free.  These are hosted by Colchester Parents Support (in Colchester), Harwich Parents Support (in Harwich) and Shorefields School (in Clacton).   The coffee morning teams are all MAZE Parent Mentors and facilitators. The online content and videos are also free. The specialist weekly programme costs £70 in total per person (or £100 for a partner or another family member to attend with you) and you can spread these payments out if you need to.  The cost of our workshops is usually £25 and there is a different cost for webinars, depending on how long they last.

How do I book a place on the weekly specialist programme?

To book a place, you simply fill in the online booking form on the website and submit it.  We will send you an email to let you know we have received your form. Usually, we will then ask you for a £10 deposit before the next group starts to reserve your place.  If you have any trouble with this, you can also give us a call on 07809900161.

Does my child need to have a diagnosis for me to attend MAZE activities?

No, you can come whenever you need to. The MAZE Group is for parents/carers who have children with additional needs whatever these may be and many children have additional needs but no diagnosis.  Just because a child doesn’t (yet) have a diagnosis, it doesn’t mean they don’t have additional needs and we believe that the sooner parents are able to access help and support the better this is for children, parents and families.

If I am waiting for the next available place on the weekly group, what other help can I access?

You are always welcome to come to any of our coffee mornings at any time.  Here, you can speak to one of The MAZE Group team or the visiting professionals who often attend for free, confidential advice.  We can also help you to meet and chat with other parents/carers in the same situation as yourself or someone else who has been through these experiences who can share their knowledge with you.  There are also a number of videos that you may find useful on the website (in the Learning Materials section) and if you follow and like the MAZE Groups Facebook page, this will also provide you with a lot of useful information to help you on your journey.

How to access The MAZE Group during COVID-19?

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, MAZE has suspended all face to face activities indefinitely. We hope to be able to recommence in September, but this will be dependent on the situation and government advice.

In the meantime, we are continuing to offer free support and information in the following ways:

–   Weekly Facebook live talks on Mondays at 10 am. There is a free help sheet to accompany each talk, with more information, resources, links, strategies and advice. You can watch the videos live or watch them later on-demand and you can sign up for the help sheet by joining our mailing list below.

–   Coffee evenings via Zoom every Wednesday evening at 7 pm. The link for the coffee evening is shared in “events” on our Facebook page.

–   Get in touch or send us a message if you need to speak to someone for advice, support or help during the lockdown and we will arrange a 30-minute phone or video consultation with you.