OWLS Parent Support

OWLS Parent Support (16)

OWLS Free Parent Support at The Owl Centre by  Anna Hinton-Lowe, Parent Advisor

OWLS Free Parent Support is an informal support group for parents and carers of children (0 – 25 years) with special needs living in Oxfordshire.

Children and siblings are welcome at meetings. In addition to the meetings, information to help parents is regularly emailed to members.

For more information on meetings contact:

Tel: 07974977716


Monday, 18 December 2017 11:35

Next Year Dates

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I hope everyone is enjoying the lead up to christmas holidays and not too stressed!

I have very much enjoyed the last year at OWLS and look forward to seeing everyone again next year. I will be taking a break now as I am due to have a baby in January so Nicola will be sending details of speakers but the dates are planned and are as follows:

Tuesday 30th January

Tuesday 27th February

​Tuesday 27th March

As before, sessions are 10.15am-12pm (the cafe is open before and after this though so it's fine to arrive early/stay later too).
Sessions are held at OXSRAD Sports Centre in the cafe area.
OXSRAD – Court Place Farm, Marsh Lane, Marston, OX3 0NQ

If you haven't already then you can sign up to the Owl centre Newsletter to keep up to date with what is going on, here:


For any questions about OWLS please feel free to get in touch with the Owl Centre directly. 

Happy Christmas and all the best for 2018!

Thursday, 09 November 2017 09:26

DIR Floortime and upcoming speakers

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Thanks so much to Agnes Nemytov for her talk on DIR Floortime. We learned about how Floortime can be a way of meeting the child where they are and encouraging interaction.  Agnes is back on the 16th November when she will focus on Sensory Processing. If you would like to get it touch with Agnes please contact her on  

Monday, 16 October 2017 08:14


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Lat time at OWLS we met Victoria Greenfield who came along to give an introduction to Dramatherapy. It was great to hear of Victoria's experiences working in many different settings with children and adults. 

Victoria said this of Dramatherapy:

Dramatherapy is used in a wide variety of settings with people of all ages, you do not have to be "good" at Drama as Dramatherapy is a client centred interevention that focuses on the relationship between the therapist and cliient...the client can safely explore and express themselves through creative means to develop self esteem, self insight and bring about transformation. Most importantly, you do not have to perform to an audience! 

If anyone would like to contact Victoria to find out more about her service, here is her email address:

This week on Thursday 19th October we will be joined by Pauline McKinnon,Disability Information Officer for Oxfordshire County Council. Pauline will talk about her role supporting families of children with SEN to access childcare and leisure opportunities and be available to answer questions parents may have. All sessions are 10.15am-12pm (the cafe is open before and after this though so it's fine to arrive early/stay later too).Sessions are held at OXSRAD Sports Centre in the cafe area. OXSRAD – Court Place Farm, Marsh Lane, Marston, OX3 0NQ. 

Thursday, 28 September 2017 08:44

Dogs and Drama

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What a lovely session at OWLS last week! We were joined by Chrisanne of K9 Dog trainers and learned all about dogs as companions. We also met Kali, one of Chrisanne's dogs so were able to see her in action as well as take part in a quiz about understanding dog language! 

Chrisanne runs all classes and behviour consults and is a qualified dog trainer who is a Full Member of the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT), Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) . She has also gained the Open College Network Level III 'Principles of Dog Training And Behaviour' Qualification and is working towards Level IV. 

Chrisanne has really helpfully put together a handout with all the information we talked about plus helpful tips and contacts for information on therapy dogs which she was happy for us to share:


Please get in touch if you would like this emailed over as an attachment instead. If you would like to get in touch with Chrisanne at K9 Playtime then here are her details:

01993 852211 You can check out our services via our website www.k9pa.com You can also keep up to date with the latest news via our Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/k9playtimeacademy


Join us next week on Thursday 5th October for Dramatherapy! 

Friday, 15 September 2017 10:05

OWLS September to December

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Hopefully everyone is settling back into the new term. I always find the first two weeks of any term and the first two weeks of any holiday are tough with Scarlett as she adjusts to the new routine, nice to be coming out of that now! 

Apologies for the lateness in posting the new sessions for OWLS but here they are as well as some information about our next session on Thursday 21st September. Hope to see you there!

Our next OWLS session is Thursday 21st September and we have a special guest!K9 Dog training service will talk about their work training dogs and how they have been able to help some children with additional needs form a bond with their pets.They are also bringing along one of the dogs they are working with so we can meet them!


Upcoming sessions:

21 September 2017 - K9 Dog training service will talk about their work training dogs and how they have been able to help some children with additional needs form a bond with their pets.

5 October 2017 - Meet Dramatherapist, Victoria, from the Owl Centre, and learn how dramatherapy provides a gentle space for play and exploration.

19 October 2017 - Pauline McKinnon from Oxfordshire Children's Information Service will be here to support with any questions related to childcare and leisure for children with additional needs. 

Break for half term 

(Speakers to be confirmed very soon!) 

2 November 2017

16 November 2017

30 November 2017

14 December 2017

 Break for Christmas 

If you would like to speak at an OWLS parent support meeting or for more information, please do not hesitate to contact us on:

Meetings will be held every other Thursday during term time, from 10.15am until 12pm, at OXSRAD (Court Place Farm, Marsh Lane, Marston, Oxford OX3 0NQ - www.oxsrad.org)Meetings and the information services are free for parents and there is no need to book, you can drop in at any time. A professional will be charged £10 to attend a meeting.Children and siblings are welcome at meetings.


Friday, 14 July 2017 09:32

End of Term

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We are nearly at the end of term already! So many things to attend, sports day, end of reception "graduation", trips out! Then planning for the holidays... this year I like to think I have been more organised than previous years as I have booked a fair few activities in. I always find it really hard to think of things on the day so I have promised myself I will write a list of potential/accessible activities with as many as possible being free, for those days when I need to get the children out but my mind goes blank.

Next week at OWLS on Thursday 20th July we are having an informal coffee and chat session so plenty of chance to swap ideas for what to do over the holidays. I will also bring with me some informationon parent wellbeing, and organisations who can offer support for us if we are struggling. Being a parent is a tough job at times and being parent to a child with any extra support needs, even more so. I will be there until around 11 but the cafe is open so feel free to stay longer. 


We now have the dates for next term:

Thursday 7th September- coffee and catch up.

21st September- K9 Dog trainers 

5th October- speaker TBC

19th October- speaker TBC


All sessions are 10.15am-12pm (the cafe is open before and after this though so it's fine to arrive early/stay later too).  The group is informal and children are welcome to come along.We always have time for general questions and a chat so even if on the day the focus subject is not relevant to you, do feel free to come along to meet other parents and talk to our parent advisor Anna too about anything. If you would like any more information about OWLS parent support meetings, please do not hesitate to contact us on: 


Well what a week it's been here. I have both children at home, one with chicken pox and the other recovering from ear surgery! Still, no morning rush to get ready for school at least I suppose...

We did loads of preparation with Scarlett for her surgery and this included some really handy video clips aimed at explaining what happens on the day of surgery. These can be found on YouTube by searching "Magic milk and squidgey masks". I can really recommend this if your child needs help preparing for surgery. Scarlett has had so many operations that I have lost count but we still found it really calming for her to sit and watch with me and prepare. She also was given dressings to play with to familiarise herself with what she would need to have on her after surgery. 

Last week at OWLS we had a parent's perspective on WIKI websites. Thanks so much to Karen for sharing her experiences and explaining all about the WIKI as well as how parents can ask for one for their child with additional needs. 

You can find out all about WIKI websites and see whether you are eligible for this as a free service by applying here:



Looking forward to seeing you all on Thursday 6th July for information on Lego therapy!


Friday, 16 June 2017 08:41

Next week at OWLS

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Next week at OWLS on Thursday 22nd June we will be learning about WIKI websites. WIKIS are personal, private websites which can be used to create personal plans for children with additional needs. 

We will hear from Karen about how the WIKI has helped her to save and share her son's information and progress. Karen took part in the pilot study the County Council ran and has offered to talk us through the process of setting up a WIKI. 

I have a WIKI for Scarlett and am happy to share parts of this at the group also. Scarlett likes to look through hers as it has pictures of her favourite things as well as videos and lists of things she enjoyes doing. 

Hope to see you there!


Friday, 05 May 2017 08:53

Dyslexia Talk

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Last Thursday Sarah Reed, dyslexia specialist for the Owl Centre came along to the group. Sarah offers support and assessment for children who may have dyslexia and it was really interesting to hear Sarah's advice and experience. Sarah had tips on products as well as strategies for children and adults with dyslexia. Please get in touch if you missed the talk and would like to find out more. 

Join us next time (Thursday 11th May) for free advice from SMQ legal services.  



Wednesday, 29 March 2017 09:09

Last week, and what's next

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Last week at OWLS we heard from Cathy Heath about the service she offers as a Dance and Movement Psychotherapist. We all got up and about for this session as Cathy demonstarted the kind of activities that might happen during a therapy session!

The session generated lots of talk as Cathy explained that Dance and Movement Psychotherapy is a movement based therapy, rather than a dance class and can help children and adults overcome a variety of difficulties including grief, anxiety and depression to name a few. It can be used to increase self-esteem, social skills and self-awareness as well as boosting confidence and allows space for both verbal and non-verbal expression. You can hear Cathy give a brief overview on The Owl Centre Facebook page here: 



If you would like more information on Cathy Heath's service you can contact her on:  


 Next week at OWLS group we will hear from Pauline McKinnon , Disability Information Officer for Oxfordshire County Council. Pauline will talk about her role supporting families of children with SEN to access childcare and leisure opportunities. I'm not able to make this one but Nicola Lathey will be there and on hand to help with any questions! 

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