Symbol UK

Symbol UK is an independent organisation, set up in 1998, that operates on a not-for-profit basis in the south east of England and further afield, working in partnership to provide service to children and adults with special needs and related communication difficulties.

Working in a wide variety of locations, across the full spectrum of Educational and Care provisions Symbol’s services include specialist support for people who have Down’s syndrome in mainstream schools, provision of specialist assessment and advice, Intensive Therapy Holidays (which we have used in the past and I cannot recommend highly enough), and weekly speech and language groups. They also work with people who have Down’s syndrome in statutory services: this includes special schools, Early Years Services, Speech and language therapy input to Community Teams for People with Learning Disabilities.

Symbol brings together service users, skilled practitioners, commissioners and funding, to develop innovative services that enrich the lives of children and adults who have special needs. Symbol UK Ltd works with people who experience disadvantage associated with a range of special needs, in particular, learning disabilities and physical disabilities. Their work supports clients to develop their skills and confidence, to make choices about how to live their lives, and improves their opportunities to engage with and contribute to the community.

Mission statement

“Symbol exists to create choices for individuals and innovative and effective solutions for organisations. We strive to work in partnership with others to improve the quality of knowledge and opportunity for those we support.”

The majority of Symbol’s regular provision takes place across the south east of England – Symbol’s head office is based near Maidstone in Kent.But they also carry out consultancy work and project work throughout the UK and work with people who travel from other areas to access their services.

What services does Symbol provide?

Speech and language therapy

Symbol UK’s primary purpose is to support people who have communication difficulties and eating and drinking difficulties through provision of speech and language therapy services.

Family Support Services

Through an associate company Symbol Family Support Services Ltd they work with local authorities and parents who have learning disabilities to ensure that their children thrive, they provide an assessment and support service that develops support networks and parenting skills, and works with all involved identifying an appropriate alternative placement where necessary.

Projects

Other time-limited projects with a range of providers, such as working with the Down’s Syndrome Association (UK) to develop resources for families and professionals.

Central Services

Personnel, finance ,payroll and central office functions.

The Symbol Trust

The Symbol Trust is a registered charity, established in 2002 as a separate entity dedicated to securing donations to finance specific pieces of work for which there is no other funding. The Symbol Trust’s primary purpose is to develop knowledge of and support for communication skills in people with learning difficulties. The Trust funds, commissions, or works in partnership with Symbol and other organisations to carry out projects with clients and their families and carers, and with practitioners, that develop and deliver effective and innovative ways of optimising the quality of life for children and adults with special needs. The Symbol Trust is lead by a Board of Trustees which supports the development of their work.

The Symbol Academy

Symbol Academy] is an independent specialist school set up in 2005 to provide education to a group of children in the Kent , east Sussex and south London areas for whom no adequate places were available in mainstream or special schools.

Drawing on the expertise of both Symbol UK and Symbol Family Support Services, the school has quickly established itself as a high quality specialist education unit. Although working closely with the other Symbol services it is independently governed by its Directors. Committed to providing an education, the school does not charge fees to parents, and hence it relies on donations and sponsorship to continue.

The Symbol Trust has made the Academy its priority for its fundraising appeal. For information on how you can support the Academy for more information about the Academy itself contact

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