What is CENMAC?

CENMAC is an advice and support service for children and young people who have difficulties with communication and access to learning. We provide Assistive Technology to support and enable independence and inclusive education.


Is CENMAC a charity?

CENMAC is a self funding, local authority based service based at Charlton Park Academy in Greenwich.


Who can refer a child or young person to CENMAC?

Anyone working with the child or young person, or the parent/carer can make the initial referral.

We recommend that the parent or carer work with a member of the school’s inclusion team such as the SENCO, Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) or Occupational Therapist (OT) to complete the referral form. For children or young people being home schooled the parent or carer can complete the form. Make a referral.


How do I make a referral?

To make a referral the school’s inclusion team or the parent/carer (for a child or young person who is home schooled) need to complete a referral form.

Make a referral.


What details do you need to make a referral?

When making a referral you will need to complete the referral form as fully as possible. It may mean asking others for information to complete all the questions.
You will also need to include supporting information (ECHP, IEP, OT, SALT, VI, HI reports and handwriting/drawing sample as applicable).

Make a referral.

Can I refer anyone to you for help?

We support a variety of children and young people, including those with a physical disability who have difficulty with written communication. We support children and young people with spoken communication difficulties, as well as those who have challenges around accessing education. This includes a fairly wide range including those with an autistic spectrum disorder, dyspraxia, dyslexia, motor skills difficulties, sensory impairments or AAC users.


I need a laptop for my child – will you supply it?

CENMAC will assess your child’s needs and if appropriate will loan suitable assistive technology, but a laptop may not be the best solution. We have a wide range of equipment available to suit each individual. It may be advisable to look at what software the child or young person needs access to, rather than the hardware, and if it is already available in school.


What happens if the loan equipment
stops working?

Contact CENMAC immediately and we will give you initial advice to check over the phone if it is something easily fixed. If the problem can’t be resolved, we will arrange repair or replacement machine/equipment.


What happens when my child’s needs change?

Following the initial assessment, CENMAC reviews children and young people annually and, should their requirements change, will replace equipment for something more appropriate at that time. Schools can also request CENMAC to conduct the review earlier if they consider it appropriate.


How long does the referral process take?

This is not an easy question to answer as it depends on so many variables. Generally the quicker the school completes and returns the paperwork the quicker an approach to the child or young person’s home LA can be made.


Do you have a waiting list?

Yes, once agreement has been given by the child or young person’s home LA their name is added to the waiting list so that assessments are carried out in a fair way. If a child or young person has a deteriorating condition they will be given a high priority. Generally we aim to assess the child or young person within about 6 weeks of their name being added to the waiting list.


Are you open all year?

Yes we are open all year round. During school holidays we only have administrative and technical support (our Advisory Teachers take annual leave during school holidays).


Do you cover the whole of the country?

CENMAC works mainly within the inner London Boroughs. Most of these inner London Boroughs subscribe to the CENMAC service. Children or young people living in a subscribing borough can access the full range of the CENMAC service (i.e. assessment and loan of appropriate equipment). Individual, organisation and training packages are available on request.

Referrals for a Southwark child/young person

If you are wanting to make a referral for a Southwark child/young person, please email directly to sen@southwark.gov.uk requesting you would like CENMAC involvement. The local authority will then send you a referral form.


What happens if I live in a borough
which does not subscribe?

CENMAC can carry out a private assessment which is a thorough assessment of the child or young person’s needs leading to a written report and shopping list of suitable hardware and software tailored to that individual’s needs. We also offer a number of other packages which include loaning of equipment.

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Can my child use the service if they attend a school outside of their home borough?

Provided the home LA has approved the referral the child or young person can receive support if they attend a school within the M25 area.


Can we still receive support if we move outside of a subscribing LA?

Yes it is possible, but it would mean approaching the new LA or the new school to request funding for the support to continue.


When should I refer a child or young person to CENMAC?

As soon as possible. CENMAC endorses early intervention and we support children and young people in the age range of 0 to 25 years. Please note that some LAs only accept children and young people who have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP).

However, CENMAC will assess any child or young person who has a possible need for Assistive Technology.

Make a referral


Does CENMAC provide communication devices?

We are able to loan start out communication devices, usually in tandem with an access device such as a switch or touch device, to allow the child or young person to demonstrate ‘communication intent’. This also allows them to use the device that is appropriate for them at this time. When appropriate we will support applying to one of the AAC hubs for ongoing dedicated communication devices.

Can my child bring the loan
equipment home to use for their homework?

In some circumstances equipment is allowed home for the child or young person’s use, however, permission must be obtained from the school, and a home indemnity form must be completed before the equipment is allowed off the school premises. The responsibility of this arrangement is made with the school.


You loaned equipment to a child or young person in my class but they are not using it – what should I do?

CENMAC will ask to see evidence that the equipment is being used at each review and shortly after any new equipment is delivered. If you are aware of any CENMAC equipment that is not being used regularly please call to let us know. Any unused equipment should be returned promptly so that it can be made ready for another child or young person to use. We may need to look at the needs of the child or young person again and see if there is another option available or suggest different strategies. We are happy to help in these.

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