The Insider’s Guide is a group-based learning course, designed by and for parent carers of children with additional needs. It focuses on building resilience and finding practical solutions to everyday challenges, encouraging parent carers to feel positive and confident in their abilities.

The main goals of the Insider’s Guide are to:

  • Give parents the opportunity to share and explore their journey with others
  • Develop trust between parents and professionals
  • Recognise and build upon the skills parents have already acquired
  • Map parents’ needs in preparation for the next part of their journey
  • Practise and rehearse possible strategies for building on the parents’ strengths
  • Develop positive solutions to problems
  • Encourage person-centred thinking

The courses are jointly delivered by parent carers and our practitioners, with a number of Unique Ways members who took the course going on to help lead it. The course promotes partnership working, bridging the gap in understanding between parent carers and practitioners to create better outcomes for children. It also supports parents to recognise their own stress levels and build their own strengths in order to foster their children’s resilience.

Course Variants

The Insider’s Guide is a modular course that can be tailored to the needs of the parents attending. There are five different variants of the course, each with a different focus:

  • The Insider’s Guide: Under Fives
  • The Insider’s Guide: Under 12s
  • The Insider’s Guide: Teens
  • The Insider’s Guide: Complex Health Needs
  • The Insider’s Guide: Challenging Behaviour

Each course variant shares three common modules, combined with three course-specific modules that focus on the different challenges parent carers can face.


Common modules

Module One: The Journey So Far – Finding out what we have in common.

Module Two: Travelling On – Managing stress and building resilience.

Module Six: Looking Ahead – Reflecting on the course, and deciding what’s worth taking on the journey ahead.

Under Fives

Module Three: Getting the Best Out of Others – Handling tricky meetings.

Module Four: Thinking About School – Understanding the process and the people involved.

Module Five: Extra Help at School – Support for children in school.

Under 12s

Module Three: Getting the Best Out of Others – Handling tricky meetings.

Module Four: Money Matters – Understanding benefits and other sources of income.

Module Five: Fun Things to Do for Under 12s – Ideas and details about different ways to have fun.


Module Three: Getting Out and About – Friends and fun.

Module Four: Navigating Our Way Around Puberty – Bodily changes, sex and relationships.

Module Five: Getting The Best Out of Others – Handling tricky meetings.

Challenging Behaviour

Module Three: Getting the Best Out of Others – Handling tricky meetings.

Module Four: Understanding Challenging Behaviours – Thinking about different behaviours, and what can trigger children acting out.

Module Five: Managing Challenging Behaviours –  Exploring ways of positively dealing with challenging behaviours.

Complex Health Needs

Module Three: Building Long-Term Strength –  Understanding long-term consequences of stress, and building resilience.

Module Four: Getting the Best Out of Others in Education –  Handling tricky meetings and planning for success.

Module Five: Getting the Best Out of Others in Healthcare – Ideas and skills for working with healthcare providers.


We find that parent carers who have been on the course really value being able to build their long-term strength, and find new ways to get the best out of the people who work with their children. A number of those who take the course come back and help us deliver the course alongside our practitioners!

Here’s what parent carers have to say about the Insider’s Guide:

“This course has helped me through each stage of what I’m going through at the moment. I’m feeling positive that I can get through it.”

“I am really learning from this course – I’m using the tools to communicate more positively, and I’ve changed my thinking about how to get my feelings out and then turn them around.”

“I’ve gained confidence in being allowed to do stuff for myself, not just be someone’s parent.”


Courses are run over six three-hour sessions in groups of between six and 12 parent carers.

For more information, contact us on 01422 343090, or email

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