This page will provide you with useful information if you have concerns about your child or young person’s health, wellbeing and development, such as what services and therapies you can access through the NHS and other specialist services.
The SEND Code of Practice 2015 says:
- Local authorities and health bodies must have arrangements in place to plan and commission education, health and social care services jointly for children and young people with SEN or disabilities. (1.23)
- Local authorities, CCGs and other partners must work together in local Health and Wellbeing Boards to assess the health needs of local people, including those with SEN or who are disabled. (1.19)
- CCGs, NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts must inform the appropriate local authority if they identify a child under compulsory school age as having, or probably having, SEN or a disability (Section 23 of the Children and Families Act 2014). (1.16)
Section 25 of the Children and Families Act 2014 places a duty on local authorities to integrate education, health and social care provision where this would promote wellbeing and improve the quality of provision for disabled young people and those with SEN.
The Care Act 2014 requires local authorities to work across children’s and adult’s services so that young adults are not left without care and support as they move into adulthood.
Identifying a Special Educational Need and / or a disability
The SEND Code of Practice says:
- Where assessment indicates that support from specialist services is required, it is important that children and young people receive it as quickly as possible…The Local Offer should set out clearly what support is available from different services and how it may be accessed. (6.60)
- Colleges should ensure they have access to external specialist services and expertise. These can include, for example, educational psychologists, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), specialist teachers and support services, supported employment services and therapists. (7.23)
For children with complex needs identified at birth, after an injury or illness, or through their early years, you will likely have health professionals already working with you.
They will let you know if they believe your child has Special Educational Needs, and can also guide you to other sources of support and information.
Health professionals have a duty to notify the local authority when they identify a child under compulsory school age as having (or probably having) SEN or a disability.
However you might be the person who notices differences around development or behaviour, this can often happen when a child starts nursery or school for example.
You can talk to their Teacher about your observations, discuss what support might be needed, and decide next steps together.
You can also see your child’s GP and together you might talk about whether to make a referral to a specialist service or paediatrician.
If your child continues to make less than expected progress, the School or Nursery may talk to you about a referral to a specialist health service, such as a school nurse or a speech and language therapist.
For more information on how your child should be supported in Education, click on the Bexley IASS SEN Support page.
There is statutory guidance in place for supporting children and young people with medical conditions
The ‘Statutory Policy for supporting children and young people with medical conditions’ (2015) applies to any ‘appropriate authority’ as defined in section 100 of the * Children and Families Act 2014 (Sec 100)
This means governing bodies in the case of maintained schools, proprietors in the case of academies and management committees in the case of pupil referral units (PRUs). ‘Appropriate authorities’ must have regard to this guidance when carrying out their statutory duty to make arrangements to support pupils at school with medical conditions.
The guidance also applies to activities taking place off-site as part of normal educational activities.
All schools should have a Medical Conditions Policy which states how the school will support children with medical conditions and this policy should be published on the school website.
Early years settings should apply the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.
For more information click on the link to the Bexley IASS Equality & Inclusion Page
If your child is unable to attend school, there will be alternatives available from the local authority.
This is known as alternative provision. You can discuss with school if you believe you need to explore this for your child.
Share any relevant information from health professionals with school and the local authority, particularly if this indicates attendance at school is going to be difficult.
For more information click on the link to the Bexley IASS Equality & Inclusion Page
Children with Complex Needs
If your child has been diagnosed with an illness, disability or sensory impairment and needs a lot of additional support on a daily basis, they’re described as having “complex needs”. A child might have complex needs from birth, or after an illness or injury.
Support after diagnosis
Although everyone’s experience will be different, it can be reassuring to speak to other parents who have children with the same disability or health condition as yours. They’re likely to have been through the same emotions and processes.
Many organisations offer advice as well as online forums or message boards for parents:
- Bexley Voice Parent Carer Forum: Bexley Voice
- The charity Bliss can provide advice and support to families with a baby in special care
- Carers Support in Bexley: Carers Support
- The charity Contact has advice and information for families with disabled children
Your needs: GP carers register
If your GP’s surgery has a carers register, ask to be added. If your GP knows you’re a carer, they can keep an eye on your health and you’ll have someone to speak to in confidence about how you’re feeling.
They can also advise on local organisations and carers services that may benefit you and your child now and in the future.
Your child’s needs
Your child’s medical and healthcare needs are the responsibility of your local NHS health services.
This includes any medical equipment, such as special beds, bed equipment, hoists, and aids to help with incontinence, mobility or hearing. It’s usually provided free.
If your child needs regular healthcare treatment at home, your family may be supported by community children’s nurses. They can also help with any treatment you need to carry out for your child, such as giving oxygen or injections.
Your child may receive a continuing care package if they have needs arising from disability, an accident or illness that can’t be met by existing universal or specialist services alone.
Find out more about continuing care for children and young people: NHS continuing care.
Children who have a continuing care package have the right to a personal health budget so that their families and carers can have more control over their care.
Find out more about Personal Health Budgets through the NHS: personal health budgets.
The LA’s responsibility
The local authority is responsible for providing any non-medical care services your child is assessed as needing. This could include equipment for daily living, home care, access to play schemes, and respite care so that you can have a break.
To access services from the local authority, you’ll need to ask for your child to have a needs assessment. Your needs, and the rest of your family’s, can be considered during your child’s assessment.
If the assessment doesn’t address your needs as a carer, you can ask for your own carer’s assessment.
Individual Healthcare Plans
These are not to be confused with the Education, Health care Plan (EHCP).
You can discuss with school and health professionals whether a plan would be appropriate for your child:
- An individual plan is particularly helpful for children with long term complex health needs.
- An Individual healthcare plan will help a setting to effectively plan what your child needs, and can provide reassurance about the support plan ie. who will do what, and when.
- You will be able to share your views and those of your child. Let the school know of any changes to your child’s needs so the plan can be amended
- This plan can also include your child’s Special Educational Needs (where an EHC plan is not in place).
- Though school will be responsible for finalising and maintaining the plan, health, social care or other professionals should be involved in the process.
Here is the Government guidance on the Individual Healthcare Plan for Schools, provided in an open document format for you to download and fill in: IHP template
Further information can be found here on what should be in a Individual Healthcare Plan and example templates from the Health Conditions in School Alliance: Advice and example templates
Time away from your child can often be beneficial for you both. Being overwhelmed and exhausted by your caring responsibilities can affect your health.
If family and friends can’t always step in, respite care may be a possibility. Your GP or social worker will be able to discuss all the options and organise the care. Alternatively, you could pay for respite care privately.
Find out more about carers’ breaks and respite care.
Transitioning to Adulthood
Many young people who have disabilities live independent lives, while others may always need significant care. Even if they have extensive care needs, your child may still be able to live independently with the right support.
Many organisations can offer advice about managing a young person’s transition to adulthood.
You can find contact details for these organisations in the NHS National directory of local carers’ services.
The Bexley Local Offer
The Bexley Local Offer is where to go for information about health services and provision for children and young people with SEN or disabilities including:
- Services to support children and young people with medical conditions in education
- Speech and language, audiology, occupational therapy and physiotherapy
- Services relating to children and young people’s mental health and well-being
- Wheelchair services and community equipment
- Children’s community nursing and continence services
- Palliative, respite and continuing care for children with complex health needs
- Support for young people when moving between children to adult healthcare services
- Patient Liaison Service – information about health services and how to complain
- Health and Wellbeing services in Bexley
Additional Support & Information
Together for short lives:
Providing information and support for families of children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions aged 0-25:
Together for short lives
NHS Health A-Z
Take a look at the Council for Disabled Children factsheet
‘Levels of care in the NHS (PDF)’