Additional needs

If your child has additional needs, when it is right for you and your family, there is information, support and advice to help you through the emotional, physical and financial changes you may experience. Having additional needs does not necessarily exclude your toddler from the things other children get involved in. You can learn more about the range of supports available from your health visitor or at contact.org.uk

In cases of chronic illness, disability or developmental, behavioural or emotional difficulties, there are services to support you and your child. Doctors, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, eye and hearing specialists, dietitians, psychologists and nurses are there and ready to help. They can also put you in touch with families in similar circumstances to you.

Tapping into the system

Your tot may have been identified as needing specialised care at birth or at an early-years check. But it may be you who notices something is not quite right. Be persistent until your concerns are properly addressed. Your first port of call should be your health visitor or GP. They may refer you to a hospital specialist or to a child development centre, where you’ll be able to see a community paediatrician and a team of other experts. Your child should be assessed quite quickly. Your tot may have been identified as needing specialised care at birth or
at an early-years check. But it may be you who notices something is not quite right. Be persistent until your concerns are properly addressed. Your first port of call should be your health visitor or GP. They may refer you
to a hospital specialist or to a child development centre, where you’ll we able to see a community paediatrician
and a team of other experts. Your child should be assessed quite quickly but the time it then takes to access
the specialised services your child needs may vary considerably.

What can I do to help? A checklist for the first assessment.

If your doctor suggests your child may need extra support, here’s a quick first checklist of questions to help you and your little one understand what’s being said. You might find it helpful to write down some of the information you receive.

  • What is the name of my child’s condition?
  • How can it be treated or managed?
  • What extra support will my child need and who will provide this?
  • How long will I have to wait to get the services my child needs?
  • Where can I get more information about my child’s condition?
  • Are there any support groups or charities that can help me, my child, or my other children?
  • Could you put me in touch with any other parents of children with the same problem?

This may be the first of many assessments for your toddler. Rest assured that the team will aim to involve you closely in all decisions about your child’s care.

Expert advice if your child has special needs . . .

"Parents often say they had to fight to get a problem recognised or the services they need. Be prepared to persevere and demand what you feel your child needs."
Dr Haider Mamdani, Child Development Centre, The Vale of Leven Hospital

> back to top

Disability Living Award (DLA)

Any ill or disabled child may qualify for DLA and you don’t have to wait for a diagnosis to make a claim. Your child will need to have had extra care or mobility needs for at least three months and be expected to have them for at least six months more. This means the earliest DLA can be paid from is three months of age. If your child has a terminal condition and you’ve been told they may not live for more than six months, there are special rules which mean the benefit can be paid from birth. You can learn
more at gov.uk

Last updated: 7 February 2018
We use cookies to help improve this website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue. Don't show this message again