Children's disability services are for children and young people up to 18 years.
Your child's needs may be met at your local health centre. For example, if they have a speech delay your local speech and language therapist can often deliver the help you need.
However, in some cases you may need a children's disability team who work closely together.
This team will include health and social care professionals, experienced in delivering services for children with disabilities. This is generally called a children's disability team. Each team member offers expertise in a particular aspect of child development.
Who you see, and how often you see them, will depend on your child's individual needs. The team will discuss this with you.
How the children’s disability team works
Members of a children’s disability team work closely together to provide a wide range of services and supports for your child and your family. They start by finding out what your main concerns and priorities are for your child. This helps you to work with the team towards agreed goals.
These priorities and goals will change over time and you can regularly talk over what’s important with the team. For example starting pre-school or school are very important steps in a child’s life. The team and the family will plan together to make this time as smooth as possible for you and your child.
The team often brings groups of children together to learn new skills and mix with each other. Parents and other family members learn how to support their child’s development and can share their experiences with others.
Some examples of services that the children's disability team may offer:
- Groups for children such as play for babies and toddlers, making friends, getting ready for school, gym groups, learning to cycle
- Finding the equipment that some children need to help them take part in their school and community
- Advice on feeding
- Courses and talks for families on topics like how to support language development or ways you can manage your child’s behaviour
- Parent and carer support groups
- Groups for teenagers
- Speech and language therapy - help with communication or eating and swallowing, or both
- Physiotherapy - help to improve movement and function in the body caused by problems with muscles, bones or nervous system
- Psychology - help to assess emotional and behavioural difficulties and coping with the impact of living with a disability
- Occupational therapy - help with skills for the home, at school and in the community including dressing, feeding, toileting, handwriting and hobbies
- Paediatrics - provides diagnosis, medical expertise, regular check-ups and liaison with other health and care professionals and services
- Dietetics - help with nutrition and diet, as well as weight issues
- Social work - support for parents who are caring for a child with a disability by providing time to talk, offering practical help, or connecting parents
Your child may not need all of these supports and services.
Talk to your GP or public health nurse. They can refer you for the service your child needs.