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Health support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities

Health information and support for children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities and their families.

  1. Form:
    1. Options:
    2. Basic health care options:
      1. Options:
        1. Doctors

          GPs offer a service that is available to everyone. They have expertise in all areas of health and wellbeing. They are the first people you talk to in relation to your health. If needed, they can refer you to more specific services.

          Normally, you will see a doctor but GP teams can also include nurses and counsellors. If you need specialist care or have spent a long time in hospital you may see a consultant or specialist doctor.

          Things you might visit a GP for:

          • illness or physical injury
          • feeling unhappy
          • vaccines
          • contraception or pregnancy

          How to use this service

          You need to register with a GP then you can call to book an appointment. Some GPs have online booking or booking through your mobile phone.

          Find out more about choosing and registering with a GP.

          Home visits

          If going to a GP appointment at a surgery is challenging, you can some times arrange home visits.

          If you feel a home visit might be the best option, you'll need to talk to your GP. The first step is for the young person or their family to explain the challenges faced. Not all surgeries can offer this and they all have their own rules about when they can so you need to talk to them about your needs so the GP can work out the best way to provide care.

          Find your nearest GP.

        1. Dentists

          Dentists offer a service that is available to everyone. They will do your regular check-ups. If needed, they can refer you to more specific services.

          Normally, you will see a dentist but teams can also include nurses and hygienists. If you need teeth moved or removed you may see an orthodontist.

          At your check-up, your dentist will:

          • check your oral health
          • check any risk of disease in the future
          • tell you about the care and treatment required for good oral health

          How to use this service

          You don't need to register with a dentist. You can just find a local dentist and call them.

          Find your nearest dentist.

          If getting there is challenging you can use a community dental service.

          Find out about community dental services.

        1. Health Visitors

          Health visitors work with children under the age of 5 and their family. By the age of 5 most transfer into the care of their School Nurse. In some cases work can carry on after the age of 5 if a child has complex needs.

          They lead on the Healthy Child Programme (for ages 0 to 5) which aims to make sure every child has the best start in life.

          Mothers will have visits from health visitors during their pregnancy. This starts at week 30 of the pregnancy. The visits they do include:

          • antenatal contact from 30 weeks of pregnancy
          • new baby visit - including newborn hearing screening between 11 to 14 days
          • review of progress at:
            • 6 to 8 weeks of age
            • 4 months of age
            • 8 months of age
            • 2 years of age

          Health visitors can refer a child to specialised services if needed.

          How to use this service

          Normally visits will take place at home. If this is difficult, visits can be arranged at nurseries or childcare settings.

          They work with any young person referred to them by a health professional. Young people can refer themselves by coming to a health visitor with anything they want to talk about.

          When your child is two, you will be invited to attend a health review. This is usually conducted by your child's health visitor or a nursery nurse. They will talk to you about your child's progress and help you with any concerns.

          If your child is in childcare, you will also be invited to discuss the child's learning progress. Normally the invite will be sent by the Childcare provider.

          The health review and learning review are combined to create an integrated review. An integrated review will help draw a complete picture of your child's progress.

          Find out more about the integrated reviews.

          Find out more

          Find out who you can contact to find out more.

        1. School Nurses

          School nurses work with young people from the age of 5 to 19 and their families. Most children move from health visitors into the care of their School Nurse by age 5.

          They lead on the Healthy Child Programme (for ages 5 to 19) which aims to make sure every child or young person has the best start in life.

          They work with young people and their families to:

          • find problems early and reduce any impact
          • support young people with health issues
          • provide a safe place to talk about difficulties
          • give immunisations

          School nurses can refer young people to other services.

          How to use this service

          Young people can:

          • come to the nurse themselves if they want to talk about something
          • be sent to the nurse by a teacher
        1. Opticians

          When you go to an optician, you'll have your sight tested. You will see an ophthalmic practitioner, which can mean either:

          • an optometrist
          • an ophthalmic medical practitioner

          They will check the quality of your vision and eye health and are trained to recognise:

          • a variety of conditions
          • signs of eye disease

          They can also give you glasses and contact lenses if you need them.

          If needed, they will refer you to your GP or an eye clinic.

          How to use this service

          You should have a sight test every two years, or sooner if you've been asked to do so. It is important because they can find potentially blinding eye conditions. It is not normally possible to restore vision once its been lost but it can be slowed or stopped. It is easy to neglect the eyes because they rarely hurt when there is a problem but a regular check will help.

          Find an optician near you.

        1. Emergency care

          Dial 999 if it's a life threatening emergency.

          A&E is only for emergencies - if you’re not sure whether it is an emergency, call 111 first.

          How to use this service

          The Emergency Department offers 24 hour, 7 day a week care to all. Patients can bring themselves to the unit or be brought in by ambulance/helicopter. Once in the unit, staff will endeavour to treat patients within 4 hours.

          Find an A&E department near you.

      1. Options:
        1. Audiology

          Audiology work with children and adults who have hearing or balance difficulties. They:

          • check hearing levels
          • help to stop hearing loss
          • give a diagnosis
          • help with recovery
          • provide hearing aids

          There may be several follow up visits after the first one. This is to check there is no more hearing loss and see if things are getting better.

          How to use this service

          Testing can be done on children of any age from birth to 18 years.

          Health visitors do a newborn hearing screening from 11 to 14 days of age. This helps to find any hearing loss as early as possible.

          If there is not a clear response from either or both ears, they will refer you.

          Find out more about newborn hearing tests.

          Who you will be seen by depends on the child's age:

          • children under 6 months need to be tested with special equipment. They are sent to the Neonatal Hearing Screening Service
          • 6 month to 3 year olds are seen by Audiology and Dorset county Hospital
          • children over 3 years may be seen at a Children's Centre or by Audiology and Dorset county Hospital

          Children can have hearing loss later on, so you should check their hearing often.

          If you have concerns about your child's hearing, tell your health visitor or GP. They will do some tests and refer you to audiology if needed.

        1. Continence services

          Continence services work with young people from the age of 4 to 19 and their families.

          They work to:

          • help manage incontinence
          • support young people
          • check for improvements
          • set new goals each time one is met

          Continence nurses can refer young people to specialists if needed.

          How to use this service

          Normally you will talk to the school nurse first. They then refer you to a continence nurse if needed.

          Find out more about services that can help.

        1. The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)

          CAMHS work with young people under the age of 18 and their families.

          They help children and young people having problems with:

          • things at home
          • things at school
          • things at college
          • growing up
          • with their families

          CAMHS may benefit you if you are:

          • regularly feeling depressed
          • self-harming
          • feeling anxious or worried

          How to use this service

          You can refer yourself to this service by talking to:

          • a doctor
          • a school nurse
          • a trusted adult
          • a professional supporting your family

          Your first appointment will be an assessment.

          We will want to know:

          • what life is like for you at home, at school and with friends
          • what is good
          • what is not so good
          • how you want things to be different

          You can come to your first appointment alone or bring a parent or carer.

          After that they will decide if they can help or refer you to a different service that will be better for you.

          Find out more about CAMHS.

        1. Occupational therapy

          Occupational therapists work with people of all ages. They can look at all aspects of daily life, from the home to the school or workplace.

          They will:

          • look at how you do the tasks now
          • teach different ways to do it
          • suggest things that will make it easier
          • provide devices to help

          How to use this service

          To get access to this service, you can talk to:

          • a doctor
          • a nurse
          • the local clinical commissioning group
          • another health professional supporting your family

          If you do not want to go through the NHS you can contact a therapist directly.

          Next steps

          Find out more about occupational therapy.

        1. Physiotherapy

          Physiotherapists work with people of all ages.

          They will work with you to help:

          • make physical activity easier
          • prevent future injury

          They will:

          • assess you
          • carry out a treatment plan
          • offer advice

          They will talk to you about:

          • mobility
          • easing pain
          • exercises you can do to help
          • healthy lifestyles

          How to use this service

          You can refer yourself to this service by talking to:

          • a doctor
          • a school nurse
          • a trusted adult
          • a professional supporting your family

          Normally, a doctor will refer you to them but you can refer yourself.

          If you want to refer yourself, you can talk to:

          • the reception staff at your doctor’s
          • your local Clinical Commissioning Group

          They will be able to offer advice about how to refer yourself.

          Find out more about physiotherapy.

          Find out about what we provide near you.

        1. Speech and language therapy

          Things they can help with:

          • speaking clearly
          • understanding what others are saying
          • using words in sentences
          • stammering
          • talking with a husky voice
          • understanding and using the rules of talking (e.g. taking turns)
          • swallowing difficulties

          From 0-18 you will be seen by the The Paediatric Speech and Language Therapy Service. After 18, they will refer you to the adult service.

          How to use this service

          Speech and language therapy can be part of an education, health and care plan. When it is you will be referred by the SEN department.

          You can also be referred to this service by:

          • health visitors
          • school nurses
          • school staff
          • doctors

          You can self refer if you are having trouble getting referred.

          Once you are referred the next step is an assessment. This helps to find out what a child’s specific areas of difficulty are.

          After this they will provide an initial report which will include details of:

          • any impact the difficulty is causing
          • how likely it is that they are going to be able to help change things at this point
          • what they think should happen next

          Find out more.

        1. Dorset Wheelchair Service

          Dorset wheelchair service works with people of all ages.

          A wheelchair may be given if:

          • you have a permanent impairment
          • you have a medical condition that will last more than 6 months
          • your physical ability to walk is impaired
          • you are termanilly ill

          The wheelchair service:

          • provides mobility equipment
          • support with posture
          • repairs NHS wheelchairs

          If you do not want and NHS wheelchair, they offer a voucher scheme. You can have a voucher to the value of the chair offered on the NHS. You can then choose a wheelchair/ buggy from the private market and pay the remaining value.

          How to use this service

          You can be reffered to this service by any health professional who is working with you.

          Your first appointment will be an assessment. After this they will decide and give you any equipment that they think is needed. This may happen at the appointment or may need to be ordered and given to you at a later date.

          Find out more.

      1. Options:
        1. Care at home

          Care at home comes in many forms and lots of names can be used to describe it.

          Care at home can suit you if you need:

          • personal care, such as washing or dressing
          • housekeeping or domestic work, such as vacuuming
          • cooking or preparing meals
          • nursing and health care

          Care at home can be very flexible, in order to meet your needs. The same person or agency may be able to provide some or all of these options for the duration of your care:

          • long term 24 hour care
          • short breaks for an unpaid family carer
          • emergency care
          • day care
          • sessions ranging from 15-minute visits to 24-hour help

          How to use this service

          Find out more by:

          Specialist equipment for help at home

          Some children may require specialist equipment in order to be cared for at home.

          Your doctor may refer your child to a physiotherapist to assess their mobility needs. They will be able to identify what equipment your child needs. This could be generic equipment such as handles for the bath or it could be tailor made for the child or young person.

          Find services that provide equipment for the home.

          Financial help towards homecare

          Find out about financial help.

          You could be eligible for extra help

          You could be eligible for extra help caring for your child. A continuing care package may be offered when a child or young person under 18 years of age has needs arising from disability, accident or illness that cannot be met by existing mainstream/universal or specialist services alone but require regular and planned complex medical or nursing interventions. Find out about Continuing Care.

        1. Palliative care

          Palliative care is for people who have a terminal illness where a cure is no longer possible.

          It can also include:

          • the earlier stages of illness
          • people who have a complex illness and need help with their symptoms
          • people who are nearing the end of life. This is called end of life care

          Palliative care aims to:

          • treat or manage pain
          • treat or manage physical symptoms
          • support life and regard dying as a normal process
          • improve the quality of life
          • offer support to the family cope during a person’s illness and in bereavement
          • uses a team approach to meet the needs of the person who is ill and their families

          How to use this service

          You will be referred to this service by a doctor.

          Find out who you can contact to find out more.

          You could be eligible for extra help

          You could be eligible for extra help caring for your child. A continuing care package may be offered when a child or young person under 18 years of age has needs arising from disability, accident or illness that cannot be met by existing mainstream/universal or specialist services alone but require regular and planned complex medical or nursing interventions. Find out about Continuing Care.

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