Skip to main content

Health services for children aged 0-5 years

If your child has SEN or is disabled, healthcare is particularly important and can improve your child’s quality of life. Local children’s centres offer a variety of health services.

Health visiting

Within 2 weeks of birth, all children should be visited by a health visitor, who can advise on and support:

  • breastfeeding
  • immunisation
  • teenage pregnancy
  • obesity
  • sexual health
  • substance misuse
  • smoking

You will be given information on local children’s centre services and you can talk to your health visitor about any concerns.

If your health visitor, doctor or pre-school setting thinks your child has a special need, they will refer them for assessment. Your child may then be referred to a specialist clinic, which would prepare a report on your child’s special needs and what needs to be done to help them. Examples include:

  • mobility or practical aids
  • support at home
  • advice to your child’s educational setting
  • referral for a statutory assessment, which could lead to an education, health and care (EHC) plan (previously a statement of SEN)

Special needs

If your health visitor, doctor or pre-school setting thinks your child has a special need, they will refer your child to the community medical paediatric service for assessment. Your child might then be referred to a specialist clinic that looks at particular special needs. The clinic will prepare a report on your child’s special needs and what the next steps should be, for example:

  • appointments with health professionals
  • mobility aids or other practical aids
  • referral for support at home
  • advice to your child’s educational setting
  • referral for an assessment which could lead to an education, health and care (EHC) plan, in the case of complex needs

Community medical paediatric services (CMPS)

The CMPS promotes children and young people’s development and is key in early detection and provision, and support for those who need it.

The child development team

The child development team assesses and provides support if your child has problems in two or more areas of development. It includes:

  • paediatricians
  • a psychologist
  • a specialist health visitor
  • a speech and language therapist
  • a nursery nurse

They work in partnership with hospitals, education, children’s services and the voluntary sector. They will talk to you and may liaise with your child’s early years setting or school to ensure their needs are met. If your child attends special groups, a specialist early years teacher may also be involved. Most clinic referrals are from family doctors and community nurses.

The special advisory clinic

The special advisory clinic assesses needs and advises on treatment if your child has problems in one area of development. It works in partnership with:

  • hospital paediatricians
  • child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
  • specialist community public health nurses
  • community nursery nurses
  • speech and language therapists
  • occupational therapists
  • physiotherapists

The neurodevelopment clinic

The neurodevelopment clinic screens high-risk premature babies born at less than 32 weeks for developmental problems at 3 months, 10 months and 2 years of age. It works in partnership with hospital paediatricians, speech and language therapists and physiotherapists. Babies identified with specific difficulties are referred to the appropriate clinic.

The social communication and play review clinic

This specialised multi-agency team comprises health, education and children’s services specialising in supporting children with autism or autism-related syndromes. Referral is via:

  • doctors
  • health visitors
  • education services
  • portage
  • children’s services
  • nurseries
  • schools
  • hospitals
  • other healthcare professionals

The Child and Family Centre

Axe Street, Barking IG11 7LZ

020 8911 3740

cmpaeds.bdchs@nhs.net