If your child is disabled or has a long-term health condition, you will find that you come into contact with lots of different professionals depending on your child’s specific needs.

Child Development Centre (CDC)

Often based at your local hospital, a CDC will provide a multi-disciplinary team, which usually consists of paediatricians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and possibly a psychologist.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

This service specialises in supporting the psychological and emotional needs of children and young people.

Continence

Many disabled children will experience issues with continence or toilet training.

Community nursing

A Community Nurse supports disabled children at home (for example children who are tube fed). They also act as a liaison between your child’s doctor and nursery or school.

Dental services

If your child has additional needs, they may experience increased drooling and may find it difficult to clean their teeth, which can lead to dental problems. Not many dentists specialise in working with disabled children so do contact several practices first and explain your child’s needs. 

Dietician

Some disabled children will have problems eating and chewing and therefore may not get the nutrition they need. A dietician will advise about special diets, supplements and food in general.

Educational psychologist

Often the first time you have contact with an Educational Psychologist is when your child is getting near school age and, due to their impairment, may need an Assessment of their Educational Needs (commonly known as a Statement).

GP and local GP practice

Your GP is the health professional that you will probably consult most often. The GP is your first point of call. GPs can refer your child to more specialist professionals and can offer a range of services including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, counselling, health checks and vaccinations. Register with a local GP.

Health visitors

Health visitors can offer comprehensive support to families with disabled children, from assessment to the early identification of additional needs. Find out more about what health visitors can offer.

Neurologist

A neurologist or neurosurgeon is a doctor who specialises in impairments of the brain and nervous system.

NHS Continuing Care

NHS Continuing Care is support provided for children and young people under 18 who need very tailored packages due to their complex support needs. 

Opticians

An optician will check your child’s vision and eye health and, if necessary, will provide glasses or refer you to a specialist for further advice and treatment. 

Orthopaedic consultant

An orthopaedic consultant specialises in bone and soft tissue development.

Paediatrician

Usually based at your local hospital, a paediatrician specialises in the health and medical care of babies and children.

Portage worker

Portage is an educational programme for children who have difficulty in learning basic skills due to either physical or behavioural difficulties.

SENCO

SENCO stands for Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator. A SENCO is responsible for the day-to-day delivery of a school’s SEN policy. See Learning Together.

Contact our helpline