Advice and support for parents

This is an introduction to what support, advice and services are out there to help you and your family on your SEND journey. You don’t need a diagnosis to access some of these services.

These two Worcestershire organisations offer advice, information and support for carers in the county.

Information from Worcestershire SEND Local Offer: Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS)

Website: Worcestershire Association of Carers (WAC) (opens in a new window)

Information from Worcestershire SEND Local Offer: Parents and carer support groups

Information from Worcestershire SEND Local Offer: Useful websites

Information from Worcestershire SEND Local Offer: Pre School Forum

Information from Worcestershire SEND Local Offer: Training for parents

Information from Worcestershire SEND Local Offer: Money matters

Neighbouring Local Authorities

You may live near to a border in Worcestershire and sometimes the closest support groups or charities may be in a neighbouring county.

All Local Authority areas have their own versions of the Local Offer website. Here are the links to the neighbouring Local Authorities Local Offer websites.

Website: Birmingham Local Offer (opens in a new window)

Website: Dudley Local Offer (opens in a new window)

Website: Gloucestershire Local Offer (opens in a new window)

Website: Herefordshire Local Offer (opens in a new window)

Website: Staffordshire Local Offer (opens in a new window)

Website: Shropshire Local Offer (opens in a new window)

Website: Warwickshire Local Offer (opens in a new window)

What to do if you have concerns about your child?

Some children may display symptoms or behaviours which may give you cause for concern. Examples of this could include speech and language delays, social and emotional issues, developmental delays and behavioural issues.

This can be a worrying time, however, if you have concerns about your child there are lots of professionals you could talk to, many of whom you may already be in contact with. These professionals are trained to support you and can then refer you on to a more suitable and appropriate service. Below is a list of services and professionals that can make a referral to an appropriate service:

Who can I contact?

Who they can refer me to?

Starting Well Service

Speech and Language Therapy Team
Health Visitors
Umbrella Service

Childcare settings

Speech and Language Therapy Team
Health Visitors
Pre-School Forum
Community Paediatric Team
Umbrella Service

GP

Child Development Team
Speech and Language Therapy Team
Health Visitors
Pre-School Forum
CAHMS
Community Paediatric Team
Impaired Hearing Services (Audiology)
Umbrella Service
Paediatric Occupational Therapy
Paediatric Physiotherapy

Midwife

Community Children’s Nursing Team (Orchard Service)
Hearing and Visual Impaired Services

Health Visitor

Child Development Team#
Speech and Language Therapy Team
Hearing and Visual Impaired Services
Pre-School Forum
Umbrella Service
Community Children’s Nursing Team (Orchard Service)
Community Paediatric Team
Paediatric Occupational Therapy
Paediatric Physiotherapy

Children’s Centres

Speech and Language Therapy Team
Starting Well Service
Health Visitors
Family Support

SENDIASS and the Local Offer

You may want to talk things through with someone who can offer impartial information and advice about the different services. SENDIASS is a free service for families with a child or young person with SEND

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Special Educational Needs Disabilities (SEND) Information Advice and Support service (SENDIASS) provides impartial information, advice and support on all matters relating to children and young people with SEND.

This service is free, accessible, confidential, impartial and provided at arm’s length from the Local Authority.  

If your child is identified as having SEN you can familiarise yourself with your Local Authority’s Local Offer. This explains the special educational provision you can expect schools and settings in your area to make.

Website: SENDIASS Support Service (opens in new window)

Website: The Local Offer

Starting Well

The Starting Well Service in Worcestershire brings together teams of staff who provide help and support to children, young people and families. The service provides support to expectant mums, newborn babies, school aged children and teenagers and work to encourage development and progress. There are Family Hubs located across the district that you can visit

Website: NHS: Starting Well (opens in new window)

Website: NHS: Starting Well Family Hubs (opens in new window)

Ante-Natal support and Midwives

Here you will find support and information to improve your maternity journey. This is a partnership between the NHS and partner organisations to offer you and your baby personalised care choices

Website: NHS: Birthways (opens in new window)

Speech and Language Therapy Service

The Children’s Speech and Language Therapy Service provides evidence-based services that anticipate and respond to the needs of children and young people who experience speech, language, communication or swallowing difficulties.

Speech and language therapists work in partnership with children, their families and other professionals in a variety of friendly setting including;

  • children centres: every centre has a named speech and language therapist, regular talking walk-in sessions and therapy groups
  • child development centres: speech and language therapists are part of the team
  • schools: every mainstream school has a named speech and language therapist who visits

Website: NHS: Worried about a Child's Speech or Language (opens in new window)

Health Visitors

Health Visitors provide a family focused service to ensure children and families have a positive start in life. They are community based to ensure the service continues to be accessible to all. Health Visitors will also provide support over the telephone. 

They can help with are ranges of issues including;

  • keeping children safe and preventing accidents
  • support with healthier lifestyles. smoking cessation, alcohol and substance misuse
  • an unhappy or violent relationship or family conflict
  • immunisation and screening programmes
  • safeguarding children
  • general health advice and referral to appropriate services
  • supporting with healthy eating

Website: NHS: Health Visitors (opens in new window)

Child Development Team

The Child Development Team (CDT) is a multi-disciplinary and multi-agency team of professionals working with pre-school children with additional needs. Representatives from these professional groups meet to briefly discuss the children referred to identify the needs and develop a coordinated plan and future provision

Website: NHS: Child Development Team (opens in new window)

Community Children’s Nursing Team (Orchard Service)

The Orchard Service is a Children’s Community Nursing Team that covers Worcestershire. The child must be under a Worcestershire GP to be able to access the service. They are a mixed team consisting of nurses, a clinical psychologist, a social worker, a play specialist and carers. The team provides care to patients with a long-term complex health need and their families

Website: NHS: Orchard Service North (opens in new window)

Website: NHS: Orchard Service South (opens in new window)

Community Paediatric Team

The Community Paediatric Team are advanced clinical practitioners who have experience in child health between 0 to 18 years. They see children in a community setting and provide ongoing care if there is a clinical need. They do clinical assessments for children and young people with long term disability, developmental delay, neurodevelopmental conditions for example, ADHD and Autism.

They accept referrals from all children’s health professionals, including GPs, health visitors, school health nurses, other paediatricians, and therapists e.g. speech therapists and occupational therapists. Referrals are also accepted from Early Intervention Family Support workers, Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators and special schools

Website: NHS: Community Paediatric Team (opens in new window)

Pre-School Forum

This is a multi-agency panel made up of professionals from Health and Education services. They coordinate involvement between professionals, agencies and parents, identify children who may need close monitoring and ensure smooth transition between pre-school and school.

Website: Pre-School Forum (opens in new window)

CAMHS

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) provides assessment and treatment for children and families where the young person is experiencing significant mental health difficulties

Website: NHS: CAMHS (opens in new window)

Umbrella Pathway 

Umbrella Service provides assessment and diagnosis for children and young people who may have signs consistent with the autism spectrum

Website: NHS: Umbrella Service (opens in new window)

Paediatric Occupational Therapy

The Paediatric Occupational Therapy Service will accept referrals from all Health Professionals for children who are experiencing functional difficulties, which impact on their ability to complete activities of daily living. Such as self-care, going to nursery or school and leisure activities like playtime.

Website: NHS: Paediatric Occupational Therapy (opens in new window)

Paediatric Physiotherapy

They work with children who have neurological, developmental, and orthopaedic conditions who may also have complex long-term medical, social and learning needs. The focus is on maximising a child or young person's physical ability within their everyday activities at home, in education and in their community.

Website: NHS: Paediatric Physiotherapy (opens in new window)

Self-Referral

With some services there is also an option to self-refer, although speaking to a professional in the first instance should always be the preferred route. You can make a self-referral to the following services:

  • Health Visitor
  • Speech and Language Therapy Team
  • Starting Well