SEND health and wellbeing
Hillingdon has a wide range of health services for children and young people with SEND, including:
- universal services - available to everyone and do not require a referral
- secondary services - more specialist and may require a referral
- services for other health concerns, such as sleeping difficulties.
Everyone can access universal health services (also called primary services); they are your first point of contact if you have concerns or questions about your child's health and wellbeing. A referral is not required.
The following services are universal health services.
A general practitioner (GP) is a doctor who offers help with general health concerns and can refer you to more specialist services where needed.
Hillingdon Health Visiting and School Nursing Service
The Hillingdon Health Visiting and School Nursing service offers tailored guidance and support to families and partner services who work with children and young people within Hillingdon.
Annual health checks
Annual health checks are available for children with SEND from the age of 14 and can help you stay well. You can talk with a doctor or nurse about your health and find any problems early, so they can be sorted out.
If you are worried about seeing a doctor, or there is anything they can do to make your appointment better, let the doctor or nurse know. They can make changes to help you. These are called reasonable adjustments.
Anyone under the age of 18 is entitled to free dental care. There is no need to register with a dentist (in the same way as with a GP) because you are not bound to a catchment area.
For children and young people with a learning disability, autism or both, there may be extra challenges, such as sensory issues around having their teeth brushed, or the texture of toothpaste. Some children and young people may be unable to describe tooth pain.
Children with learning disabilities are 28 times more likely to have serious sight problems than other children. if you are worried about your child's sight, book a free appointment with your high street optician. For children with exceptional needs, local opticians will usually have specially-trained staff who can advise whether they can do a test, given your child's needs - they should be able to meet the needs of most children and babies. If they cannot meet your child's needs, request a referral from your GP (or from the optician) to a specialist service at the hospital.
SeeAbility has a national database of optometrists and opticians, which includes important information about the practice and facilities they have available for people with learning disabilities.
Hearing loss in children and young people with a learning disability, autism (or both) is 10 times higher than in other children and young people. They are also very likely to have a condition called glue ear. Hearing difficulties can cause, or contribute to, speech or language delays, difficulties learning and reading, and communicating with others.
Talk to your child's school, GP, health visitor, or paediatrician about any concerns you have about your child's hearing. Read more about causes of hearing problems in babies and children, spotting signs of a hearing problem and tests for children on the NHS website.
Children with special educational needs and disabilities will need support from different health services at different stages in their lives.
Some children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities will have more complex needs and may need more specialist services (also called secondary services).
Some of the health professionals who may be involved in healthcare for children and young people with disabilities are:
- Children's Integrated Therapy Service - a team of qualified speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists who work together with 0 to 19-year-olds, their families and professionals/settings to support them through assessment, therapy, training and advice
- Hillingdon Community Paediatrician Team - works with children who have complex needs, disabilities or long-term conditions
- Community Mental Health Services for Children (Hillingdon CAMHS) - provides community mental health services to children and young people (up the age of 18) with complex mental health difficulties (and their families) in a range of different ways depending on their needs
Children with SEND may have more problems with sleep than other children. Without specialist support, sleep problems can continue for years. Sleep deprivation not only affects a child's learning, behaviour, mood and health but also the physical and mental wellbeing of the whole family.
- NHS information on sleep
- Cerebra and Scope offer sleep support and information on sleep issues for disabled children and young people
- National Autistic Society and Autism Speaks have information on strategies that can help with sleep issues for those with autism spectrum disorder
If your child has a complex medical condition, then talk to their neurologist or paediatrician especially if they are on medication as these maybe affecting their sleep.