Health and care for children and young people with SEND
Across Kent there are a variety of services from universal to specialist for children and young people with SEND. Services may differ depending on where in Kent you live.
Services in Kent can fall under one of these providers:
- Kent Community Health Foundation Trust
- East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust
- Medway Community Healthcare (Medway and Swale).
If you don't know which provider covers where you live, contact your GP who will be able to tell you. For some services you will be referred, so will be contacted by the relevant provider. However, for some services you may need to refer your child or yourself.
If you live in Medway, please visit Medway’s local offer.
Services for everyone
Most health services are available to everyone and you do not need an assessment or referral to use them. Many children and young people with SEND will have their needs met by services such as:
Know your rights
Know your rights when using the NHS, go to the Get Your Rights website to watch videos and find more information to help you with decisions and choices about your healthcare.
Services you may access
We have more information, including about support and diagnosis for the following:
- autism spectrum condition (ASC)
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- social and emotional mental health.
Find out more about the services you may need to access and where to get more information.
Children and young people with a disability or complex needs may need help from targeted services.
They are designed to support and treat people with certain conditions. You will normally need to be assessed and referred to the service by your GP, child’s school, health visitor, school nurse or social worker.
Children and young people with SEND may need to be supported by one or more of these services at some time in their life.
Targeted services include:
- occupational therapy
- speech and language therapy
- community paediatrics service
- child and young person mental health services
- Kent and Medway Wheelchair Service.
The area you live in depends on who will provide the services:
Parents and carers may need support from specialist services if they cannot give their child all the care they need. This could be due to:
- complex healthcare needs
- life threatening conditions
- profound disabilities
- a child's need for safeguarding
- continence issues
- podiatry issues
- nutrition and diet.
To get support from specialist services, a child or young person’s disability must be permanent and substantial and impact their ability to do daily activities and impact their family’s wellbeing.
Learning Disabilities nursing provides support to children and families who have a developmental delay or a learning disability, specialising in behaviour, sleep and continence.
Child Health Services offer therapy and health services for children and young people requiring complex intervention from 0 to 19 years.
Looked After Children provides a team of specialist nurses who support the health needs of Looked After Children, their carers and those leaving care.
The Kent and Medway Communication Assistive Technology Service work in partnership with schools and families to provide communication and assistive technology solutions that enable children and young people to enjoy themselves, develop independence, participate and achieve.
Living with hearing and visual impairments and or other sensory processing disorders is a lifelong challenge. There are many services in Kent that offer advice and support to young people.
- Find out about the Disabled Children Sensory Service team.
- Find out about support available if your child has been diagnosed with deafness, is deafblind or has a sight impairment.
Individual healthcare plans keep children and young people with medical conditions safe and well so they can play a full and active part in school life, stay healthy and fulfil their potential.
The plan sets out your child or young person’s medical needs and how they should be handled. This can help to make things easier for everyone involved in your child's care and education so they can participate in school life.
Individual healthcare plans are written with you, your child or young person and all the people who might need to contribute to their care while at school. Other people from outside the school might also be involved, depending on the level of your child's needs, such as the GP or school health service.
Individual healthcare plans are not the same as education, health and care (EHC) plans which set out the support needed by children with SEND, although some children may have both types of plan.
You can also read the supporting pupils at school with medical conditions document.
People with a learning disability often have poorer physical and mental health than other people. An annual health check can improve a young person's health by spotting problems earlier.
Anyone over the age of 14 with a learning disability is entitled to an annual health check. Check with your GP if you are on the register.
Find out more about annual health checks on the NHS website.
Where a child or young person has SEND, we may coordinate an assessment with the clinical commission groups (CCGs). This may mean a package of continuing care is agreed to develop the child or young person’s EHC plan.
A continuing care package may be required when a child or young person has additional needs as a result of:
- a disability
- an accident
- an illness that cannot be met by existing universal or specialist services alone.
If a continuing health care package is needed, the young person will move over to the adult continuing health care service which will be reviewed annually.
The Kent and Medway Wheelchair Service deliver clinical and repair services.
A referral is required by a healthcare professional, the criteria and other information can be found on the Kent and Medway Wheelchair Service website.
For advice or support about sexual health you can access any NHS sexual health services.
If you need additional support, such as due to a learning need, please ask for the ‘Apple Tree Service’ when you first get in touch. This means the team will know you need additional support, without you having to explain why.
For more advice please go to our sexual health pages.
It is important to exercise and take part in physical activity. Gyms and leisure centres provided by the local authority may have times during the week restricted to those with additional needs. Contact your local gym or leisure centre to find out what they offer.
The NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is responsible for planning and buying healthcare services in Kent. This is for all patients registered with its member GP practices and those who are not registered but live in Kent. This is known as ‘commissioning’.
They commission services including:
- planned hospital care
- urgent and emergency care
- rehabilitation care
- mental health and learning disability services
- care in the community.
Go to the NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group website for more information.