Health and emotional wellbeing
There are a range of health services in Kent that support the physical, emotional and mental health needs of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
Your GP, health visitor or school will usually need to refer you to specialist services although some services will accept referrals from parents/ carers.
If you are concerned about your child's health and wellbeing, you should discuss this with their teacher, Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) and or your GP, who may decide to refer them for specialist help. Depending on your child's needs, find out which service can support them to have a happier, healthier life.
Maintaining positive emotional wellbeing including strong mental health helps to improve a young person's physical and cognitive development. This improves relationships with family members and peers and eases the transition to independence.
There are a range of services in Kent to support children and young people’s emotional and mental health including:
- the School Health service, which has a team of school nurses who work with children, young people and families in Kent - you don't need to be in school to use this service
- HeadStart Kent , which helps young people cope better when faced with difficult circumstances in their lives, preventing them from experiencing common mental health problems
- Children and Young People’s Mental Health Service (CYPMHS), which provides emotional wellbeing and mental health advice and support for young people and their families across Kent
You may be able to get help with continuing care if your child has complex health needs such as if they:
- are dependent on oxygen
- need to be fed through a tube
- have a life-limiting or serious mental health condition
In some circumstances this may include palliative end-of-life care.
Personal health budgets
Children and adults that receive continuing healthcare by the NHS have a right to a personal health budget, which enables families to manage their care in a way that suits their unique needs. Visit the NHS England website to find out more about personal health budgets and how to apply.
Children with complex health needs are often referred to the following hospitals:
- Maudsley Hospital: provides an extensive portfolio of mental health services in the United Kingdom
- Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children: covers many complex health issues and is the largest centre for child heart surgery in the UK - it's also one of the largest centres for heart transplantation in the world
- University College London Hospitals
Therapists can help you support your child’s needs so that they can achieve their full potential with their physical skills, daily activities and independence. A GP, nursery or school will need to refer you to access these services.
Physiotherapists assess, advise and support children who have long-term difficulties or conditions which affect their movement, motor development and function. Occupational therapists help children with disabilities and difficulties to participate as fully as possible in everyday activities.
Medway Community Healthcare’s service covers the Swale area and provides therapy for children that need complex intervention from newborn babies to young people aged up to 19 years.
Speech and language therapists assess, diagnose and treat young people with communication difficulties. They also support children and young adults that have challenges with eating and feeding.
There are a range of specialist services in Kent that support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. You will need to be referred to these services, some of which are provided in community clinics and schools.
Specialist services help young people with:
- continence issues to support and advise them if they have bladder and bowel problems to become confident in managing these difficulties
- podiatry issues, covering all aspects of foot health from common foot problems to more complicated conditions needing surgical correction
- nutrition and diet
There is also a specialist community dental service that helps children with physical, mental or social needs and community paediatrics with a team of doctors that assess children if there are concerns about their development.
Visit Kelsi's website for more information on the Kent and Medway Communication Assistive Technology Service.