Therapy and health services

Everyday healthcare services can help children and young people with disabilities. You can ask for additional or complex help when you need extra help.

Additional support

Additional support is often referred to as 'targeted health services'.

Children and young people with more complex needs can receive help through targeted health services. Targeted health services are provided after an assessment or a referral. In the short term, you may receive support from a:

  • GP
  • dentist
  • education setting
  • health visitor
  • school nurse
  • social worker.

Types of targeted health services

The Community Paediatrics Service (CPS) investigate, diagnose and helps with neurodevelopmental disorders including:

The team consists of consultant paediatricians, specialist nurses, and administrators. The CPS can provide useful resources and can contribute towards your education, health and care (EHC) plans.

They also provide expertise in safeguarding, child protection and looked after children (LAC).


To refer your child or young person, you should contact your local community NHS trust. In the meantime, you may find guidance on the NHS website helpful:

You can get a wheelchair from Kent and Medway Wheelchair Service.

A healthcare professional can refer you to them. Upon receiving your referral, they'll discuss your needs.

Learn more about the Kent and Medway Wheelchair Service.

Occupational therapists support children and young people to:

  • learn skills for an independent happy and fulfilling life
  • dress
  • help with their movement and coordination skills
  • support with skills, mealtimes and sensory processing
  • reach their goals
  • be a part of their local community.


To see an occupational therapist (OT), ask your doctor, social services, or pay privately.

Visit your local community NHS trust website to learn more about OTs:

Paediatric physiotherapists help babies, children and young people.

They support them to:

  • develop their gross motor skills (for example walking and jumping)
  • be more independent
  • take part in and enjoy life.

Physiotherapists will also listen to what matters to you and your family. They will:

  • discuss any concerns and work together to work out if and how physiotherapy can help
  • support with others your child or young person's health and wellbeing
  • work in the most appropriate environment for your family
  • treat a range of conditions, motor development and illnesses.


To see a paediatric physiotherapist, ask your doctor or social services.

Visit your local community NHS trust website to learn more about paediatric physiotherapists:

Speech and language therapy helps those with communication problems. This includes:

  • children with a cleft lip and/or palate
  • feeding difficulties
  • Developmental Language Disorder
  • Dyspraxia
  • selective communicators.

They can offer advice and information to families, nurseries and schools.


Contact your local community NHS trust to make a referral:

Our Specialist Teaching and Learning Services (STLS) provide education support services for children and young people (0 to 19 years) with sensory and physical disabilities, or complex needs.

Their goal is to help your child reach their learning goals.

Learn more about  the Specialist Teaching and Learning Services (STLS).

Complex support

Complex support is often referred to as a 'specialist service'.

To get support from specialist services, your child or young person’s disability must:

  • be permanent or substantial
  • impact their ability to do daily activities
  • impact their family’s wellbeing.

The specialist service will support you if you cannot provide all the care your child needs. This may be related to:

Your child or young person's GP, dentist, child’s school, health visitor, school nurse or social worker can refer them directly.

For general complex needs support visit the NHS website.

Types of specialist health services

From 0 to 19 years of age, Children and Young People's Therapy Services offers therapy and health services to children and young people struggling with:

  • talking and communicating
  • eating, drinking or swallowing
  • mobility and posture
  • physical skills such as balance and coordination
  • motor (movement) skills
  • everyday activities (self-care such as getting dressed, using the toilet, preparing and eating meals).

Find out more about the Children and Young People's Therapy Services.

The Community Learning Disability Team supports children with developmental delays and learning disabilities.

Their focus is to provide care focused on individuals with learning disabilities.  They will support you and your family and help your child access mainstream services.

Learn more about the Community Learning Disability Team.

Kent and Medway Communication and Assistive Technology Service (KMCATS) works with schools and families. They provide communication and assistive technology solutions that allow children and young people to develop independence.

Find out how KMCATS can support your child or young person.

The Looked After Children Nursing Service are specialist nurses who support looked after children (LAC). They also help caregivers, and those leaving care.

They provide health assessments and care plans and can also refer to other services to meet LACs' health needs.

Learn more about the Looked after Children Nursing Service.

The NHS Continuing Healthcare Service provides extra health care to children and young people (0 to 18).  It might be because of a disability, accident or illness that can't be met by everyday or specialist services.

You can discuss a referral with your healthcare professional or GP.

Find out more about the NHS Continuing Healthcare Service.