Across Medway there are many specialist services for children and young people with SEND. 

View Medway Community Healthcare's community health services

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how someone communicates and relates to other people and make sense of the world around them.

Autism is sometimes referred to as an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. There are areas of difficulty that people with autism may share including:

  • social communication
  • social interaction
  • restricted and repetitive behaviours
  • sensory processing differences

Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may also have learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support.

Watch the video to find out how some autistic children may see and hear the world.

How to get an assessment or diagnosis

If you have concerns or you suspect that your child may have ASD you should speak with your:

  • health visitor
  • GP
  • child’s school or educational setting

Where to get support

There are many services both locally and nationally to support you and your child including:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition which affects parts of the brain which control attention, impulses and concentration. It can have a impact on school, peer relationships, self-esteem and family life without appropriate treatment.

There are theories about ADHD that:

  • boys are more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADHD
  • ADHD can go unrecognised in girls
  • tends to run in families suggesting it’s genetic
  • there are also dietary and environmental factors 
  • many children will have another condition as well as ADHD

Watch the video to understand more about ADHD.

How to get an assessment or diagnosis

ADHD starts at a very young age but may not be diagnosed until later. It is more likely to be diagnosed during the school years when children are in an environment that places greater demands on them. Where they are trying to function in larger groups of children with less adult support.

There's no simple test to determine if your child has ADHD, but a specialist can make an accurate diagnosis after a detailed assessment.

Your GP or school can refer your child to a specialist for a formal assessment.

Where to get support

There are many services both locally and nationally to support you and your child including:

Children and young people presenting with social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH) often struggle to manage their emotions and behaviour. They also find it difficult to make and keep relationships with adults and other children and young people.

These difficulties may show as them becoming withdrawn or isolated as well as through challenging, disruptive or other concerning behaviour. Children and young people with SEMH often struggle to engage in a learning environment, often showing inappropriate behaviour and may benefit from additional support to reach their potential.

Typical characteristics of young children with SEMH are:

  • disruptive and uncooperative behaviour
  • temper tantrums
  • withdrawn or isolated behaviour
  • anxiety

SEMH does not have to be a life-long condition. With appropriate support, children and young people can move forward in their development and live successful and happy lives.

Where to get support

There is national support available from:

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:

  • GPs
  • dentists
  • opticians
  • urgent care and walk-in centres
  • health visitors
  • school nurses

If you are worried about your child's development there is lots of information available about different types of SEND.

Children and young people with a disability or complex needs may need help from targeted services.

These services are designed to support and treat people with certain conditions. You will normally need to be assessed and referred to the service by professionals such as your GP, child’s school, health visitor or social worker.

Targeted services include:

Children and young people with SEND may need to be supported by one or more of these services at some time in their life.

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

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.

Specialist health services

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 NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is responsible for planning and buying healthcare services in the area, for all patients registered with its member GP practices and those who are not registered but are resident within Medway. This is known as ‘commissioning’.

They commission services including planned hospital care, urgent and emergency care, rehabilitation care, mental health and learning disability services and care in the community.

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 and helps ensure they can participate in school life.

Individual healthcare plans are written involving you, your child and young person and all the people who might need to contribute to a child's 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 Plans (EHCPs) which set out the support needed by children with SEND, although some children may have both types of plan.

Download 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 have an annual health check.

Find out more about annual health checks.

Where a child or young person has SEND, Clinical Commission Groups (CCGs) and local authorities may co-ordinate an assessment. They may then agree a package of continuing care to develop the child or young person’s EHCP.

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

When a young person approaches 18, Medway’s 0 to 25 Disability Team or a healthcare professional will revisit a checklist to see if continuing care funding is still needed at this stage. This assessment is done in consultation with the young person and their family or carer.

If it is, the young person will move over to the adult continuing health care service which will be reviewed annually.