Health support - children with disabilities and learning needs

Health support

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic our services will have adapted to meet this developing situation. Find our latest service updates 

Information about the health support that is available and specific conditions. 

Flu vaccine for children and young people

The annual flu vaccination programme includes pre-school children aged two or older and children at primary school. Vaccinating your child helps protect them against flu infection. Children should get the flu vaccine during autumn, before the height of the flu season.

The flu vaccination program in Bromley has started and will continue until December 2020 with this vaccination been offered to eligible school aged children including all children in mainstream schools from Reception classes to Year 7.

All students attending specialist schools will be offered the vaccination from Reception classes up until their 18th birthday. Licensing restrictions mean that any student of 18 years or older would require an injectable flu vaccine which would be offered at their GP's surgery if there are underlying health concerns. 

Find out more about the flu vaccination program including how it can protect your child or young person, who is eligible and how it is given.

NHS Flu vaccinations - a guide for parents and carers of people with a learning disability - video 3m40s 2020

A short video for carers of people with a learning disability about the importance of vaccinating themselves and the people they care for

Plus  the NHS have created some helpful easy read resources about how to protect yourself from flu this winter, and also how to get the flu vaccine. Find this and more useful information on the Mencap website.

Health Checks

Annual health checks are for young people aged 14 or over with a learning disability. An annual health check helps you stay well by talking about your health and finding any problems early, so you get the right care as early as possible.

People with a learning disability can often have poorer physical and mental health than other people.

GP’s in Bromley will offer your young person aged 14+ an annual health check if they are on the GP Learning Disability Register.

Find more information about annual health checks

If you have a learning disability you can get extra support when visiting the doctor. 

To get support you need to join the learning disability register - which could also mean you can have a free Annual Health Check. 

Mencap have created some helpful Don’t Miss Out resources to help you or the people you support get on the learning disability register, including:

  • an easy read guide for people with a learning disability
  • a guide for people who support someone with a learning disability
  • a template letter to give to your doctor
  • awareness posters to print off and display

Mencap's easy read leaflet about annual health checks  explains

  • what a health check is
  • how to get a health check
  • how to find out more information about health checks

Concerns about  a child's development

If your child is not meeting the milestones for his or her age, or if you think there could be a problem with the way your child plays. learns, speaks, acts and moves talk to your child's doctor and share your concerns. Use the  NHS Birth to five development timeline to see when your child may gain certain skills and learn new things.

More advice about child development

Community and special dental care

Good dental care and regular check-ups are essential elements of supporting all children to keep healthy and well. Many children who have a disability, learning need or medical condition are also likely to have additional problems with their teeth. Find out more about dental care options.

Difficulties using the toilet

All children are different, but most show signs of being ready to learn to use the toilet at around two or three years old. Some disabled children may not be ready until they're older or they may take longer to learn. This could be because of learning disabilities or physical challenges, such as impaired mobility, motor skills or muscle tone. Some children may never learn to use the toilet on their own. If your child's condition will affect their ability to control their bladder or bowel movements, their doctor may be able to refer you to a specialist for advice on managing their continence. An occupational therapist can advise you about special potties or toilet seats if your child needs help with sitting, or about any bathroom adaptations that might be useful. A physiotherapist can also advise about issues such as moving and handling your child, or finding the best position for your child to be able to use the toilet.

If you need further support and advice, the Bladder and Bowel Service run by Bromley Healthcare may be able to help.

Eating drinking and feeding

If a child refuses food or has difficulty with eating, it can often leave parents feeling very anxious, helpless and frustrated. This is especially so for disabled children.

A disabled child can have difficulty feeding for several reasons, such as:

  • finding it difficult to chew, swallow or digest certain food
  • having limited mobility, making it more difficult to feed themselves on their own
  • having a learning disability, making it more difficult for them to learn, or understand appropriate behaviour when eating and at mealtimes
  • be reluctant to eat, or only eat a few types of food
  • be prevented from feeding/sucking as babies, because of medical problems and then find it harder to develop these skills later on

If your child is having problems eating it is important you seek help from your GP or health visitor who can check for possible medical causes as well as provide advice on how to deal with the problem.In Bromley, there are two key NHS services that can offer advice - the Dietitians Service and the Speech and Language Therapy Service.

Emotion wellbeing and mental health

We all expect to get a cold or sore throat from time to time but when it comes to the way we feel emotionally, it can be hard to recognise or admit that we're not feeling 100%. This is especially difficult for children and young people as they grow up and learn about themselves and the world around them. Read more about the support that is available.

Hearing impairments

Having a child born with a hearing impairment, or that develop them in their childhood, can be can be overwhelming in the early days, but there is lots of support out there to help families of children with a hearing impairment, including those with complex needs. Find out more

Physical difficulties and sensory needs

Having a child born with a physical disability can be can be overwhelming in the early days, but there is lots of support out there to help families. A lot of children and young people with learning disabilities or difficulties often have sensory needs that need to be met too. Find out more about the services available.

Sleeping difficulties

If your child is having trouble sleeping, it can have a negative effect on the whole family by disrupting the sleep of you and their siblings.

Find out more if your child is having trouble sleeping

Specific conditions and disabilities 

Information about specific conditions is available on the NHS Bromley website including Asthma, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Speech and language delay

Over one million children in the UK have some kind of speech language and communication needs. This is known as SLCN for short.

Find out more about SLCN and the support that is available

Visual impairments

Having a child born with a visual impairment, or that develop them in their childhood, can be can be overwhelming in the early days, but there is lots of support to help families of children with a visual impairment, including those with complex needs. Find out more

Need more help?

Contact the Information, Advice and Support Service for free, impartial information, advice and support for parents and carers of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Support is also offered to children and young people with SEND. They can also help provide information in a non-web format.