Health support - children with disabilities and learning needs
Information about the health support that is available and specific conditions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Specific conditions and disabilities
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.
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.