Specialist Health Services
Children with special educational needs and disabilities will need support from different health services at different stages in their lives.
Some children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities will have more complex needs and may need more specialist services, also called ‘secondary services’.
Descriptions of some of these health professionals who may be involved in healthcare for children and young people with disabilities are shown below.
Children and young people with speech, language and communication needs may have difficulties with speech sounds, in understanding speech, producing language, or using language appropriately. They may not meet the language milestones at the same time as other children, and it may be a sign of a language or speech delay or disorder.
Language and speech disorders can exist together or by themselves. Some speech difficulties may be associated with a medical diagnosis such as cleft palate, cerebral palsy, hearing impairment or a developmental delay.
Speech and language therapy provides treatment, support and care for children and adults who have difficulties with communication, or with eating, drinking, and swallowing.
Peterborough’s Children's Speech and Language Therapists (SALT) provide speech and language therapy to infants, children and young people aged 0 – 19 years old who have speech, language and communication needs and feeding difficulties.
What is physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy helps to improve and restore general movement, function, and physical activity. It is provided by specially trained and regulated practitioners called physiotherapists.
Peterborough’s Children's Physiotherapy Service is a community-based that works with infants, children and young people aged 0-19 years old who have general developmental delay, movement disorders and complex physical disabilities. Their aim is to focus on function and participation in everyday life, helping the patients to reach their full potential and improve their quality of life.
For referrals to be accepted, the child/young person must be between the ages of 0-18 years old (19 if in a special school) and have a registered Peterborough GP.
The service will see infants, children and young people with general development delay, motor disorders and complex physical disabilities.
They will not accept a referral for general musculoskeletal conditions. Referrals for general musculoskeletal conditions should be referred to Peterborough City Hospital via GP.
Referrals are not accepted from parents, and one of the following should refer the child:
- Health visitor
- Social care
- Education professionals (SENCo)
- Other allied health care professional (occupational therapist, speech and language therapist, psychologist)
Community Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy aims to improve a person’s ability to do everyday tasks if they are currently having difficulties. Occupational therapists work with people of all ages and can look at all aspects of daily life in the home, school, or workplace.
They support people in living as fully and independently as possible and this might involve learning new ways to do things or making changes to their environment to make things easier.
The community Occupational Therapy service does not accept referral for home-based equipment or adaptations.
Peterborough’s Children’s Occupational Therapists work with children 0-19 years old in the community and school who have a range of mild to complex disabilities and difficulties, including developmental delay, motor disorders and/or complex physical disability. More information can be found here.
Professionals wishing to make a referral can find the referral form on this page.
Social Care Occupational Therapy
The Social Care Occupational Therapy team can give you advice and information on moving and handling issues, seating at home, housing needs and provide assistive equipment and adaptations to overcome some of the difficulties.
The service is provided by Peterborough City Council, and you can find out more information on the Social Care and Early Help page.
Providing nursing to children with complex needs at home
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Children's Community Specialist Nurses provide nursing to children with complex needs at home. They are a multi-disciplinary team working in the community across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
They provide care for children and young people from 0 up to their 18th birthday who:
- Need acute short-term interventions to enable them to be cared for at home
- Have complex healthcare needs/long-term conditions requiring nursing support/intervention
- Require palliative and end-of-life care
What are community peadiatrics?
The Community Paediatrics service in Peterborough is an out-patient and community service provided by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT).
They work as part of a multi-disciplinary team to provide support to children, young people and their families within Peterborough who have a range of developmental concerns and/ or disabilities.
All families requiring the Specialist Community Paediatric service will have had an Early Help Assessment (EHA), which is a tool that any health care professional, who knows the child or young person, can help to complete.
This enables the identification of the child/ young person and their family’s needs, to provide the most appropriate services for support.
All referrals must come through this Early Support Pathway (pre-school children) / Early Help Pathway (school children).
Appointments are provided by the most appropriate member of our multi-disciplinary team through a combination of face-to-face clinics, telephone, virtual (through Attend Anywhere video platform) and home visits.
Clinics are held at Child Development Centre, City Care Centre, Thorpe Road, Peterborough, PE3 6DB.
Assessing childrens abilities
The Psychology Children's Service in Peterborough is a community-based service within Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS foundation trust (CPFT).
They work as part of a multi-professional team including specialist speech and language therapists who assesses a child's abilities (up to the age of 5) across a range of areas to determine how best their additional needs can be described and supported.
Psychologists look at a child's cognitive (thinking) skills and their ability to adapt to social situations as well as looking at how the child reacts at home and in other settings.
Referrals to the Psychology Children's Service are via the early help team and child development centre, community paediatricians. They do not accept GP or other professional referrals to this service.
The local hospital in Peterborough is Peterborough City Hospital, which is part of North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust.
There are other hospitals, some offering universal services and other with specialist services and known as being leaders in certain medical fields, like heart surgery or children’s plastic surgery.
When you are referred to services that are in a hospital you will be sent to right clinic in the right hospital for your child’s needs. This may be your nearest hospital, but it can sometimes mean you need to travel further to the hospital offering what is needed.
Other hospitals in the area are:
Your child may be referred to a hospital with a specialist hospital or unit such as Great Ormond Street which is one of 30+ children’s hospitals in the UK.
If you need help and advice about your treatment in hospital, contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) for the individual hospital.
What is the specialist nutrition and dietetic service?
The Nutrition & Dietetics team at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) provide tailored nutrition and dietetic advice to people aged 16 years and over.
They support them to improve their health by making the appropriate lifestyle and food choices. The team also provides assessment and treatment for those who need therapeutic diets and/or nutritional support. The wide range of the services they offer include the following:
- Nutritional support
- Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes
- Gastroenterology conditions
- Mental health problems
- Specialist home enteral feeding
They provide services in a variety of settings including GP practices, health centres, care homes, people's own homes, also on the phone or via the internet.
They also run a number of group sessions for patients, including:
- Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly diagnosed for those with Type 2 diabetes (DESMOND)
- Peterborough dose adjustment course (PDAC) for those with Type 1 diabetes
- iCAN course for those with diabetes to better understand carbohydrates
- Carbohydrate counting course for those with type 1 Diabetes
- FODMAP reintroduction groups
- Cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation groups.
In addition, the team gives talks and provides training to other health care professionals about diet, nutrition, and any related subjects, keeping up to date with the latest scientific research. Referrals can be made by GPs and other healthcare professionals. They look at all referrals to decide the most appropriate service for each one. The clinical bases are accessible to those with a disability.
Please ring the team before your appointment to discuss any requirements.
Improving the oral health of children and adults with disabilities
Some children and young people’s health needs mean that they struggle to access ordinary dental services. The special care dental service. provides a comprehensive range of activities to improve the oral health of children and adults who have a physical, sensory, intellectual mental, medical, emotional or social impairment or disability, which makes routine care in general dental practice unsuitable or impractical for their needs.
Patients are only accepted by the service by referral from your GP.
To find out more about the community dental care contact NHS England on 0300 311 2233. You can also call the NHS non-emergency number on 111.