This page includes information on a range of common concerns that parent carers may have about their child.
Some children may have difficulties with feeding from birth. It is common for children to present with a ranging feeding, eating, and drinking activities and Health Visitors can support you with infant feeding and weaning.
You can also find lots of useful advice on the Infant Feeding page of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Healthy Child Programme website.
If you have concerns then talk with your child’s GP, health visitor or paediatrician. Young people can seek their own referrals over the age of 17 or 18 through their GP. Those who need specialist services may be referred to Dietetics, Nutrition, and to services for specialist equipment and other related support.
If your child's eating and drinking suddenly stops, or becomes very restricted, please seek medical advice from NHS 111 or your GP to ensure they are safe and well.
Eating disorders are mental health conditions where food is often used to cope with feelings and situations. Eating behaviours can be unhealthy and may include eating too much or not enough and being overly concerned about weight and body image.
Eating disorders can affect anyone at any age, but are most common in teenagers between 13 and 17.
The most common types of eating disorder are Anorexia Nervosa (AN), Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder (BED).
Other eating disorders are other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED) and avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) which can be experienced by some children/young people with Autism. Below are links to some useful websites.
The SUN network has produced a useful leaflet.
Are you caring for a loved one with an eating disorder? is useful for parent/carers to help care for someone with eating challenges.
Health services for children with sensory impairment are provided at the Child Development Centre by a team of Community Paediatricians, Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Physiotherapists.
These specialist services work closely with the eye (Ophthalmology) and hearing (Audiology) services in the hospital as well as the sensory impairment service provided by the local authority as part of the SENI (Special Educational Needs and Inclusion) team.
The Paediatric Audiology Service at North-West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust (NWFAT) provides hearing assessment and advice for children for whom there is concern about hearing. They assess children aged 9 months old to 16 years old and will require a referral from your child’s GP, health visitor, school, paediatrician or speech therapist.
For those who are 16 years or older, the GP can assess and refer to services as needed.
More detailed information can be found on our Sensory Impairment page
The CAMH neurodevelopmental service works with school aged youngsters, their families, and professionals where there is already a diagnosis of neurodevelopmental conditions.
The service can provide assessments for Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They work with school aged youngsters, their families and professionals where there is already a diagnosis of Autism, ADHD and/or learning disability.
There is no set age for when to stop using nappies, but children usually show signs they are ready to use a toilet or a potty between 18 months and 3 years.
Talk to your child. Communicate and educate, notice the signs of needing the toilet, keeping dry day and night.
Some children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, however, may have continued difficulties with continence issues such as, but not limited to, constipation, daytime wetting, and night-time wetting.
You can find more details on these subjects on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Healthy Child programme website.
If your child is over 4, and has additional needs that means it is taking more time for them to achieve continence, your health visitor or school nurse can request continence products (pads/nappies) from the service which is provided by CPFT and Essity.
You can telephone 0300 029 50 50 or text 07520 649887 to start a conversation with a professional in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Health Visiting and School Nursing Services team who will be able to offer further advice and support.
Is puberty different for young people with special needs?
Although many young people with special needs experience delays in achieving developmental milestones, puberty usually occurs at the same age and involves the same changes as typically developing children.
Common concerns of parents and carers of children with special needs
It is normal for all parents to feel anxious about this stage of their child’s development.
Parents may worry about hygiene, period management, emotional meltdowns, emerging sexuality, masturbation and inappropriate touching of others. They may also have fears about the increased risk of sexual abuse and the possibility of casual sexual relationships, pregnancy and STIs.
Parents may also be concerned about how their child will cope emotionally with puberty changes and their emerging sexuality, now and in the future.
Parents and young people can request support from their local GP or the local NHS icash service.
If your child’s heath needs mean that your home needs to be adapted, then there is help available.
There are practical steps you can take to help you remain in control and a lot of different equipment and daily living aids that you can purchase yourself without needing to have an assessment.
Find out more on our Equipment, Adaptations and Occupational Therapy page or download, complete and return the Children's Occupational Therapy Referral Form which you can find on the Social Care and Early Help page for an occupational therapy assessment of your child's needs.
The wheelchair service is for residents currently registered with a GP in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS CCG areas, and who meet the NHS Eligibility criteria for the provision of wheelchairs.
AJM Healthcare is the appointed NHS Wheelchair Service Provider. The service will provide you with all NHS wheelchair services, including:
- clinical assessments
- specialist seating
- repairs and maintenance
- collection when the wheelchair is no longer required
Support is available for anyone with a drink or drug problem.
If you need help your GP is a good place to start. They can discuss your problems with you and get you into treatment. You can call your GP practice as usual for an appointment.
Help from the NHS
The Clinical Commissioning Group website has lots of information that can help.
Help is available through telephone helplines from the organisations below.
Drinkline provides free advice and support, on 0300 123 1110
FRANK provides free information and advice on drugs, and information on where to get help, on 0300 123 6600
the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) helpline, if there are worries about a child or young person, on 0808 800 5000
The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa), on 0800 358 3456
Childline provides advice for anyone under 19, on 0800 1111
Websites that have useful information are listed below.
Drink Less, which offers advice on cutting back on alcohol
FRANK, which offers information and advice on drugs and where to get help
Down Your Drink, which provides interactive web-based support to help people to drink more safely
Nacoa, which provides information, advice and support for anyone affected by a parent’s drinking
Childline online access to mutual support including: