Concerns about difficulties and additional needs may become apparent from a very early age or at any point in a child or young person’s life.
Medical needs may be identified from birth and picked up by hospital professionals while other developmental concerns may become apparent to parents or carers who then approach their GP (doctor), Health Visitor or educational setting for help.
After discussion with parents or carers about any concerns, a referral for assessment may be made by those concerned to a specific relevant professional or for a multi – disciplinary assessment.
If, following initial identification of need, support and review there remain ongoing concerns additional assessment and advice may be required. All requests for this, for all age groups, are made via the Referral to Universal Services Portal.
Any health service request is sent via the Single Point of Referral (SPR) at St Georges Hospital Child Development Centre and is then forwarded to the requested health service.
If the child is aged 0-5 years and their identified needs are more complex, requiring health and Early Years services, then the referral sent to SPR should request the Multi Agency Complex Needs Panel (MACNP). This is also the case for children aged up to 8 years with concerns indicating social communication needs.
If the child or young person attends school or college, the request may be sent directly to an additional service, for example the Schools and Community Psychology Service. Where appropriate, the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) of the school or setting should convene a Team Around the Child (TAC) meeting involving the parents or carers and child or young person in order to continue to plan and review the outcomes of the support being provided.
The school or educational setting should continue to use an ‘assess, plan, do review’ approach over time to continue their assessment, with the support of external professionals as appropriate and review the outcomes of the strategies and adaptations to teaching approaches put in place in order to address the child or young person’s needs.
Further description of the expectations of the nature and range of support that should be provided is given in Section 4 (Expectations of the graduated approach to SEN support in early years settings, school and colleges) of the SEND Handbook.