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You are here: Home > Your visit > Patient leaflets > Paediatrics > Cheyne Child Development: while you wait leaflet - Pre-School Age (Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster children)

Cheyne Child Development: while you wait leaflet - Pre-School Age (Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster children)

This information has been developed for parents and carers of children awaiting an multidisciplinary social communication assessment.

We have put together some information for you to support your child’s development while you wait.

There are many things that parents and carers can be doing to help support their child’s development and many resources available for children and their families.

Why your child has been accepted for a multidisciplinary social communication assessment

  • Parents may have asked for the referral following concerns of their child’s development including  some  questioning if their child`s has autism
  • Communication: Some children are referred because they have difficulties with their speech and language or other aspects of their communication. For example, they may be delayed in learning to speak, or may not use non-verbal gestures.
  • Social Interaction: Children are often referred because of difficulties interacting with others. They may find it difficult to make friends or engage in social conversations, they may misunderstand social cues, or may appear uncomfortable, awkward or anxious in social situations.
  • Other behaviours: Children may be referred because they show certain behaviours or interests. They may flap their hands, have unusual interests, or want to follow certain routines. Others have sensory difficulties and are over-sensitive to sounds, smells or textures.
  • Concerns by professionals including speech therapists, health visitors, nursery and school staffof your child’s delayed development and or related difficulties – sometimes questioning if these might be explained by a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder

Expected outcomes of assessment 

  • Getting a diagnosis for a child can be helpful, as it enables parents, as well as others, to understand and support your child better. 
  • Documentation from your child’s assessment should include explanation of  your child’s individual strengths and difficulties
  • The assessment will aim to advice on the support  your child might need to help them achieve their maximum potential
  • Possible outcome of assessment might include a diagnosis of, Autism spectrum disorder ( ASD), developmental delay or a specific language difficulty
  • You may find it helpful to read about autism spectrum disorder or other difficulties that your child is experiencing (see information section below). 

Signs of autism in children

NHS website: Click here

What is autism

National autistic society: Click here

Developmental language disorder

Developmental Language Disorder (ican.org.uk): Click here

What you can do whilst waiting for assessment

  • Access a nursery or school place for your child
  • Access support from speech and language therapy assessment – please see additional information under communication websites towards the end of this document 
  • Encouraging you child’s play skills under the section on SEND/Health/Speech and Language therapy. You can also look at the website: https://hungrylittleminds.campaign.gov.uk/ which has lots of ideas/activities to support play and communication
  • Accessing support for your child’s individual needs, including behaviour, sleep, feeding, and toileting, advice. We have included some advice in this booklet and would suggest for you to look at this before discussing any further support with the team at your child’s assessment
  • Before your child’s assessment you will be offered contact from the specialist nursing team, if you need to contact them beforehand then please email or call 0203 315 3121
  • You can access support from your local Early intervention social care team, Cheyne specialist nurses can help with this:  or call 0203 315 6470

Benefits of nursery or school before assessment 

  • Accessing nursery placement will help provide your child with additional play opportunities including access to indoor and outdoor activities.
  • Nursery provides a routine and structure to your child’s day. This routine should help your child feel more confident and secure, in control of their feelings and is great preparation for school readiness.
  • Attending nursery provides ongoing evidence of your child’s strengths, progress, and challenges in areas they may need support with.
  • Nursery will help with your child’ social communication assessment –including additional reports on their progress and interaction with children of similar age.

Accessing nursery or school placements

  • 2 year old offer: some children will qualify for 15 hours free nursery placement, for further information: https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/free-childcare-2-year-olds (see local SEND offer for list of available nurseries; you can also contact your Health visitor for support with this or the Cheyne specialist nursing team )
  • 3-4 year old offer: All parents / carers with a child aged 3-4 years are entitled to receive 15 hours (see local SEND offer for list of available nurseries)
  • School placement: mainstream and specialist –you will need to apply to your local education department by the 15th January to access placement for the following September (see local SEND offer for list of available schools)

Additional support in nursery and school

If you are concerned about your child’s progress at nursery or school, speak to their nursery key worker, or class teacher or the school/ nursery Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENDCO). You might want to ask them the following questions:

  • What progress is your child making?
  • What support is being put in place for your child?
  • How will your child’s progress be monitored/what are their targets?
  • What will be done if your child does not make progress?
  • They may also be able to advise you on what approaches they have found useful at nursery or school, which you can try at home.
  • If for some reason you or your child’s nursery or school , feels your child might need additional support to access education then you can access further information from the SEND local offer or Cheyne specialist nurse team,

Support with behaviour

If you are struggling with your child’s behaviour or other specific issues: Speak to your Health visitor or contact the Cheyne specialist nursing team . We would advise for:

Sleep Advice 

We understand how difficult life can be when your child has a sleep issue and how there are many factors which can be can affect children’s sleep. We would advise you to access advice sleep guidance whilst you are waiting for assessment.

Further support can be discussed at your child’s assessment. Please see the following links:

Support with Feeding Concerns 

  • If you have concerns for your child’s growth we would advice for you to access support from your child’s health visitor for weight and height measurement and discussion of further support as required
  • If you have concerns your child is a very fussy eater and their diet is often restricted to certain foods, then you can access advice from the infant and toddler forum – with further support discussed at your child’s assessment: https://infantandtoddlerforum.org/health-and-childcare-professionals/factsheets/

Toileting Advice 

  • Toileting- we would advice you to access advice from the following Eric – website – with further support discussed at you child’s assessment https://www.eric.org.uk/potty-training-children-with-additional-needs
  • If your child is aged 4 plus and not yet fully toilet trained, contact your child’s Health visitor or specialist Cheyne specialist nurse, –you should be eligible for support with free nappies until your child is successfully toilet trained  

SEND Local Offer 

Each local council has a SEND Offer for children with disabilities and complex health needs. The local offer aims to bring together useful information across education, health and social care within one website 

Look on your council’s Local SEND Offer website to find out what other support or services are available locally. Many services are inclusive and do not require a diagnosis to be able to access them. 

Local Services: Kensington and Chelsea

Kensington and Chelsea residents: www.rbkc.gov.uk/localoffer

Kensington and Chelsea Social Care Disabled Children’s Service

Support from Kensington and Chelsea Disabled Children’s Service is provided by the Social Work Team and the Early Intervention & Support Team.

The Early Intervention & Support Team

This team can support families with children aged 0- their 5th birthday.

  • To receive support from this team the child must have a diagnosis or been referred to the Child Development clinics with a likelihood of a diagnosis.
  • Once the referral has been accepted, the Practitioner will visit to look at the families needs.
  • They will have a range of Interventions and to offer to the family. These include support with Autism Spectrum Disorder awareness, Fussy Eating support, Sleep and behavioural advice, Health and Safety in the home, support with accessing nursery or school and many more. To access the team contact Cheyne specialist nursing team email or contact number 0203 315 6470

St Quintin’s Disabled Children’s Centre

A specialist play service for children with a disability or known to Cheyne Child Development service -see local SEND offer or contact 0208 969 2570 or contact the Early Intervention and Support team.

Full of Life

Full of Life provides free practical independent advice and support to parents and carers including on benefits and advice and support with accessing information on a range of services including access to education, advice and access to parent/carer groups. See local offer SEND for access           

Local Services: Westminster 

Westminster residents:

https://fisd.westminster.gov.uk/kb5/westminster/fis/localoffer.page?localofferchannel=0

For more info search “SEND Local Offer Westminster” in your internet search enginehttps://fisd.westminster.gov.uk/kb5/westminster/fis/localoffer.page?localofferchannel=0

Westminster Social Care Disabled Children’s Service

Support from Kensington and Chelsea Disabled Children’s Service is provided by the Social Work Team, and the Early Intervention & Support Team

The Early Intervention & Support Team 

  • This team will support families with children aged 0- their 5th birthday .
  • To receive support from this team the child must have a Diagnosis, or been referred to the Child Development clinics with a likelihood of a Diagnosis.
  • Once the referral has been accepted, the Practitioner will visit to look at the families needs.
  • They will have a range of Interventions and to offer to the family. These include support with Autism Spectrum Disorder awareness, Fussy Eating support, Sleep and behavioural advice, and Health and Safety in the home, support with accessing nursery or school and many more
  • To access the team contact Cheyne specialist nursing team email or contact number 0203 315 6470

Make it Happen 

This is a local group for parents and is supported by volunteers working together to help improve services in Westminster. All our members have an understanding of different forms of care within a wide range of disabilities and offer advice to parent  and access to parent groups and news letters to help keep parents informed of local services.

Tresham Family Centre

27 Tresham Crescent, London NW8 8TW 

Including a new sensory room and soft play area for children with a disability or known to Cheyne Child Development service. To access see local SEND offer or contact 0207 641 1553

Communication websites 

Helpful organisations

National Autistic Society (NAS)

Toilet Training a Guide for Parents and Carers: www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/topics/behaviour/toileting/parents

ERIC

ERIC is the children’s bowel and bladder charity and offers advice, parent workshops and a helpline to support toileting in children.

  • T: 0808 169 9949

Contact a family

They offer practical information and resources about support for families who have a child with a disability

Ambitious about Autism

The national charity for children and young people with autism. Their parent hub provides practical information and resources about ASD. They also have an online community for adults with autism, parents and professionals.

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation

A charity for people with severe learning disabilities and challenging behaviour. They offer information about challenging behaviour both online and over the phone or email.

Accessing support for yourself 

We appreciate that waiting for your child’s assessment can be a stressful time. It is very important that you try to seek support from friends and family whilst waiting for your child’s assessment

If you are more isolated and do not have a supportive social network, there are other services available that can provide support.

You might benefit from accessing a parent carer forum group - they offer regular meetings and individual support:
  • Full of Life for Kensington and Chelsea, 0208 962 9994  
  • Make it Happen for Westminster, 07376 777 205
If you are really struggling to manage your feelings or feeling very low, it is important that you speak to your GP, or your child’s Health visitor, about how you are feeling. They may be able to refer you to counselling services.

Any further questions?

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions or concerns.

For questions about your appointment or waiting time: contact the social communication appointments coordinator on 0203 315 3121

For questions about the assessment, and resources whilst you wait email the specialist community nursing team 

Preparing for the assessment 

  • We understand that bringing a child for an assessment can be an anxious time for parents. We recommend that both parents attend the assessment where possible. If this is not possible, you are very welcome to bring a friend or relative to support you. 
  • We might send pre assessment questionnaires to completed by parents or carers  – normally questions about their health and development history, so that you and the team are better prepared.
  • The assessment involves detailed interviews with you as the child’s parent or carer, concentrating on the child’s early development , current behaviour and direct play assessment with your child, as well as collecting information from nursery or school 
  • We will ask for a nursery or school functioning questionnaire to be completed shortly before or after the assessment especially of their interaction with children of similar age. 
  • It is helpful for you to bring your Child’s Red book (child health records) so that we can see information on their growth and immunisation history.  
  • We advise for you to bring a drink and snack for your child as some appointments will be 1-2 hours; a favourite toy might also be helpful 
  • Another common question asked by parents is how to prepare their child. This will vary depending on the age of your child- however for young children the assessment is very much play based so hopefully they will enjoy their experience. 

Contact Details 

Cheyne Address

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital (main location)

The Cheyne Child Development Service

Doughty House, 369 Fulham Road

London, SW10 9NH

T: 0203 315 3121

Parkview Centre for Health & Wellbeing

The Cheyne Child Development Service

Cranston Court

56 Bloemfontein Road

White City, London W12 7FG

T: 0203 704 6060

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