Assessment by the Children's Disability Service
If you have any concerns about your child’s development, your first port of call should be your health visitor, your child’s teacher or your GP. They may be able to reassure you or arrange some support for your child in the community.
Parents and carers can ask any professional who knows their child to complete a referral form and send it to the Specialist Community Disability Service. Parents and carers are also welcome to contact the team directly for more information.
When a child is referred the first thing we try to do is to get as much information as possible about them – what they are good at, what they find difficult - so we can make sure that we offer them the most appropriate support. We may write to your child’s school, health visitor or any other professional involved with your child or ask you to give us more information.
It may be that we feel we are not the best people to help your child. If this is the case we will let you and the person who made the referral know. We will suggest other more suitable services to refer to.
The referrals panel
Once we have all the information we need, your child’s referral will be discussed at in a team meeting that includes a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist, social care representative and a paediatrician. They will decide together how we will assess your child, which may be in a variety of ways.
We will always let you know as soon as a decision is made as to how we plan to assess your child’s needs.
The referrals panel may decide that only one member of the team needs to see your child, for example a physiotherapist, paediatrician or a member of the Brighton and Hove Inclusion Support Service (BHISS). Alternatively, your child might be assessed in a multidisciplinary clinic, where they will be seen by several professionals at the same appointment, or perhaps your child may be seen in their school or nursery setting before other appointments are offered. We describe this process and plan as the Integrated Care Pathway, which is how we assess and review your child's needs.
Sometimes you may be seen by one professional who then decides the expertise of others is needed to inform your child’s assessment.
Sometimes an assessment will result in a diagnosis of your child’s difficulties, but for others this is not possible. Not having a diagnosis should not prevent your child getting the support they need. Amaze has some useful advice about getting or not getting a diagnosis on their website.
Referrals and assessments for autism
There is a specific referral and assessment pathway for children, where there is concern that they may have an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC). This assessment may take different forms and involve different professionals from the multidisciplinary team. Further information is available upon request - see contact details below.
How long does it take to get an assessment?
It is not always possible to say how long your child will wait for an assessment as this depends on the type of assessment your child needs. Our aim is that children will begin their assessment within 18 weeks of a referral, although many children are seen much more quickly. For some services, however, there is a longer wait. If this is the case, you will be advised of this as early as possible.
Specialist Community Disability Service
Phone 01273 295550