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Health Services from Birth to Adulthood

All children and young people's health needs will change as they grow up, but there are often additional challenges for children with special educational needs or disabilities. Learning about a new diagnosis can also be a challenging event for everyone in the family. 

This page will help you to find out what support is available at each stage of the process.


If you are pregnant you should be offered screening for genetic conditions such as Down's syndrome. Antenatal screening is a way of assessing the likelihood of your baby developing an abnormality during pregnancy.

A child’s special educational needs or disability may be apparent pre-birth, at birth, may emerge overtime or as a result of a significant event such as brain injury.

Under 5's

Every child under five has a named health visitor who can advise on everyday problems, such as teething, on immunisation programmes and on any special difficulties. In addition, they are there to help support the rest of the family providing advice on employment and benefits rights, childcare, talking to new fathers about their role.

The NHS have a website for parents of children from birth to five years with lots of useful guidance, visit the website to find out more information on

Older Children & Young Adults

Children with medical needs have the same rights of admission to schools as other children.

Schools are legally obliged to ensure that all children with health needs are properly supported in school and have full access to education, including school trips and PE.

There are resources on the NHS website for young people who are transitioning to Adult care services.

Receiving a diagnosis

If your child is diagnosed with a special educational need or disability, you should be offered counselling to allow you and your partner to discuss the impact of the diagnosis as well as information and support about the disability.

You should be given clear explanations about what is going to happen next and where to get further information and help.

Regardless of which professional person is involved first, you should be given information, as follows:

  • what could happen next – this should include who will make the diagnosis (if necessary), where and an indication of appropriate timescales
  • where to get more information about the disability or special educational need  including trusted and reliable websites (this could be the Local Offer, NHS Choices or charity)
  • the contact details of a professional to speak to who will be able to provide information about appropriate support
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