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Worries about your child's health and development

If you're worried about your child, you should speak to someone about your concerns. Though all children develop at a different rate, speak to a professional if you feel that there may be a problem.

For more information, see our health and development leaflet (PDF).

Child development team

The child development team includes many services, such as:

Most babies and young children make progress and learn new skills as expected, but some need extra help.

If the hospital thinks your baby could have development needs in the future, they may refer you to local services in Enfield. You can ask your health visitor to check if these referrals have been made.

You may not be aware your child has development problems until they start to grow. This may be concerns about them not sitting up, walking or talking at the expected age.

If you're worried about your child's development, you should speak to your health visitor. To find your health visitor, contact your GP or visit Barnet, Enfield and Haringey NHS. You can also speak to your GP, a children's centre outreach worker or the special needs coordinator (SENCo) at your child's nursery, school or playgroup.

Often just getting advice and reassurance from a professional can help with your concerns. All professionals will want to work with you. You are the expert on your child and they will want to hear your views and share their expertise to secure the best possible outcomes for your child.

The Enfield Advisory Service for Autism (EASA) multi-professional team provides comprehensive advise, guidance and training for those working with or caring for children and young people with autism. This includes training, support, workshops and further advice for parents and carers and a range of useful links and resources. You can read their latest newsletter (PDF).

This is a short film which tells the story of a few Enfield families on their journey from diagnosis to independence.

My child of young person might have autism

If you are concerned that your child is showing symptoms of an autism spectrum disorder it is important to know what to do next.

A referral should be made by the professional or person who holds the most information about the child or young person's needs.

Under six

If your child is under six, they will be assessed by the Child Development Team (CDT) which is a multi-disciplinary team based in Community Pediatrics at Cedar House. Anyone can make a referral, the most common referrers are:

  • Your child's Health Visitor
  • Your child's Speech and Language Therapist
  • The Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) at your child's school or nursery
  • Your child's Doctor or GP

You can refer your child directly to the CDT, although it is always helpful to have information from the professionals involved with your child. Find out more about the referral criteria.

Once your child has received a diagnosis from the Enfield Child Development Team (CDT) you will be invited to a series of parent information sessions called Making a Positive Start (MAPS). MAPS is a series of four weekly sessions for parents or carers of children under six, recently diagnosed with autism and living in Enfield. The sessions are run by representatives from Enfield Speech and Language, Educational Psychology, Occupational Therapy and the National Autistic Society.

Over six

Autism Spectrum assessment for children and young people over the age of six is undertaken by the Enfield Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) multi-disciplinary team. At present, CAMHS do not accept direct referrals from parents, carers or young people. Referrals are usually made by the child's educational setting or from a professional already involved.

CAMHS may liaise with the CDT team where there is concern over a child or young person's global development.

Cygnet parent information sessions involve five, core, weekly sessions to parents and carers who have a child or young person aged between 6 and 18 years, with a diagnosis of autism, living in Enfield and still in education. There are additional sessions on sibling relationships as well as puberty, sexual wellbeing and relationships. Cygnet sessions are run by Educational Psychologists and Parent Support Advisors who work in the Enfield Advisory Service for Autism (EASA).

You can book your place by downloading the application form on the EASA website.

Understanding autism - All About Me is a short intervention designed for positively disclosing and explaining their autism diagnosis to individual children and young people. Peer awareness can be built on the individual work with your child or young person. If they are struggling with their diagnosis, other therapeutically informed approaches may help.

Toolkit and resources

Children with Down Syndrome follow a specified pathway from birth through to school age. Families and children will be supported on a regular basis through this journey by a range of professionals.

Cheviots Specialist Children's Centre run a weekly group called Down Town during term time. Each week the children enjoy the communication sessions with a specialist. This supports the development of early communication skills, signing, building facial muscles and encouraging reading. The group provides an opportunity for parents to share information, and build networks. Brothers and sisters can also attend.

For more information about Down Town, email cheviots@enfield.gov.uk or contact the team on 020 8363 4047. You can also contact the child development team on 020 8375 2979 or visit the Down's Syndrome Association.

Referrals can be made by GPs, therapists, Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) and health visitors. The assessment process can take up to ten months, depending on the type of assessment needed. For general paediatric assessments, appointments are likely to be within six months.

Referral criteria for children under six

Children must live in Enfield and have had an assessment by their health visitor. Their developmental problem must require assessment in at least two of the following:

  • communication
  • feeding
  • behavioural
  • motor
  • vision
  • learning
  • hearing
  • developmental delay

Or one of the following:

  • isolated significant motor difficulty
  • a newborn born at less than 26 weeks
  • a newborn with existing or a high likelihood of developing neurodevelopmental problems

Referral criteria for children over six

Children must live in Enfield, attend a special school, and have complex needs where input from two therapies is needed. They must also have significant motor problems with suspected neurological cause and be referred via a paediatric physiotherapist, GP or paediatrician.

We can conduct a neurological assessment of children with oromotor difficulties if requested by a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT). We can also follow up with children who have severe brain injuries.

Requests for individual therapies such as physiotherapy should be sent to those departments directly.

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