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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.

Children with longer-term special educational needs or disabilities may need more specialist help. You can ask for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment which could lead to your child getting an EHC plan. Your school or setting can request this, or you can request it yourself. If we decide to carry out an assessment, we will work closely with you, your child and the professionals involved. For more information, see the code of practice (PDF).

If your child needs an assessment, they may be referred to the child development team. This includes services such as:

  • paediatrics
  • physiotherapy
  • occupational therapy
  • psychology
  • dietetics
  • community nursing

Learning and development

If your child has significant learning and development needs, they may be referred to:

  • the early intervention support service which includes:
    • Pre-school specialist teachers and early years professionals. They can assess and monitor your child’s development and teach you to help your child make progress through play. You may be offered home visits or a place at one of their specialist stay and play groups. They can also advise you on education choices and support for your child
    • Early support key workers. They provide support to families with a baby or young child with more complex needs. They can ensure referrals have been made and offer advice on benefits
  • the Educational Psychology Service - an early years educational psychologist can assess your child’s learning and development and advise on your child’s education
  • multi-sensory impairment services - if your child has a hearing or vision impairment, they may be referred to specialist teachers who have training in these areas
  • speech and language services - if your child has speech, language or communication difficulties, and are under reception age, they may be referred to a speech therapist

Speech and language therapy drop-in sessions are run regularly in clinics and children’s centres in Enfield. You don’t need a referral or appointment to see a speech therapist for an initial assessment. You can just go to a drop-in session to see a therapist. If they feel your child needs extra help with language development, they will offer you help and advice. This usually means attending group sessions with a speech therapist. They might also suggest referrals to other specialist services for assessments. This will not be done without your permission. If your child is in school, you can speak to the special needs coordinator (SENCo) about how to access speech therapy.

Family support

Children's centres offer opportunities for children under five and their parents to learn, develop and have fun. They provide free courses, workshops and drop-in sessions, which offer advice and support on family services.

Our children's centres are:

  • DeBohun Hub
  • Hazelbury Hub

If you need more specialist support, you could be referred to:

Emotional support

You can get advice on emotional support from your GP or health visitor. You can also self-refer to Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) for counselling.

Speaking with other parents who have children with similar needs may be helpful and supportive. View a list of local organisations or visit Contact.


If your child has autism, you may be able to access:

  • MAPS (Making a Positive Start) parent training course
  • Early-Bird parent training
  • Parent Support Advisers who can advise on particular challenges you may be having with your child, for example, with eating, sleeping or toilet training

For more information, visit our autism in Enfield page.

There are different options available if you're looking for childcare or early education for your child with SEND. You have the same choices and opportunities for your child as other parents, including:

  • childminders
  • day care
  • playgroups
  • pre-school
  • nursery (school or private)

We sometimes refer to these as 'early years settings' and the people who run them as 'early years providers'. Visit the Family Information Directory to search for your childcare options.


There are lots of choices for early education and each will offer something different, so you can choose what best suits your child and family situation. You can find available child minders in your area and vacancies in local nurseries, playgroups and pre-schools, by contacting Early Education and Childcare. They can also tell you about funding available for early education and help you to apply.

Funding includes:

  • Terrific Twos - 15 hours early education for some two year olds who meet the criteria
  • free entitlement - 15 hours early education and childcare for all three and four year olds
  • 30 hours funding - 30 hours free childcare for some three and four year olds who meet the criteria
  • Disability Access Fund - an annual payment of £615. This can only be issued if you are receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for your child and they are claiming their funded early education entitlement. Four year olds in reception classes are not eligible. If you’re receiving DLA for your child, give a copy of your award letter to your setting and they will be able to claim the funding
  • Early Years Inclusion Fund - childminders, early years providers and school nurseries can apply for additional funding to support your child’s individual needs. This funding is only available to three and four year olds who have a funded place, and do not have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

Inclusion and achievement

All childminders and providers follow the early years foundation stage curriculum. It covers the learning and development of all children up to five years old, and promotes inclusion and achievement. Your child’s progress will be tracked and staff will work with you to plan individual targets and learn more about your child.

All providers of early education or childcare must promote equal opportunities for children with SEND so that they make the best possible progress. They must not discriminate and must make reasonable adjustments to include children with SEND. For more information, view the SEND code of practice (PDF).

Help for my child in an educational setting

Your child should have access to quality teaching, stimulating play experiences and interaction with other children. Staff follow an 'Assess-Plan-Do-Review'. This means they think about how to best teach your child new skills, plan their teaching activities in advance and monitor your child’s progress.

Your child may also benefit from:

  • SENCO - a special educational needs coordinator who can monitor and review your child’s progress during their time at the setting and liaise with other professionals involved. All Enfield settings can ask for advice from the Area SENCO, a senior specialist teacher with skills and knowledge in a wide range of different special educational needs  
  • an educational psychologist - referrals can be made to an educational psychologist with your permission
  • other professionals - settings can ask other professionals who already know your child to share knowledge and offer specialist advice. They can also make referrals to other services with your permission

Choosing a school for your child can feel like a big decision. You can research schools online or by talking to friends, viewing OFSTED reports and talking to professionals who know your child.

Your options could include:

The needs of your child may be met in a mainstream school. You can find out about schools and how to apply for a school place, by visiting school admissions.

Most schools have open days, talks or tours during the autumn term where you can visit the school before applying. You can see the facilities, meet the staff and ask any questions. Every school must have a SEND information report on their website which details how they support children with SEND. We advise you to read this before you visit.

You can also contact the school directly and ask to meet with the SENCO. It is important the school knows about your child’s needs in advance so they can make your child’s settling in period as smooth and as positive as possible.

Further advice

Every Parent and Child is a charity in Enfield that provides the Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS). They offer independent advice and guidance on a range of school based inclusion issues.

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.

Sensory impairments, such as a visual or hearing impairment, have different levels of severity. Discovering your child has a sensory impairment can be a lonely time and we hope that the information below will provide you with some help and support. 

Our sensory impairment team provides assessment, information and advice to families and children of all ages following a needs assessment. Training and equipment depends on the age of your child, however for very young children the service mostly involves registration and signposting to supporting organisations.

For more information, see our factsheets for hearing impairment (PDF) and blind or partially sighted (PDF) services. You can also email hiteam@haringey.gov.uk, or contact them on 020 8379 1001 (textphone: 020 8379 6962).

If your child is under five and has complex disabilities, health and learning needs you may be entitled to support from a Keyworker in the early intervention and support team. The service is designed to support children and young people living in Enfield who require involvement from a large number of different agencies. 

For help with transport, Transport for London offer information and assistance for people with sensory impairments.  

Visual impairment

There are a number of organisations that can provide you with advice and support: 


Informed Families can help you to search for childminders, pre-schools and playgroups near to where you live. You may also be eligible for free childcare via the Terrific Twos if your child receives the Disability Living Allowance or they have a Statement of Special Educational Need or an Education, Health and Care Plan


Children and young people with a visual impairment who attend an Enfield School are supported by the outreach service from Joseph Clarke School (PDF)

There are a number of ways that children and young people with visual impairment can be supported to be at school, such as:

  • having the lighting and environment adapted to by using yellow tape to mark hazards such as steps and changes in levels
  • using talking keyboards or big keys keyboard
  • software packages

This information has been co-produced with parents of children and young people with sensory needs. 

Hearing impairment

There are a number of organisations that can provide you with advice and support: 


Informed Families can help you to search for childminders, pre-schools and playgroups near to where you live. You may also be eligible for free childcare via the Terrific Twos if your child receives the Disability Living Allowance or they have a Statement of Special Educational Need or an Education, Health and Care Plan


Some specialist schools provide training for parents in British Sign Language at no cost.

Children and Young People who have a hearing impairment and attend an Enfield School have access to a specialist speech and language therapist to support deaf children through the Sensory Support Service (PDF). The service provides information, advice and support regarding educational management and all aspects of hearing impairment. This could include language and communication, listening equipment and social and emotional wellbeing.

They work closely with babies, children, young people, families, carers, staff in educational settings, and key professionals in the NHS and social care. The support offered ranges from weekly to occasional visits throughout the year. The team offers visits to pre-school children and their families or carers at home, their local children’s centre or another place of their choice.

All primary, special and secondary schools in Enfield have an allocated advisory teacher who will meet regularly with the SENCo to manage a caseload of identified children. Parents can access support by contacting the service or asking the SENCo in their child’s setting to contact us.

The service uses the National Sensory Impairment Partnership to decide on initial support levels for each individual family. The level of support is reviewed and adjusted regularly in consultation with the advisory teacher of the deaf, families, carers and other professionals.

For more information, email hiteam@haringey.gov.uk or contact them on 020 8489 8338.

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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