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Concerns at birth or during pregnancy

Sometimes it is clear that a child has a disability or additional needs before, or at birth. This section explains the help and support that is available to you in Gateshead if this happens.

The NHS website provides information on serious conditions and additional needs in children, including screening tests carried out during pregnancy and birth and tips on caring for a disabled child and for children with complex needs.  

Who can help me if something isn't right?

In Gateshead, the first point of contact is likely to be a midwife, health visitor, a children's community nurse or a specialist health practitioner. Around this time you may be put in touch with a number of other support services and people who can help you. This may include:

Gateshead Council's Early Years (0-4) Assessment and Intervention Team (EYAIT)

A team working in early years settings like nurseries to ensure children with additional needs from birth to 4 years are given the right support to enable their development and learning.

An Early Years SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator)

A person who will ensure a child is fully included within their setting i.e. nursery to enable their development and learning.

Portage Service

Gateshead Council's Portage Service is a home-visiting educational service for pre-school children with additional support needs and disabilities and their families, which is certified and registered with the National Portage Association. The service works with parents and other services to support and encourage the development of young children's play, communication, independence and social skills.

Gateshead Council's Children with Disabilities Team

A team of social workers providing emotional and practical support to parents and carers to meet the needs of children from birth to 17 years who have substantial, long term disabilities. They can help you access the support you need as a carer, as well as the support your child needs. Contact the SEND Team using the details below.

Children's Community Nurse or Specialist Health practitioner

Children's community nurses work with children with additional nursing needs and/or disabilities from birth to 19 years in special educational settings. They also carry out assessments relating to a child's 'Continuing Care' health needs and these services may be provided at home, school and short break facilities. A specialist health practitioner works with other health services to support families of children with additional support needs.

Childrens Centres

Gateshead Children's Centres provide support, advice and activities for families with children under the age of 5 years. Membership at children's centres is free and enables families to access a wide range of services and the chance to meet and socialise with other families and children.

More information: Gateshead Children's Centres

Hungry Little Minds

Programme encouraging parents and carers to adopt positive attitudes and behaviours to boost children's communication, language and literacy development, to help enable children to develop to their maximum potential. 

More information: Hungry Little Minds

Independent charities and voluntary and community organisations

There are many local, regional and national charities and organisations that provide help and support for parents and carers of children with disabilities and additional needs. You can find more information on the Our Gateshead website and at Contact.

NHS Little Orange Book

The Little Orange Book contains tips and advice on how to manage common illnesses and problems that babies and young children often experience in the first 5 years of their lives. It also has more information on more serious conditions, what to look out for and how to get help.   

More information: Little Orange Book

Family Information Directory

The Gateshead Council Family Information Directory has a Local Offer section which holds information about the advice, support and services available for parents with children with special educational needs or disabilities in Gateshead. You can also find information about childcare and activities for families with young children.  

Contact us

Special Educational Needs and Disability Team
Gateshead Council

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For further help and information visit the Learning Disability Matters website


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