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:

A Key Supporter

Key supporters are trained volunteers or workers who have experience of children with additional needs and could be a parent themselves. They help ensure children with additional needs get the right level of support from services. Usually only children and young people with an Education, Health and Care Plan (sometimes called a Single Plan in Gateshead) will have a key supporter. Contact the SEND Team for more information using the details below.

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 Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Team

A team of social workers work as part of this team offering 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.

Parents in Power (Parent-Carer Forum)

Parents In Power is your local parent-carer forum which provides help and support to parents/carers of children with disabilities to work in partnership with Gateshead Council, NHS and PCT in meaningful participation. They aim to collectively improve and develop services for disabled children and their families. For more information Tel: 0191 490 1032 or visit the Parents in Power website.

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 Icon for pdf in this booklet [597.65KB], on the Our Gateshead website and at Contact a Family.

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.   

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.

Information booklet: children aged 0-5

This Icon for pdf information booklet for parents and carers of children aged 0-5 [1.05MB] with SEN or disabilities contains useful information about the services, processes and people you may come across at this stage.  

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