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Other Professionals

Audiologist: An audiologist carries out hearing tests and explains the results of those tests. If your child needs hearing aids they will identify the best type and arrange to get them for you. They also monitor your child’s hearing, to make sure that any hearing aids supplied are appropriate.

Community nurses: Community nurses are based at a local GP’s surgery. They can give advice and training to parents and pre-school groups on administering epi-pens (for severe allergic reactions) rectal valium (epilepsy) and other medical issues.

Duty social worker: A duty social worker is a person who deals with telephone calls and takes details when you ring to make contact with social services.

Educational psychologist: An educational psychologist is concerned with helping children or young people who are experiencing problems within an educational setting with the aim of enhancing their learning. Challenges may include social or emotional problems or learning difficulties. Work is with individual clients or groups, advising teachers, parents, social workers and other professionals.

Health visitors: Health visitors are responsible for pre-school aged children and all children with disabilities. A few health visitors do pre-school screening or developmental tests. Some will visit early years settings and discuss individual children (with parental permission). They are often an informal point of 2 contact for a parent who has a concern about their child and can be accessed through their local GP or clinic.

Learning disability nurses: Learning disability nurses are specialist nurses who work with children and adults with a learning disability and with their families. They can help you find services for your child and also support for you as a parent.

Occupational therapist: An occupational therapist (OT) helps children with difficulties they have in carrying out the activities of everyday life. This could include sitting in a chair, holding a spoon or fork or drinking from a cup. They can also advise on how you, as a parent, can carry your child up and down stairs safely. OTs work for both health and social services and assess children for things like specialist seating and equipment that may be supplied.

Outreach service: Some early years centres, special schools and Portage services offer a SEN outreach service to preschool groups. Individual children can be discussed with their parents’ permission. Advice can be given on setting IEPs or in accommodating the child within the group.

Paediatric neurologist: A paediatric neurologist is a doctor who specialises in how the brain works in very young children.

Paediatrician: A Paediatrician is a doctor who specialises in working with babies and children. They are often the first point of contact for families who find out their child has an impairment or disability very early on in hospital. They can offer advice, information and support about any medical condition a child has. It is usually a Paediatrician who refers your child to any other specialists they need to see.

SENDiass: Cornwall Special Educational Needs Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDiass) provides information, advice, support and training for young people and parents and carers of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (age 0-25). They provide independent advice and support for parents and carers to help them understand special educational needs and the SEN Code of Practice including the EHCP (Education, Health & Care Plan) process and, sometimes by coming with you to meetings. The service is confidential, independent, impartial and free. See website:

Physiotherapist: A physiotherapist is a health professional specialising in physical and motor development. They will assess your child and develop a plan that might include helping with head control, sitting, rolling, 3 crawling and walking. They can also advise you on how to handle your child at home for feeding, bathing and dressing and advise on equipment that might help your child’s mobility.

Social worker: A social worker is a professional who supports children and families by advising on appropriate services. They are normally employed by the local authority and can provide practical advice about counselling, transport, home helps and other services. They may also be able to help you with claiming benefits or obtaining equipment you need at home.

Speech and language therapists: A speech and language therapist specialises primarily in language, communication and speech problems and in some circumstances, may also offer support with feeding problems. They assess, diagnose and develop programmes to help children develop communication skills. This may include verbal (i.e. using speech) or non-verbal, using signs, symbols or communication aids. They work closely with families and the settings children attend depending upon the child’s needs and circumstances. Often the best way for a speech therapist to work is by assessing the child’s needs and developing a programme that is then carried out in the child’s setting or home. This allows for more opportunity to practice their skills in a natural and relaxed environment. This programme will be regularly reviewed by the speech and language therapist.