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Needs Led Neurodevelopmental Pathway

This page provides more information for young people, families and professionals about our needs led approach, the assessment diagnostic process and the support available before, during and after assessment.

Across Darlington, we have a ‘needs led’ neurodevelopmental pathway as we want to make sure you and your child are supported as much as possible, if you or a professional thinks that your child has a neurodevelopmental need. These are needs which are associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

We have created a ‘bubble of support’ across your local area with many services which can offer advice, guidance or support. There is also a very active Parent Carer Forum which can offer peer support. Details of all the support available is listed below. There is also a comprehensive ‘virtual’ offer which provides alternative websites and support tips for you to try at home.

For a full downloadable description of the pathway, a guide has been written for parents by parents:

Darlington - Neurodevelopmental Pathway Guide for parents and carers

If you live in the Tees Valley, the Family Support Service, delivered by Daisy Chain, is here for you. The team supports children and young people aged 0-18 years and their families, no matter where they are on their Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing or Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) journey. This means that your child or young person does not need to have a diagnosis or be on the neurodevelopmental pathway to access support from the service. The Family Support team is here to listen to your concerns and offer support.

Click here to find out more about the Family Support Service.

Details of the family support service drop-in sessions for local families can be found here.

Please take time to look through the Self Help and Virtual Offer advice and guidance as there are various organisations, websites, and videos for you to access. All have been recommended by NHS England and the Regional Parent Carer Forum. Please take time to explore all the information provided, as there are a selection of strategies, activities, and webinars for you to access.

The SEND Local Offer is for families, children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities from birth to 25 years old. It provides local information, advice and support about education, health & social care. Each Local Authority have a local offer:

To access the local offer for Darlington Click Here

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation have made all their videos about managing behaviour that challenges available online. Please visit the following links to view these videos:

Video challenging behaviour
Challenging Behaviour Foundation
.

The Challenging Behaviour website also offers lots of helpful advice and guidance for parents, carers, and professionals.

Positive Behavioural Support (PBS) is an evidence-based approach which is recognised as best practice in supporting people with learning disabilities and behaviours that challenge. The overall goal is to improve a person’s quality of life and the lives of people around them and minimise the chances of behaviour that challenges happening in the first place.

The North East and Cumbria PBS Steering Group has worked with partners from across the health and care sector, including Northumbria University to develop a website which provides information and resources to support families around PBS on upcoming events, courses and latest news. For more information please visit here.

Below is the link to a short film created to showcase the co-production of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) training for parents of children with a learning disability, autism, or both. The project has been created by parents who work at Skills for People working alongside North East and Cumbria PBS Community of Practice. The film was made by Beacon Films and funded by an NHS England / NHS Improvement, sharing, and celebrating patient and public involvement in the Healthcare Community Grant.

The video (with subtitles) can be accessed here.

Returning to School: The following webinar, delivered by colleagues from NHS Cumbria, Northumberland & Wear (CNTW) and NHS Tees Esk & Wear Valley (TEWV) Foundation Trusts, provides families with support and strategies for managing behaviour and worry when returning to school.

Autism Central
This is a new programme, co-designed to provide high-quality and accessible autism information, education and coaching for families, and carers, and co-delivered by autistic people, families and carers. Autism Central has been commissioned by NHS England’s Workforce, Training and Education Team and is delivered nationally by nine not-for-profit organisations. 

Find out more about the project and apply here.

Understanding Autism
The following website can give everyone a better understanding of what autism is, for more information please visit here.

Transformed children centres in local authority areas ensure all families can access the support they need. The programmes will:

  • provide support to parents and carers so they are able to nurture their babies, children and young people, improving health and education outcomes for all
  • contribute to a reduction in inequalities in health and education outcomes for babies, children, young people and families across by ensuring that support provided is communicated to all parents and carers, including those who are hardest to reach and/or most in need of it
  • build the evidence base for what works when it comes to improving health and education outcomes for babies, children, young people and families in different delivery contexts

    For more information and how to access children centres in Darlington, please visit here.

The 0-19 Service is a team of specialist public health nurses that include health visitors and school nurses. The roles of this team are to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of children and young people aged from birth to 19 years old. More information can be found by visiting Darlington 0-19 team.

Parent Carer Forums work in partnership with Health and Social Care to ensure that the voices of parents and carers of children and young people are heard. The parent carer forums will also offer support, advice, and guidance to families with Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). To access your local parent carer forum please visit:

The Darlington Parent Carer Forum

To access regional parent carer forum information please visit here.

A child or young person has special educational needs if they have a learning problem or disability that make it more difficult for them to learn than most children their age. They may have problems with schoolwork, communication, or behaviour.

Parents can get Special Educational Needs (SEN) help and advice by visiting:

Darlington SENCO information

Education settings, health, and social care services, together with parents, carers and peers play a key role in supporting Children and Young People’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing and can have a significant impact on the overall experiences and life outcomes for our children. Very few children will need specialist intervention by a clinical service/mental health professional. Locally across Darlington, Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health support services are provided by the following. Please take your time to visit the following links to ensure you access the right support for your child, young person, and family. The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) across Darlington has a single point of access for referrals and self-referrals.

Single Point of Contact (SPOC) is a service available to anyone with concerns including parents, carers, school staff, health professionals and GPs, and children and young people worried about their own mental health. You will be able to chat with a mental health nurse about your worries and concerns and the nurse can then consider the most appropriate next steps to best support the child or young person. Help and support can come in many forms, including self-help guidance, signposting to appropriate support services in the voluntary and third party sectors, or referral into the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). For further information please visit Community mental health teams for children and young people in Darlington.

Mental Health Support in schools – can provide early support for children and young people (5-18 years) through education. Supporting schools, young people, and families, the mental health support in schools will target education settings across Darlington.

Please check the following link to see if your child’s school is involved Mental health support teams in schools

Further information for parents can be accessed by visiting here.

Young people can access this support through education and by contacting either Alliance or school’s mental health and wellbeing lead direct. Young people can self-refer via an online e-referral process and parent and carers can also refer on their behalf. A response is aimed for within 24 hours of referral being made. For further information and how to access use the following:

E-Referral or Instagram @alliancemhst

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Crisis Team – offer 24/7 support for children and young people in mental health crisis. Call 08000 516171 or visit the website at CAMHS crisis and liaison service.

MIND is a Mental Health charity in Darlington with the aim that everyone in the local area has good mental health. The charity works with all individuals across all communities to ensure they can access support to improve their emotional wellbeing. For further information please visit here.

The North East & North Cumbria Child Health & Wellbeing Network works to bring organisations together to design and deliver joined up services to provide improved outcomes for children and young people. For more information please visit here.

Below are a list of national resources and information for families to access:

This May Help – Children’s Mental Health Advice for Parents and Carers
This May Help, is a new national initiative providing mental health advice to parents and carers. This May Help is aimed at parents and carers who may have concerns about their child’s mental health and is part funded by the Quality Improvement Taskforce for Children and Young People’s Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism Inpatient Services.

The website gives easy-to-follow advice to help families manage their child’s mental health. This advice was developed by NHS professionals and parents who’ve been through their own child’s mental health journey. Parents and carers have shared advice that helped them and that may also help other families. Professionals who work with children and young people are also being encouraged to use the website.

The advice covered on This May Help includes, self-harm, gaming and online activity, teenagers’ safety, eating disorders, school avoidance, understanding mental health, understanding teenagers, online threats, building rapport, building resilience, building a support network, self-care tips, managing an emergency, managing in a crisis, and preparing for a children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) appointment.

These subjects were chosen by families and young people who have gone through their own mental health challenges. Gary Lineker, Myleene Klass, and Tanni Grey-Thompson are amongst 16 presenters featured in the films. Please click here to access more information.

Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families – provides research, developing clinical practice and policy and workforce development nationally, working to support families of children and young people with mental disorders and associated challenges by developing resilience and supporting to manage these challenges. Visit AnnaFreud website for further information.

Kooth is a free, online forum and counselling/mental health support for young people aged 11+. Visit Kooth to find out more. QWELL is a free, online and counselling/mental health support for adults. Visit Qwell to find out more.

Recovery College Online provides free resources to help support people struggling with mental health difficulties. Visit the recovery college online to find out more.

Childline – free, private, and confidential service where children can talk about anything. Visit Update from Childline

Shout 85258 – free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope. Visit here.

WeheartCBT – free CBT resources to help schools, parents and professionals support children with mental health difficulties. Visit here or on Twitter @WeHeartCBT

The Learning Disability Matters website for families has a range of resources to support family resilience and health and wellbeing of children and young people with a learning disability.

The Early Help team provide support to a family when a problem emerges, at any stage in a child or young person’s life, from the foundation years through to the teenage years. For more information visit:

Early Help for Darlington.

Early Years is a team of skilled and experienced specialist staff that provide specialist home support for very young children with complex needs. Find out more here.

The North East Autism Society (NEAS) is a registered charity that work together to inspire, support, celebrate and equip autistic and neurodivergent people to fulfil their potential in life. The organisation offers a wealth of knowledge to support families living with autism. 

For more information please visit North East Autism Society.

Carer support services provide a range of different services to help support adults, children and young people who are in a caring role. More information can be found by visiting the following links:

Support for young carers and young adult carers and/or support for adults

The Tees Valley Sleep service supports families who have a child with any additional needs by using a tiered approach offering support, resources, workshops and assessments.

For more information please visit Tees Valley Sleep Service

Independent travel training is tailored and practical help for people to travel by public transport, on foot or by bike. It aims to help children and young people travel independently and without fear so they can get to school or college, work and for social and leisure activities.

For Darlington, please visit here.

The Speech and Language Therapy service work with children and young people who have a speech, language and communication needs or difficulties with eating, drinking, and swallowing.

As well as working with children and young people the service also provide support to families and carers, teachers, and other adults around them. The service aims to develop their best possible communication skills, considering their individual abilities and needs.

Speech and Language Therapy in Darlington is provided by North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust Speech and language therapy for children.

Other speech, language and communication resources you might find useful:
South Tees Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Paediatric Speech & Language Therapy
South Tees NHS Speech Therapy YouTube channel
BBC website ‘Tiny Happy people’ 

Occupational Therapy offer a team of specialist therapists and assistant therapists to provide assessment, treatment and advice to children, young people, and their families in a range of locations including home, school or hospital clinics. The service will assess and treat children and young people who have long term health needs or problems with movement and co-ordination. The service will make sure your child reaches their potential and works alongside professionals involved with the child or young person to ensure a holistic approach to treatment and assessment.

In Darlington this service is provided by County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, further information can be found by visiting here.

Sensory ideas for the home

A recorded webinar has been developed by an Occupational Therapist to outline tips and guidance for supporting children and young people with sensory needs within the home.

Check out the following website for useful ideas, top tips and information for children's occupation therapy.

The Neurodevelopmental Pathway Team

A team has been developed specifically to co-ordinate the assessments and support which a child and their family might need whilst undergoing an assessment for ASD and ADHD. The service is provided by Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV) and is for children aged between 5 and 18 who are registered with a GP in Darlington.

The team aims to support young people, parents and carers as much as possible throughout their assessment process and is happy to offer support and advice. For any additional information, please contact tewv.darlingtonneuro@nhs.net

For children aged under 5, the referral route remains the same with all children seeing a paediatrician. However, please speak to your health visitor for further advice and support and access the services available through the Bubble of Support.

Additional Information

The following documents include a guide on how to refer your child and the Referral form:

County Durham and Darlington Neurodevelopmental Assessment Pathway Additional Information

Referral Form

Across Hartlepool and Stockton-On-Tees, we have a ‘needs led’ neurodevelopmental pathway as we want to make sure you and your child are supported as much as possible, if you or a professional thinks that your child has a neurodevelopmental need. These are needs which are associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

We have created a ‘bubble of support’ across your local area with many services which can offer advice, guidance or support. There are also very active Parent Carer Forums which can offer peer support. Details of all the support available is listed below. There is also a comprehensive ‘virtual’ offer which can offer alternative websites and support tips for you to try at home.

For a full downloadable description of the pathway, a guide has been written for parents by parents:

Hartlepool - Neurodevelopmental Pathway Guide for parents and carers

Stockton-on-Tees - Neurodevelopmental Pathway Guide for parents and carers

If you live in the Tees Valley, the Family Support Service, delivered by Daisy Chain, is here for you. The team supports children and young people aged 0-18 years and their families, no matter where they are on their Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing or Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) journey. This means that your child or young person does not need to have a diagnosis or be on the neurodevelopmental pathway to access support from the service. The Family Support team is here to listen to your concerns and offer support.

Click here to find out more about the Family Support Service.

Details of the Hartlepool and Stockton drop-in sessions for local families can be found here.

Please take time to look through the Self Help and Virtual Offer advice and guidance as there are various organisations, websites, and videos for you to access. All have been recommended by NHS England and the Regional Parent Carer Forum. Please take time to explore all the information provided, as there are a selection of strategies, activities, and webinars for you to access.

Stockton and Hartlepool Autism Information is a website that has been developed by a local Paediatrician and gives parents an overview of autism as well as providing advice and guidance to parents.

The SEND Local Offer is for families, children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities from birth to 25 years old. It provides local information, advice and support about education, health & social care. Each Local Authority have a local offer:

To access the local offer for Hartlepool Click Here
To access the local offer for Stockton Click Here.

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation have made all their videos about managing behaviour that challenges available online. Please visit the following links to view these videos: 

Video challenging behaviour
Challenging Behaviour Foundation.

The Challenging Behaviour website also offers lots of helpful advice and guidance for parents, carers, and professionals.

Positive Behavioural Support (PBS) is an evidence-based approach which is recognised as best practice in supporting people with learning disabilities and behaviours that challenge. The overall goal is to improve a person’s quality of life and the lives of people around them and minimise the chances of behaviour that challenges happening in the first place.

The North East and Cumbria PBS Steering Group has worked with partners from across the health and care sector, including Northumbria University to develop a website which provides information and resources to support families around PBS on upcoming events, courses and latest news. For more information please visit here.

Below is the link to a short film created to showcase the co-production of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) training for parents of children with a learning disability, autism, or both. The project has been created by parents who work at Skills for People working alongside North East and Cumbria PBS Community of Practice. The film was made by Beacon Films and funded by an NHS England / NHS Improvement, sharing, and celebrating patient and public involvement in the Healthcare Community Grant.

The video (with subtitles) can be accessed here.

Returning to School: The following webinar, delivered by colleagues from NHS Cumbria, Northumberland & Wear (CNTW) and NHS Tees Esk & Wear Valley (TEWV) Foundation Trusts, provides families with support and strategies for managing behaviour and worry when returning to school.

Autism Central
This is a new programme, co-designed to provide high-quality and accessible autism information, education and coaching for families, and carers, and co-delivered by autistic people, families and carers. Autism Central has been commissioned by NHS England’s Workforce, Training and Education Team and is delivered nationally by nine not-for-profit organisations. 

Find out more about the project and apply here.

Understanding Autism
The following website can give everyone a better understanding of what autism is, for more information please visit here.

This programme aims to join up and enhance services delivered through transformed family hubs in local authority areas, ensuring all families can access the support they need. The programme will:

  • provide support to parents and carers so they are able to nurture their babies, children and young people, improving health and education outcomes for all
  • contribute to a reduction in inequalities in health and education outcomes for babies, children, young people and families across by ensuring that support provided is communicated to all parents and carers, including those who are hardest to reach and/or most in need of it
  • build the evidence base for what works when it comes to improving health and education outcomes for babies, children, young people and families in different delivery contexts

    To access family hubs in Stockton, please visit here.
    To access family hubs in Hartlepool, please visit here.

The 0-19 Service is a team of specialist public health nurses that include health visitors and school nurses. The roles of this team are to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of children and young people aged from birth to 19 years old. More information can be found by visiting:

For Hartlepool follow The Children’s Hub and/or 0-19 Service Hartlepool
For Stockton follow Growing Healthy Service – Stockton-on-Tees

Parent Carer Forums work in partnership with Health and Social Care to ensure that the voices of parents and carers of children and young people are heard. The parent carer forums will also offer support, advice, and guidance to families with Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). To access your local parent carer forum please visit:

The Hartlepool Parent Carer Forum
The Stockton Parent Carer Forum

To access regional parent carer forum information please visit here.

A child or young person has special educational needs if they have a learning problem or disability that make it more difficult for them to learn than most children their age. They may have problems with schoolwork, communication, or behaviour. Parents can get Special Educational Needs (SEN) help and advice by visiting:

Hartlepool SEN Support (hartlepoolnow.co.uk
Stockton SENCO Support | Stockton Information Directory

Education settings, health, and social care services, together with parents, carers and peers play a key role in supporting Children and Young People’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing and can have a significant impact on the overall experiences and life outcomes for our children. Very few children will need specialist intervention by a clinical service/mental health professional. Locally across North Tees, Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health support services are provided by the following. Please take your time to visit the following links to ensure you access the right support for your child, young person, and family. The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) across Teesside has a single point of access for referrals and self-referrals.

Single Point of Contact (SPOC) is a service available to anyone with concerns including parents, carers, school staff, health professionals and GPs, and children and young people worried about their own mental health. You will be able to chat with a mental health nurse about your worries and concerns and the nurse can then consider the most appropriate next steps to best support the child or young person. Help and support can come in many forms, including self-help guidance, signposting to appropriate support services in the voluntary and third party sectors, or referral into the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). For further information please visit Community mental health teams for children and younger people in Teesside.

Mental Health Support in schools – can provide early support for children and young people (5-18 years) through education. Supporting schools, young people, and families, the mental health support in schools will target education settings across Hartlepool and Stockton.

Please check the following link to see if your child’s school is involved Mental health support teams in schools

Further information for parents can be accessed by visiting here.

Young people can access this support through education and by contacting either Alliance or school’s mental health and wellbeing lead direct. Young people can self-refer via an online e-referral process and parent and carers can also refer on their behalf. A response is aimed for within 24 hours of referral being made. For further information and how to access use the following contact information:

E-Referral or Instagram @alliancemhst

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Crisis Team – offer 24/7 support for children and young people in mental health crisis. Call 08000 516171 or visit the website at CAMHS crisis and liaison service.

MIND is a Mental Health charity in Teesside with the aim that everyone in the local area has good mental health. The charity works with all individuals across all communities to ensure they can access support to improve their emotional wellbeing. Click here for more information if you live in Stockton and click here for more information is you live in Hartlepool.

The North East & North Cumbria Child Health & Wellbeing Network works to bring organisations together to design and deliver joined up services to provide improved outcomes for children and young people. For more information please visit here.

Below are a list of national resources and information for families to access:

This May Help – Children’s Mental Health Advice for Parents and Carers
This May Help, is a new national initiative providing mental health advice to parents and carers. This May Help is aimed at parents and carers who may have concerns about their child’s mental health and is part funded by the Quality Improvement Taskforce for Children and Young People’s Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism Inpatient Services.

The website gives easy-to-follow advice to help families manage their child’s mental health. This advice was developed by NHS professionals and parents who’ve been through their own child’s mental health journey. Parents and carers have shared advice that helped them and that may also help other families. Professionals who work with children and young people are also being encouraged to use the website.

The advice covered on This May Help includes, self-harm, gaming and online activity, teenagers’ safety, eating disorders, school avoidance, understanding mental health, understanding teenagers, online threats, building rapport, building resilience, building a support network, self-care tips, managing an emergency, managing in a crisis, and preparing for a children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) appointment.

These subjects were chosen by families and young people who have gone through their own mental health challenges. Gary Lineker, Myleene Klass, and Tanni Grey-Thompson are amongst 16 presenters featured in the films. Please click here to access more information.

Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families – provides research, developing clinical practice and policy and workforce development nationally, working to support families of children and young people with mental disorders and associated challenges by developing resilience and supporting to manage these challenges. Visit AnnaFreud website for further information.

Kooth is a free, online forum and counselling/mental health support for young people aged 11+. Visit Kooth to find out more. QWELL is a free, online and counselling/mental health support for adults. Visit Qwell to find out more.

Recovery College Online provides free resources to help support people struggling with mental health difficulties. Visit the recovery college online to find out more.

Childline – free, private, and confidential service where children can talk about anything. Visit Childline here.

Shout 85258 – free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope. Visit here.

WeheartCBT – free CBT resources to help schools, parents and professionals support children with mental health difficulties. Visit here or on Twitter @WeHeartCBT

The Learning Disability Matters website for families has a range of resources to support family resilience and health and wellbeing of children and young people with a learning disability.

The Early Help team provide support to a family when a problem emerges, at any stage in a child or young person’s life, from the foundation years through to the teenage years. For more information visit:

Early Help for Stockton
Early Help for Hartlepool

The North East Autism Society (NEAS) is a registered charity that work together to inspire, support, celebrate and equip autistic and neurodivergent people to fulfil their potential in life. The organisation offers a wealth of knowledge to support families living with autism. 

For more information please visit North East Autism Society.

Carer support services provide a range of different services to help support adults, children and young people who are in a caring role. More information can be found by visiting the following links:

Stockton: Eastern Ravens Trust and/or Support for Carers
Hartlepool: Hartlepool Carers

The Tees Valley Sleep service supports families who have a child with any additional needs by using a tiered approach offering support, resources, workshops and assessments.

For more information please visit Tees Valley Sleep Service

Independent travel training is tailored and practical help for people to travel by public transport, on foot or by bike. It aims to help children and young people travel independently and without fear so they can get to school or college, work and for social and leisure activities.

For Hartlepool, please visit here
For Stockton please visit here

The Speech and Language Therapy service work with children and young people who have a speech, language and communication needs or difficulties with eating, drinking, and swallowing.

As well as working with children and young people the service also provide support to families and carers, teachers, and other adults around them. The service aims to develop their best possible communication skills, considering their individual abilities and needs.

Speech and Language Therapy in Hartlepool and Stockton is provided by North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust Speech and language therapy for children.

Other speech, language and communication resources you might find useful:
South Tees Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Paediatric Speech & Language Therapy
South Tees NHS Speech Therapy YouTube channel
BBC website ‘Tiny Happy people’

Occupational Therapy offer a team of specialist therapists and assistant therapists to provide assessment, treatment and advice to children, young people, and their families in a range of locations including home, school or hospital clinics. The service will assess and treat children and young people who have long term health needs or problems with movement and co-ordination. The service will make sure your child reaches their potential and works alongside professionals involved with the child or young person to ensure a holistic approach to treatment and assessment.

In Hartlepool and Stockton this service is provided by North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, further information can be found by visiting: North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust Children’s occupational therapy

Sunflower Sensory Programme for parents and carers with children aged 4 to 11 years old

The Sunflower Sensory Programme is delivered by experienced members of the Paediatric Occupational Therapy team. They provide a series of three friendly and interactive workshops called Sunflower Parent Training.

It is an education training course designed to provide parents/carers with information and strategies to empower them in lifelong support for their child’s experiences/sensory integration difficulties. In North Tees this service is provided by NHS North Tees & Hartlepool Foundation Trust.

More information can be found here

Sensory Ideas for the Home

A recorded webinar has been developed by an Occupational Therapist to outline tips and guidance for supporting children and young people with sensory needs within the home.

As part of the Needs Led Neurodevelopment assessment process, children, young people and their parents or carers will be invited to attend a number of assessments.  These assessments may include an Aide Memoire, an ADOS, a Speech Language and Communication assessment, a Differential Diagnosis assessment and a School / Education setting assessment. Not every child will need all of these assessments. All these interventions play a very important role in the diagnostic process and it is essential that children, young people and their parents or carers attend all of the assessments they have been invited to. Below gives some information about what will happen at these assessments and why it is important to attend. 

The Neurodevelopmental Pathway Team

A team has been developed specifically to co-ordinate the assessments and support which a child and their family might need whilst undergoing an assessment for ASD. The remit of this team will expand to include ADHD over time. The service is provided by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation NHS Trust (TEWV) and is for children aged between 5 and 18 who are registered with a GP in Hartlepool or Stockton-on-Tees.

For children aged under 5 – this pathway is provided by North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, referral into the service is through a paediatrician or speech and language therapist.  In the first instance please speak to your Health Visitor, GP or other health professional.  Please note most services within the bubble of support are available to access without a diagnosis.

Downloadable Pathway Flowchart

We have also changed the way in which your child can be referred for an assessment. Details can be found below.

How to refer your child for a specialist assessment

Referrals will be accepted from all professionals who work with children and young people, including paediatricians, speech and language therapists, schools and Daisy Chain. 

If you think your child or young person has not had their needs met by accessing the services highlighted in the bubble of support or who you feel would benefit from a multi-agency pathway assessment, please make an appointment with one of the agencies referred to above.

Alternatively, you can contact the team directly and they can discuss your child’s needs with you.  

Once a referral is received, it will be discussed at the weekly multi-agency triage panel, following which the panel coordinator will be in touch as soon as possible to share conclusions and next steps with you. This panel is made up of representatives from health, education and local authority as all organisations have a role to play in meeting the needs of your child.

As we follow a ‘needs led’ approach across Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees, you could be asked to access additional services (those in the bubble of support) to meet the needs of your child before a more formal diagnostic route is taken. You will be talked through this process and this will be coordinated by the Pathway Team.

Making a referral to the team

Referrals should be made using the referral form which can be downloaded below and which must be completed jointly by the professional and the parent / carer before being submitted via email to the team. We also ask that as much information as possible relating to the child’s needs is included with the referral, a list of what can be submitted is included on the form.

North Tees Referral Form

This form must be submitted to the Neurodevelopment Service in addition to (and at the same time as) the main Neurodevelopment Pathway Referral Form, it is supporting information to the main referral and is to be completed by the child or young person with help from an adult (if needed).

Supporting Information Form

What will happen if my referral is accepted onto the diagnostic pathway?

The team will communicate with you throughout the process to explain which assessments your child will require. These can range from speech and language therapy, community paediatrics, consultant psychiatry and educational psychology, to autism diagnostic observation schedule (ADOS), school or home assessments. 

The journey for each child and young person is different and will depend on their individual needs, not every child will require all of the assessments outlined above. All of these referrals and assessments will be completed and coordinated by the Pathway team. You will then receive appointments directly from the services that are required to assess your child.

The team aims to support young people, parents and carers as much as possible throughout their assessment process and is happy to offer support and advice. For any additional information, please contact Tewv.asdteam@nhs.net

You can download the following Pathway timeline to help you follow the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) assessment process. 

ASD Assessment Tracker

Across South Tees, we have a ‘needs led’ neurodevelopmental pathway as we want to make sure you and your child are supported as much as possible, if you or a professional thinks that your child has a neurodevelopmental need. These are needs which are associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

We have created a ‘bubble of support’ across your local area with many services which can offer advice, guidance or support. There are also very active Parent Carer Forums which can offer peer support. Details of all the support available is listed below. There is also a comprehensive ‘virtual’ offer which can offer alternative websites and support tips for you to try at home.

For a full downloadable description of the pathway, a guide has been written for parents by parents:

South Tees - Neurodevelopmental Pathway Guide for parents and carers

If you live in the Tees Valley, the Family Support Service, delivered by Daisy Chain, is here for you. The team supports children and young people aged 0-18 years and their families, no matter where they are on their Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing or Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) journey. This means that your child or young person does not need to have a diagnosis or be on the neurodevelopmental pathway to access support from the service. The Family Support team is here to listen to your concerns and offer support.

Click here to find out more about the Family Support Service.

Details of the South Tees drop-in sessions for local families can be found here.

Please take time to look through the Self Help and Virtual Offer advice and guidance as there are various organisations, websites, and videos for you to access. All have been recommended by NHS England and the Regional Parent Carer Forum. Please take time to explore all the information provided, as there are a selection of strategies, activities, and webinars for you to access.

The SEND Local Offer provides information for families, children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities from birth to 25 years old. It provides local information, advice and support about education, health & social care. Each Local Authority has a local offer:

To access the local offer for Redcar and Cleveland Click Here
To access the local offer for Middlesbrough Click Here

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation have made all their videos about managing behaviour that challenges available online. Please visit the following links to view these videos:

Video challenging behaviour
Challenging Behaviour Foundation.

The Challenging Behaviour website also offers lots of helpful advice and guidance for parents, carers, and professionals.

Positive Behavioural Support (PBS) is an evidence-based approach which is recognised as best practice in supporting people with learning disability and behaviours that challenge. The overall goal is to improve a person’s quality of life and the lives of people around them and minimise the chances of behaviour that challenges happening in the first place.

The North East and Cumbria PBS Steering Group has worked with partners from across the health and care sector, including Northumbria University to develop a website which provides information and resources to support families around PBS on upcoming events, courses and latest news. For more information please visit here.

Below is the link to a short film created to showcase the co-production of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) training for parents of children with a learning disability, autism, or both. The project has been created by parents who work at Skills for People working alongside North East and Cumbria PBS Community of Practice.

The film was made by Beacon Films and funded by an NHS England / NHS Improvement, sharing, and celebrating patient and public involvement in the Healthcare Community Grant.

The video (with subtitles) can be accessed here

Returning to School: The following webinar, delivered by colleagues from NHS Cumbria, Northumberland & Wear (CNTW) and NHS Tees Esk & Wear Valley (TEWV) Foundation Trusts, provides families with support and strategies for managing behaviour and worry when returning to school.


National Autistic Society have visual supports tools that can be used to support behaviour. Develop your new routine as soon as you are able. Have fixed points within the day that you can focus on, even if there is ‘free time’ at other parts of the day. Use diaries, timetables, lists and other familiar supports to aid this. Consider using social stories or social narratives to explain the changes you are making and why they are happening. Click here for more information on social stories or social narratives.

Autism Central
This is a new programme, co-designed to provide high-quality and accessible autism information, education and coaching for families, and carers, and co-delivered by autistic people, families and carers. Autism Central has been commissioned by NHS England’s Workforce, Training and Education Team and is delivered nationally by nine not-for-profit organisations. 

Find out more about the project and apply here.

Understanding Autism
The following website can give everyone a better understanding of what autism is, for more information please visit here.

This programme aims to join up and enhance services delivered through transformed family hubs in local authority areas, ensuring all families can access the support they need. The programme will:

  • provide support to parents and carers so they are able to nurture their babies, children and young people, improving health and education outcomes for all
  • contribute to a reduction in inequalities in health and education outcomes for babies, children, young people and families across by ensuring that support provided is communicated to all parents and carers, including those who are hardest to reach and/or most in need of it
  • build the evidence base for what works when it comes to improving health and education outcomes for babies, children, young people and families in different delivery contexts

    To access family hubs in Middlesbrough, please visit here.
    To access family hubs in Redcar & Cleveland, please visit here.

The 0-19 Service is a team of specialist public health nurses that include health visitors and school nurses. The roles of this team are to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of children and young people aged from birth to 19 years old.

For more Redcar information visit: Redcar Public health nurses.
For Middlesbrough visit: Healthier Together Middlesbrough.

The parent carer forums work in partnership with Health and Social Care to ensure that the voices of parents and carers of children and young people are heard. The parent carer forums will also offer support, advice, and guidance to families with Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). To access your local parent carer forum please visit:

SEND Family Voice Redcar & Cleveland
Middlesbrough Parents 4 Change

To access regional parent carer forum information please visit here.

A child or young person has special educational needs if they have a learning problem or disability that make it more difficult for them to learn than most children their age. They may have problems with schoolwork, communication, or behaviour. Parents can get Special Educational Needs (SEN) help and advice by visiting:

Middlesbrough Special Educational Needs
Redcar & Cleveland Special Educational Needs

The Specialist Teaching Service is a team of specialist qualified staff who work towards a varied approach to ensure the environment for children and young people is ASC friendly, enabling children and young people to enjoy and achieve their desired outcomes.

Click on Redcar & Cleveland Specialist Teaching Service or Middlesbrough Specialist Teaching Service for more information.

Education settings, health, and social care services, together with parents, carers and peers play a key role in supporting Children and Young People’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing and can have a significant impact on the overall experiences and life outcomes for our children. Very few children will need specialist intervention by a clinical service/mental health professional.

Locally across North Tees, Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health support services are provided by the following, please take your time to visit the following links to ensure you access the right support for your child, young person, and family.

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) across Teesside has a single point of access for referrals and self-referrals.

Single Point of Contact (SPOC) is a service available to anyone with concerns including parents, carers, school staff, health professionals and GPs, and children and young people worried about their own mental health. You will be able to chat with a mental health nurse about your worries and concerns and the nurse can then consider the most appropriate next steps to best support the child or young person. Help and support can come in many forms, including self-help guidance, signposting to appropriate support services in the voluntary and third party sectors, or referral into the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). For further information please visit Community mental health teams for children and younger people in Teesside.

Tel: 0300 2000 000
Email: tewv.stspoc-camhs@nhs.net

Mental Health Support in schools – can provide early support for children and young people (5-18 years) through education. Supporting schools, young people, and families, the mental health support in schools will target education settings across Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland.

Please check the following link to see if your child’s school is involved Mental health support teams in schools

Young people can access this support through education and by contacting either The Link or school’s mental health and wellbeing lead direct. Young people can self-refer via an online e-referral process and parent and carers can also refer on their behalf. A response is aimed for within 24 hours of referral being made. For further information and how to access use the following:

Facebook - @InsideOutMHST
Instagram - @insideoutmhst
Twitter - @InsideoutMhst


HeadStart
HeadStart promotes children and young people’s emotional wellbeing in schools, at home, in the community, and online. Working with partners, the aim is to improve resilience and provide support at an early stage to enable children and young people to better cope in difficult circumstances. Visit the website here.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Crisis Team – offer 24/7 support for children and young people in mental health crisis. Call 08000 516171.

MIND
MIND is a Mental Health charity in Teesside with the aim that that everyone in the local area has good mental health. The charity works across all communities and individuals to ensure they can access support to improve their emotional wellbeing. Click here for more information.

Click here for more information if you live in Middlesbrough and click here for more information is you live in Redcar and Cleveland.

The North East & North Cumbria Child Health & Wellbeing Network works to bring organisations together to design and deliver joined up services to provide improved outcomes for children and young people. For more information please visit here.

Below are a list of national resources and information for families to access:

The Learning Disability Matters website for families has a range of resources to support family resilience and health and wellbeing of children and young people with a learning disability.

This May Help – Children’s Mental Health Advice for Parents and Carers
This May Help, is a new national initiative providing mental health advice to parents and carers.

This May Help is aimed at parents and carers who may have concerns about their child’s mental health and is part funded by the Quality Improvement Taskforce for Children and Young People’s Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism Inpatient Services./The website gives easy-to-follow advice to help families manage their child’s mental health.

This advice was developed by NHS professionals and parents who’ve been through their own child’s mental health journey. Parents and carers have shared advice that helped them and that may also help other families. Professionals who work with children and young people are also being encouraged to use the website.

The advice covered on This May Help includes, self-harm, gaming and online activity, teenagers’ safety, eating disorders, school avoidance, understanding mental health, understanding teenagers, online threats, building rapport, building resilience, building a support network, self-care tips, managing an emergency, managing in a crisis, and preparing for a children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) appointment.

These subjects were chosen by families and young people who have gone through their own mental health challenges. Gary Lineker, Myleene Klass, and Tanni Grey-Thompson are amongst 16 presenters featured in the films. Please click here for more information.

Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
Providing research, developing clinical practice and policy and workforce development nationally, working to support families of children and young people with mental disorders and associated challenges by developing resilience and supporting to manage these challenges. Visit AnnaFreud website for further information.

Kooth
Free, online forum and counselling/mental health support for young people aged 11+. Visit Kooth to find out more.

Recovery College online
Free resources to help support people struggling with mental health difficulties. Visit the recovery college online to find out more.

Childline
Free, private, and confidential service where children can talk about anything. Visit Update from Childline

Shout 85258 – free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope. Visit here to find out more.

WeheartCBT
Free CBT resources to help schools, parents and professionals support children with mental health difficulties. Visit here or on Twitter @WeHeartCBT

The Early Help team provides support to a family when a problem emerges, at any stage in a child or young person’s life, from the foundation years through to teenage years. Click on Redcar & Cleveland or Middlesbrough for more information.

The Portage service is a team of skilled and experienced specialist staff that provide specialist home support for very young children with complex needs.

Visit Redcar & Cleveland or Middlesbrough for more information.

The Nort East Autism Society (NEAS) is a registered charity that work together to inspire, support, celebrate and equip autistic and neurodivergent people to fulfil their potential in life. The organisation offers a wealth of knowledge to support families living with autism.

For more information please visit here.

Carer support services provide a range of different services to help support adults, children and young people who are in a caring role.

Click on the below links for more information:
Redcar & Cleveland
Middlesbrough
The Junction Foundation Young Carers

The Tees Valley Sleep service supports families who have a child with any additional needs by using a tiered approach offering support, resources, workshops and assessments. For more information please visit Tees Valley Sleep Service.

Independent Travel Training provide support and assistance to school or college for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

Click on Redcar and Cleveland or Middlesbrough for more information.

The Speech and Language Therapy service provides treatment, support and care for children and young people who have difficulties with communication or with eating, drinking and swallowing. Speech and Language Therapists are professionals that work with parents, carers, and other professionals such as teachers, GP’s, occupational therapists, and nurses.

Speech and language therapy in Redcar and Cleveland and Middlesbrough is provided by NHS South Tees. Further information can be found by visiting Children’s speech and language therapy – South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Other speech, language and communication resources you might find useful:
South Tees NHS Speech Therapy YouTube channel

The Overfields Speech and Language Therapy Unit at Overfields Primary School provides a specialist education for children with significant speech and language difficulties. More information can be found here.

Occupational Therapy offer a team of specialist therapists and assistant therapists to provide assessment, treatment and advice to children, young people, and their families in a range of locations including home, school or hospital clinics. The service will assess and treat children and young people who have long term health needs or problems with movement and co-ordination.

The service will make sure your child reaches their potential and works alongside professionals involved with the child or young person to ensure a holistic approach to treatment and assessment. In South Tees this service is provided by South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, further information can be found by visiting here.

The Sunflower Sensory Programme is delivered by experienced members of the Paediatric Occupational Therapy team. They provide a series of three friendly and interactive workshops called Sunflower Parent Training. It is an education training course designed to provide parents/carers with information and strategies to empower them in lifelong support for their child’s experiences sensory integration difficulties.

In South Tees this service is provided by South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. More information can be found by calling 01642 044506 or emailing ste-tr.westacklamcentre@nhs.net

Sensory Ideas for the Home

A recorded webinar has been developed by an Occupational Therapist to outline tips and guidance for supporting children and young people with sensory needs within the home.

The STARS team offers support to children and young people aged 0-25 with a sensory impairment. Click here for more information.

Sensory Ideas at Home – A recorded webinar has been developed by an Occupational Therapist outlining tips and guidance for supporting children and young people with sensory needs within the home.

As part of the Needs Led Neurodevelopment assessment process, children, young people and their parents or carers will be invited to attend a number of assessments.  These assessments may include an Aide Memoire, an ADOS, a Speech Language and Communication assessment, a Differential Diagnosis assessment and a School / Education setting assessment. Not every child will need all of these assessments. All these interventions play a very important role in the diagnostic process and it is essential that children, young people and their parents or carers attend all of the assessments they have been invited to. Below gives some information about what will happen at these assessments and why it is important to attend. 

The Neurodevelopmental Pathway Team

A team has been developed specifically to co-ordinate the assessments and support which a child and their family might need whilst undergoing an assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The remit of this team will expand to include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) over time. The service is provided by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation NHS Trust (TEWV) and is for children aged between 5 and 18 who are registered with a GP in South Tees.

For children aged under 5 – this pathway is provided by North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust to provided by South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, referral into the service is through a paediatrician or speech and language therapist.  In the first instance please speak to your Health Visitor, GP or other health professional.  Please note most services within the bubble of support are available to access without a diagnosis.

How to refer your child for a specialist assessment

Referrals will be accepted from all professionals who work with children and young people, including paediatricians, speech and language therapists and schools. 

If you think your child or young person has not had their needs met by accessing the services highlighted in the bubble of support or who you feel would benefit from a multi-agency pathway assessment, please make an appointment with one of the agencies referred to above.

Alternatively, you can contact the team directly and they can discuss your child’s needs with you.  

Once a referral is received, it will be discussed at the weekly multi-agency triage panel, following which the panel coordinator will be in touch as soon as possible to share conclusions and next steps with you. This panel is made up of representatives from health, education and local authority as all organisations have a role to play in meeting the needs of your child.

As we follow a ‘needs led’ approach across South Tees, you could be asked to access additional services (those in the bubble of support) to meet the needs of your child before a more formal diagnostic route is taken. You will be talked through this process and this will be coordinated by the Pathway Team.

Making a referral to the team

Referrals should be made using the referral form which can be downloaded below and which must be completed jointly by the professional and the parent / carer before being submitted via email to the team by the professional. We also ask that as much information as possible relating to the child’s needs is included with the referral, a list of what can be submitted is included on the form.

South Tees Referral Form

This form must be submitted to the Neurodevelopment Service in addition to (and at the same time as) the main Neurodevelopment Pathway Referral Form, it is supporting information to the main referral and is to be completed by the child or young person with help from an adult (if needed).

Supporting Information Form

What will happen if my referral is accepted onto the diagnostic pathway?

The team will communicate with you throughout the process to explain which assessments your child will require. These can range from speech and language therapy, community paediatrics, consultant psychiatry and educational psychology, to autism diagnostic observation schedule (ADOS), school or home assessments. 

The journey for each child and young person is different and will depend on their individual needs, not every child will require all of the assessments outlined above. All of these referrals and assessments will be completed and coordinated by the Pathway team. You will then receive appointments directly from the services that are required to assess your child.

The team aims to support young people, parents and carers as much as possible throughout their assessment process and is happy to offer support and advice. For any additional information, please contact Tewv.asdteam@nhs.net

You can download the following Pathway timeline to help you follow the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) assessment process. 

ASD Assessment Tracker

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