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Coventry's SEND Local Offer

View full details of An Introduction to Universal Health Services


Universal Health Services are Health Services that all children and young people will qualify for. In some cases, there will be similar services available especially for people with Special Education Needs and Disabilities. These services are provided by South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, Coventry Warwickshire Partnership Trust and the NHS.

You can find out more about universal health services on the Coventry City Council Family Health and Wellbeing website.


A GP is a General Practitioner. This is the doctor that a person sees for general health concerns. A GP can refer someone on to more specialist services where needed and can advise about general health concerns.

Information about choosing a GP in your area.

School Nurse

School Nursing Teams are led by qualified Nurses who have undertaken further training to qualify for this specialist role.
Each team covers a group of schools in a geographical area. School Nurses are not based in individual schools.

The School Nurse plays a key role in Health Promotion and works to address Public Health Issues e.g. reducing teenage pregnancy, reducing childhood obesity,and issues relating to drug,smoking and alcohol use.

The School Nurse is pleased to give advice to parents and/or your children about any health concern they may have - e.g. sleeping, behaviour, allergic reactions, bed wetting, to name but a few.

School Nurses run confidential health clinics in some secondary schools within the city.

School Nursing Services that are available in special schools are arranged by the Coventry Commissioning Group (CCG).  

School Nursing website.


Everyone should be able to access good-quality NHS dental services. There is no need to register with a dentist in the same way as with a GP because you are not bound to a catchment area. Simply find a dental practice that's convenient for you, whether it's near your home or work, and phone them to see if there are any appointments available.

Health Visiting 

The Health Visiting Team work to improve the health and wellbeing of children and families in the crucial first years of life. Our community teams offer friendly support and advice and we work closely with GPs, midwives, school nurses and the wider local community. The service is universal to all children and families, with a wider service to those with additional needs.

Health Visitor website.

Positive Choices Coventry 

Coventry Young Person's Service is a free and confidential young person's early intervention and substance misuse service for young people, their families, carers and affected others.

Positive Choices Coventry.

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View full details of ASD Pathway - Preschool


Autism Assessment Process (Pre-School age Children)

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition that affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour. In children with ASD, the symptoms are present before three years of age, although a diagnosis is often made after the age of three. There’s no "cure" for ASD, but speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, educational support and a number of other interventions are available to help children and parents and do not require a diagnosis.

The ASD Assessment Process for Pre-school age Children is carried out by the Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust (CWPT). When they do an autism assessment, they need to know how your child is getting on at home, at nursery or in education settings.  If your child has had assessments by other professionals they would like to see their reports.  

You can learn more about the referral process by reading this the ASD pre-school leaflet or visiting the CWPT : Common conditions we work with – ASD website.  


If you are concerned that your child might have ASD, the first step is to speak to your child’s Health Visitor. You should take a list of behaviours and characteristics that make you think your child might be autistic with you to this meeting. During appointments with professionals, they will need to ask about your family, the health and mental health of family members and whether your child has had any traumatic experiences.  

Assessment Phase 1

Your child’s Health Visitor will carry out an Ages and Stages Questionnaire and, if appropriate, a Wellcomm language screen. The Health Visitor will talk to you about the concerns you have about your child’s development. 

Assessment Phase 2

Your child will have an appointment with a Speech and Language Therapist in a clinic, at nursery or in your home. They will assess your child’s communication skills and provide you with advice and strategies on how you can support your child. The Speech and Language Therapist will discuss your child’s progress with you. In cases where your child needs further assessments, the Speech and Language Therapist will move your child to Phase 3 of the Autism assessment. 

Assessment Phase 3

Once all information has been collected from the team of professionals and they determine that your child meets the criteria for Assessment phase 3, a referral will be made to a Paediatrician . Once the Paediatrician is sure, they will let you know whether your child has an ASD diagnosis or not.

Waiting for Assessment 

There is a significant waiting list for assessment because so many children have been referred.  We priorities those children who are Looked After or have a Child Protection Plan in place, so if that is the case for your child, please let us know. 

How to help 

We have a pre-assessment parent education session called

“Pre-schoolers; how to help with challenging behaviour, communication, and accessing community resources” 

This session offers tips on supporting your child and information about local services available to help you and your child. Parents can attend this group session whilst they wait for an assessment. This session is offered by professionals with many years’ experience working with children with autism.

You can call CWPT to arrange to attend one of these sessions at 024 7696 1226 

For more information, please see the ASD ASSESSMENT PROCESS IN COVENTRY (PRE SCHOOL CHILDREN) webpage


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View full details of Community Paediatric Dieticians


Community Paediatric Dieticians

Community Paediatric Dieticians provides a service for children with special needs. 

If you have concerns regarding your child’s or young person's nutritional needs, please initially discuss them with their school nurse, health visitor or GP. 

If they feel it is appropriate, they will refer you for a consultation with one of the dieticians.

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View full details of Coventry’s Integrated Two-Year Review – ‘Together at Two’ Progress Check


Coventry’s Integrated Two-Year Review – ‘Together at Two’ Progress Check

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) progress check, usually carried out by a child’s key person, is a statutory requirement for nurseries and childminders delivering childcare to two-year-olds within the EYFS framework. The health and development review, at age two to two-and-a-half, is part of the Healthy Child Programme, and is delivered by health professionals.  Whilst we recognise that children perform better in familiar surroundings such as their home or nursery, the two-year progress check often takes place in unfamiliar surroundings, which means the child may not truly show what they can achieve. The integrated review will bring these two assessments together providing a more complete picture of the child.

All children aged two years who are in childcare should receive a ‘Together at Two’ progress check before their third birthday, this may take place in the home, nursery or childminders. More often they take place in a health centre or Family Hub.

We have outlined the process to promote the sharing of this information at the child’s ‘Together at Two’ Progress Check:

  • The check should be completed by the child's key worker at the nursery, preschool or childminder.
  • Ideally the check should be completed before the child has his/her two-year check with the Health Visitor.
  • The check is designed to identify things they are doing well and things they might need help with.
  • The completed two-year progress check must be shared with parents and any parental comments included.
  • Parents will then share the completed progress check at their appointment with the relevant health professional. It could be kept in the child’s ‘Red Book’ until the appointment or shared via an electronic device.
  • The Health professional can use the assessment provided by the childcare provider to support the healthy child check. 

In the first instance the 2 - 2.5-year assessment should be completed. The 2.5 - 3-year check can be completed if you need to compare a child’s progress against the earlier check (2 - 2.5-year assessment) or where a child has started at your setting after their third birthday and you wish to access support from the health visiting team.  

Where a child is accessing support from the SEND team, an application for two-year funding should be submitted. This application will need to be endorsed by the child’s SEND support professional.

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View full details of Early Years Education, Support and Childcare - SEND and Portage


Portage is a home-visiting educational service for pre-school children with additional support needs and their families.

The SEND Early Years team is a group of experienced early years practitioners who provide support for children and families by delivering high quality education for children 0-5 years old. We deliver this service in the home, in early years settings and in schools. 

What is Portage?

Portage is educational support for children aged birth-3 who have additional needs. It is provided in the home or school setting. Portage aims to improve areas of children’s development through play with the goal of enriching their life experiences.

Through our inclusive practice, we aim to reduce the barriers that young children and their families face.

Portage helps the family and early years setting to see the child’s strengths and challenges as well as their ability to learn. It gives the family confidence that they are doing everything they can to help the child achieve and reach their full potential. Portage helps people to understand the importance of breaking tasks down by teaching parents and practitioners how to teach small steps and celebrate each achievement as it happens.

Portage is part of the national and local development of inclusive services for children.

For more general information please visit the National Portage Association website

There are currently two groups for children with additional needs who are not in nursery or educational settings. 

1. Together we can

Together we can provide opportunities for children to play and learn in a safe environment with staff who understand their specific needs. We support children aged between 18 months and 3 years who are presenting with developmental delay by offering specialist play experiences and assessment. After a session, there will be time to discuss your child’s progress and to make referrals on to other agencies if needed. This is run in partnership with SEND Early Years Team and Central Health visiting team. 

2. Experience Group

The Experience group is for non-mobile children and their parents/carers. It provides opportunities for children to play and learn in a safe environment with staff who understand their specific needs. It also provides a space for parents/carers to talk to others in similar situations. 

Eligibility criteria 

Birth – 18 months 

  • An identified condition or syndrome where there is known to be an associated learning difficulty.
  • Developmental delay associated with premature delivery.
  • If a child meets the above criteria and is looked after by the Local Authority, they will be prioritised. 

18 months – 36 months

  • Developmental delay of 9+ months in two or more areas, as identified in the SEND Code of Practice 2014
  • Physical difficulties that significantly impact the child’s access to learning
  • Significant social and/or communication difficulties
  • If a child meets the above criteria and is looked after by the Local Authority, they will be prioritised. 

Identification and assessment process 

  1. Initial referral – the initial referral can only be made by teachers or professionals.
  2. Initial contact – Home visit to be completed by SEND Early Years team.
  3. Initial assessment – Visit is made to the home to discuss the child’s needs. A play based assessment will be carried out to see the current level of development against the criteria for support from the service. Where English is an additional language, an interpreter will be provided. Support needs will be discussed and agreed.
  4. Allocation of worker - SEND Early Years Portage worker or a Family Hub worker will be allocated to the family.
  5. Portage worker will contact the family/setting to arrange the first visit. 

We will also signpost to other services such as Coventry Speech and Language Service, Coventry Occupational Therapy Service and SEND Early Years Teachers to further aid a child’s development.

Coventry SEND Support Service in Early Years Settings 

We support the early identification of children with SEND and aim to develop inclusive practice in settings and schools. We work in partnership with parents to improve the outcomes for children in the Early Years Foundation stage. We support children to make progress from their individual starting point. SEND early years teachers offer support to children in their nursery year and support the transition into reception in mainstream schools. 

Identification and Assessment Process 

Initial referrals can be made by teachers and professionals. For example, if a child is in a setting, the parent or carer would raise the concern with the SENCo. If a child is at home the concern could be raised via the health visitor. We have an open referral route and encourage schools and settings to refer in if they a concern about a child’s development. Once the referral has been processed a teacher from the team will be allocated and they will make contact with the school or setting and arrange to do an initial visit to observe the child. They will assess the level of support needed using the 4 areas of need in the Code of Practice and the Early Years Foundation Stage. Teacher will use a modelling and coaching approach in order to enhance the skills of the setting to be able to support the needs of the child and remove barriers to learning. If further support is needed we will signpost to other services including Educational Psychology Speech and Language and Occupational Therapy.  

SEND Early Years Complex Communication 

Send Early Years Complex Communication is made up of a teacher, a preschool coordinator and 2 Higher Level Teaching Assistants. We offer targeted support where it is most needed. Support is offered to children in early years settings with a diagnosis of Autism and for those on the pathway. We offer group sessions to children and support and advice to parents and carers. We are licensed to deliver the National Autistic Society Early Bird programme. Once an initial assessment has been completed targeted nursery support will be offered depending on the level of need. This could be from the teacher who will do observations and offer advice, strategies and support with target setting. Children may also be offered blocks of support from a higher level teaching assistant who will model strategies to staff and work on targets that have been set.

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View full details of I think my child has special needs, what should I do?


If you think that your child or young person may have a special education need or disability (SEND) and you would like to get more information, there are a number of things you can do. 

1. For general information and advice about SEND, you can speak with SENDIASS, Coventry's independent SEND advice and support service. 

2. If your child is aged 0-5, you can speak with a health visitor, or you can describe your concerns at your child's Together at Two Review.

3. If your child or young person is 5-25 and in education, you can speak with their teacher or the Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) at their education setting. 

4. If you are interested in knowing more about the resources available to children and young people who have SEND the Dimensions Tool provides an interactive way to understand a person's health and well-being and find local support. 

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View full details of Mental Health Support for Children - CAMHS Specialist Learning Disability Team


Who are we?

The LD - CAMHS are a multi-disciplinary team who work with children who have a moderate to severe learning disability and additional significant mental health/behavioural problems. We endeavour to work closely with young people, their families and other professionals who are also supporting the young person. We accept referrals for children and young people aged 0-18 years old that have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP ). Our service only supports children with Section G of their EHCP.

If children are referred over the age of 16 years, our team will work with adult services and transition forums as needed. 

Who is in the team?

A young person with Special Education Needs and Disabilities may need to be supported by a number of different professionals. We have the following professionals on our team:

  • Consultant psychiatrist
  • Clinical psychologist
  • Specialist Learning Disability Nurses
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Speech and Language therapist

What do we offer?

A young person and their family are offered an initial assessment which will determine if we are the right service to help with their difficulties. This will be carried out by one of the clinical professionals in the team.

Initial assessments are often held in clinic but can be arranged to be carried out at home or school. It is essential that the young person and the parents/carers attend the assessment.

If a young person qualifies for our service a specialist assessment will be carried out. This may involve:

  • Formal mental health, behavioural, psychological, sensory and/or communication assessments
  • Direct interviews and observations of the young person, parents/carers/schools/respite carers
  • Indirect interviews / gathering historical information
  • Group intervention

Intervention will depend on the outcome of the specialist assessments and may include:

  •  Working with the people around the young person, at home, in school and respite services
  • Direct work with the young person

Sometimes it is necessary for a young person to be under the care of our Consultant Psychiatrist, this would be for:

  • Medication
  • Diagnosis

Who can refer?

Referrals are accepted from:

Any professional that is involved with a child or young person as part of a local tiered response. This could be:

  • Social Workers
  • Teachers
  • Health Visitors
  • Paediatricians
  • School Nurses
  • Primary Mental Health Workers
  • Doctors
  • Educational Psychologists.

When a referral comes through a school, the Head Teacher should be notified. 


Referral Guidelines LD - CAMHS


 0300 200 2021

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View full details of Occupational Therapy - Children and Young People


Occupational Therapy for 0-18 (19 years in special education provision)

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapy aims to enable children and young people (CYP) to become as independent as possible and maximise their potential in their daily lives. The main activities that children and young people do include playing and having leisure time, learning to take care of themselves and participating in school.

Occupational Therapists (OTs) use therapeutic techniques and sometimes specialist equipment to help children and young people become as independent as possible with everyday activities such as self-care, school work and play.

Currently, Occupational Therapy for children and young people in Coventry is provided by Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust.

Here are some common reasons to consider a referral to an Occupational Therapist:

  • When a physical difficulty is impacting on a child or young person's performance or development of skills. 
  • There are difficulties with age-appropriate activities of daily living (such as getting dressed, brushing teeth, washing hair)
  • To get an assessment for a child or young person to use equipment at home and school
  • To get an assessment of a child or young person's motor skills - these are important foundations for future skills
  • To get an assessment of visual motor integration skills (hand-eye coordination)

Referral criteria

Children and young people between the ages of 0-18 (19 years in special education provision) who are registered with a Coventry GP can be referred to this service. Referrals must be made by teachers and other health professionals like consultants, GPs, school nurses, health visitors etc.

If a professional is referring on behalf of a family/carers they need to get consent from the parent/carer before the referral is sent to the Occupational Therapy team.

The service does not accept referrals based on a specific diagnosis alone or for children whose functional skills are in line with their cognitive ability.

Concerns regarding behaviour related to toileting should be directed to the relevant health visitor or school nurse.

Once a referral is received it is prioritised by our Occupational Therapy team triage.

A letter will be written to the person who referred and the parent or carer when they make a decision about the outcome of the referral triage.

For more information, please visit the Children and Young People's Occupational Therapy in Coventry Website.


024 7696 1455

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View full details of Paediatric Continence Service


Paediatric Continence provides specialist assessment, advice and treatment for children with the continence problems, daytime wetting and nocturnal enuresis. 

How do I know if my child has a continence problem? 

Daytime wetting 

Leaking urine after we expect a child to be toilet trained is very common: one in seven children aged four and one in 20 children aged nine are affected; it ranges from damp patches in your child’s pants to a full-blown pee accident.

Bedwetting (Nocturnal enuresis) 

Bedwetting happens when a child unconsciously empties their bladder whilst they’re asleep. Wetting the bed is a common childhood condition affecting half a million children and teenagers in the UK. It’s not your child’s fault if they wake up with wet sheets and it doesn’t mean they’re lazy.

What can I do if my child has a continence problem?

If you are concerned that your child has a difficulty, you can get information and advice in the first instance from your health visitor, school nurse or GP. You should see you GP if you suspect your child is constipated or has a urinary tract infection. Health visitors and school nurses will provide initial advice and support with toilet training daytime wetting and bedwetting.

Support is also available through 

When should your child be referred to the Paediatric continence service? 

If the child or young person continues to experience problems with daytime wetting and/or nocturnal enuresis after following advice from the health visitor or school nurse, they may benefit from a referral to the specialist paediatric continence service. This can be made by your health visitor ,school nurse or GP.

The specialist offer 

Some children require specialist assessment of their continence problems and should be referred to the Paediatric Continence service. After referral, you may be invited to group parent information session at which you will be provided with advice and information about your child’s condition including practical advice that you should start prior to initial assessment in the clinic.

After attending the group session your child will be invited for initial assessment (usually at the City of Coventry Health Centre). During the initial assessment, treatment options will be discussed and a treatment plan formulated. Follow up appointments will review and adjust the treatment plan.

All treatment plans require support from parents and carers and the child needs to be motivated to resolve the problem for treatment to be effective.

In some cases support from school may be required, this may include encouraging children to drink during the day allowing access to the toilet during lessons and continence management plan may need to be written.



024 7696 1416

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View full details of Physiotherapy - Adults


There are two main types of Adult physiotherapy. One is the outpatient services of the Coventry Musculoskeletal Service and the Women’s Health Service, and the other is  the Community Service, which includes some clinic appointments as well as home visits.

Coventry Musculoskeletal Service (CMS)

This service is for patients who require a restoration of movement and function when someone is affected by a musculoskeletal injury, illness or disability. We aid the rehabilitation of patients with a musculoskeletal injury through assessing, advising and providing treatment for the problem. It can also help to reduce your risk of musculoskeletal injury or illness in the future.

The service can only be accessed via a referral from a Coventry based GP.

Women’s Health Service

This service is for women who are experiencing continence problems, pelvic organ prolapses, and pelvic pain. Treatment of your symptoms will depend on the type of problem you have and the findings from your individual assessment. Treatments may include advice on diet, fluid intake, bladder retraining and exercise programmes as well as other medical treatment and specialist equipment.

The service can be accessed via a referral from your GP, Nurse, Consultant, Physiotherapist, Midwife or Health Visitor

Community Therapy

This service is for patients who require assistance to improve or reduce deterioration of movement and function when someone is affected by a musculoskeletal, neurological, respiratory condition or who is generally deteriorating in their ability to cope with daily activities. We aid rehabilitation by assessing, advising (patients and carers/family) and providing some treatment, focussing on realistic goals that patients want to achieve in the short term.

The service can be accessed via a referral from a Coventry based GP

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View full details of Physiotherapy - Children and Young People


What is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a therapy that works to help people move about and lead as active a life as possible. Physiotherapists who work with children often look at how their motor skills are developing and give advice on how to encourage good development and how to improve skills.

Physiotherapists also work with children who have certain conditions or disabilities to help them keep their muscles and joints in the best condition and to help them to be active.

What can I do to help my child or young person's motor skills develop?

There is lots you can do to encourage motor development, for example taking your child to clubs such as swimming, dancing, team games or martial arts, or to soft play or the park.  For more ideas visit our website 

What can I do if I think my child needs Physiotherapy?

If you are concerned that your child has a difficulty, you will need to be referred to the Physiotherapy service by a professional.

People you can talk to about this include:

Your child’s GPs

• A health professional that your child is already known to such as their Consultant, Occupational Therapist, Health Visitor

• The school nurse attached to your child’s school

• Preschool education services or Early Support Workers

• Your child’s social worker

They will need to refer to us by filling out a form about your child.  They will be able to get the form either by phoning us.

If you have been known to our service previously, you may be able to re-refer without going through another professional. To do this you will need to ring our department on 024 7696 1455.

When may a child with a difficulty need to see a Physiotherapist?

If you have a concern about how your child is developing, you should firstly speak to either their Health Visitor or GP. They may wish for your child to be seen by a Physiotherapist for an assessment:

• If a child is missing their motor milestones

• If a child is in pain when they move

• If a child moves around in a very different way to other children

• If a child has a disability or condition which means they need help to keep their joints active and healthy

What are common conditions Children’s Physiotherapists see?

• Toe walking

• Developmental Delay

• Cerebral Palsy

• Muscular Dystrophy

• Genetic conditions

• Musculoskeletal conditions  eg fractures, sprains, Osgood Schlatters

• Chronic Pain conditions

• Prematurity

When won’t a Physiotherapist see my child?

A Physiotherapist won’t need to see your child if:

• Your child does not have a Coventry GP

• They are over 18 at the time of referral

• They have been recently discharged from the service and have no new needs or there is no additional intervention which is needed

• You child presents with in-toeing (pigeon toes) under the age of 6, that is not impacting on their functional ability

• Your child has flat feet. This would need a referral to a podiatrist.

Where do Physiotherapists work?

Our team is based in the centre of Coventry. We offer appointments at a location most suitable to carry out the assessment or intervention. This will be either the clinic at the City of Coventry Health Centre in the City Centre, a school or nursery or at a child’s home.

At the City of Coventry Health Centre we have specially designed treatment rooms and a gymnasium. It is also where we usually run our group sessions.

What are the Physiotherapy treatment options?

For many children their needs can be met by having a detailed assessment which supports family/carers to understand why a difficulty it occurring. The Physiotherapist will also provide information and activity suggestions to improve motor development or a particular skill. Many things will improve with specific practice and typically children are discharged after one or two appointments.

Some children need a specific course of intervention in order to treat a difficulty. This intervention may be carried out weekly for a few weeks. For some children this will include group sessions, Hydrotherapy or a programme of sessions with a skilled member of the physiotherapy team. We work closely with educational services and other health professionals to ensure that any recommendations we make are carried out throughout the child’s whole day, as this will make them more effective.

A small number of children need more regular Physiotherapy input. This may be to prevent their joints or muscles becoming weaker or compromised, or perhaps to support others in helping a child’s overall development. If this is the case for your child we will work closely with other staff involved to ensure we are all working for the same goals.

The types of intervention we typically offer are:

• Bespoke advice and recommendations

• Specific liaison with other professionals

• School visit

• Individual treatment sessions with either a Physiotherapist or a skilled Physiotherapy assistant

• Group treatment sessions

• Prescription of specialist equipment

• Hydrotherapy sessions

Here are examples of the current groups we run:

• Pilates: A mat-based group session that exercises the upper and lower muscle groups and the core of the body. This has an overall effect on strength, flexibility, co-ordination and posture.

• Baby Group: A developmental play group for babies and parents with identified developmental delay. It is based around floor play such as tummy time, rolling, early sitting and transition skills on the floor. The sessions run for six weeks and have input from both Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy.

• Little Movers: A motor development group for pre-school age children. It is play-oriented and works on functional skills such as crawling, pulling to stand, and play in supported standing. The sessions run for six weeks.


Links with other services

We have strong links with other services and work closely with other professionals involved in your child’s care.

Some examples of this are:

• Orthopaedic Consultants – this is so we can ensure that we are timing our input around any interventions your child’s Consultant is carrying out

• School staff – we work closely with schools to make sure all staff working with a child know how to handle them physically and how to support their development.

Physiotherapists offer therapy in a variety of settings across the city including, schools and nurseries, other NHS settings, clinic rooms at the City of Coventry Health Centre as well as seeing children and young people in their own homes. The input required from our service will determine the best environment to see the child/young person.

Can I use this service?

Our service is for children/young people who have a Coventry GP.

We also give advice to parents, carers and other professionals such as teachers as part of a child/young person's therapy programme.

The service is provided to children and young people from 0 to 18 (19 if still in school).Initial referrals are accepted only from other professionals. Re-referrals can be made by anyone relevant to the child/young person, with the child/young person and their family/carer's consent.

Once referrals are received they are screened and prioritized according to urgency of need and placed accordingly on a waiting list. The child or young person's family/carer and the professional will be notified that the referral has been received.

Your views and how to get involved

Parents/Carers are fully involved at every step of the assessment process and play a key role in intervention their children/young people receive. This includes jointly setting therapy goals.



024 7696 1455


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View full details of Speech and Language Therapy - Children and Young People


What is Speech and Language Therapy? 

Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) provides assessment, advice and intervention for children who have difficulties communicating (understanding and/or expressing their needs) or have eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties.

How do I know if my child has a difficulty with speech, language or communication? 

Children typically develop certain skills at certain age ranges. However it is worth noting that all children are different and that there is a very wide range of ‘typical’ development.  You may be concerned if your child has:

  • unclear speech
  • a stutter/stammer
  • difficulty understanding you
  • difficulty using the right words or making sentences
  • an unusual voice quality
  • difficulty talking in certain social situations or environments

What can I do if my child has a difficulty with speech, language or communication (SLC)?

There are lots you can do to encourage development of SLC.  Have a look at the Coventry Children's SLT website for some great ideas.

If you are concerned that your child has a difficulty, in the first instance you should speak to your health visitor, school or nursery staff. They will have had specific training in order to offer advice and some intervention.

When may a child need to see a speech and language therapist? 

Many children will experience difficulties with their communication or eating and drinking at some point in their life. Most of these children will make progress naturally, others may benefit from advice and support from their health visitor/ nursery/ school.  Some children however will need some specific support from the Speech and Language Therapy service.

We offer appropriate levels of support to meet a child’s needs in the following ways:

The universal offer

Communication development is best supported through a child’s everyday routine and experiences and by those who spend the most time with the children (ie parents/ education staff).

This way they get more opportunities to practice the skills they will need to use in the environments that they use those skills. 

Children who attend a special school often have a range of more complex difficulties, which may include communication.

The Speech and Language Therapy team aim for these children and young people to have access to a total communication environment, where spoken language is supported by objects, signs and symbols if appropriate. 

The specialist offer

Some children need input from the Speech and Language Therapy team for a period of time following on from the universal support. If this is the case, a child can be referred directly to the Speech and Language Team. The person making the referral will be asked to provide details on what universal support has already been offered to the child . This helps us to understand what support has been put in place already.  

Please use the referral form to refer a child into this service. Anyone who knows or works with a child/young person can refer to our service (with parental consent), the referral system is open to all including parents/carers.

All referrals are looked at by a qualified speech and language therapist to ensure the most appropriate management is offered to the child. All children/young people accepted to the service will be offered an assessment with a speech & language therapist. If we need to carry out an initial assessment we will contact the family/carer directly to arrange this. The initial assessment may be offered in a variety of settings (school/ nursery/ home/ clinic).

Following the initial assessment the therapist will discuss the findings and next steps with you. On some occasions, the therapist may need time to score the assessments before contacting you to discuss the outcome. The Speech and Language Team provide evidence-based intervention and support for a number of specific difficulties.

All interventions continue to require support from parents, carers and education colleagues to be successful and the Speech and Language Team work in partnership to achieve this. Following assessment, advice will be given and children/young people may receive intervention as appropriate. To achieve the best outcomes, the Speech and Language Team work together with:

  • The child/ young person
  • Their family/carers
  • Their nursery or school
  • Other important people in a child/young person's life.

Intervention can be:

  • 'Indirect' where advice and activities are suggested. These are carried out by families/carers and other professionals such as school staff.
  • 'Direct' where the child is seen more regularly by a speech & language therapist or speech & language therapy assistant with follow up work to be carried out at home/ school/ nursery.

Parents/carers are invited to all assessment and intervention sessions. The speech and language therapists set their speech and language therapy targets along with the child / young person and their families. 

Some children have very specific needs which require our input urgently. This includes children with swallowing difficulties or those who have recently had a major head injury or surgery, leading to sudden onset speech, language or communication difficulties. These children tend to be referred directly to us via their doctor. 

The service is based at City of Coventry Health Centre (4th floor) Stoney Stanton Road, Coventry CV1 4FS

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Services to keep you healthy and well

  • Pharmacists
  • School Nurses
  • Health Visitors
  • GPs
  • Specialist nurses for children who are looked after

Services who will see you quickly if you are very unwell or have had an accident

  • An accident and emergency department such as University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire
  • A walk in centre such as Coventry City Health Centre
  • An urgent appointment at your GP surgery

Services for children and young people with specific illnesses and conditions or a difficulty/concern.

You may be referred to a service by a professional such as your GP or health visitor or you may be able to refer yourself

  • Hospital Specialists
  • Community children’s doctor (paediatricians)
  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Dieticians
  • Mental Health Services
  • Learning Disability Services
  • Neuro-disability Services
  • Community Children’s Nurses

Working together for children with additional needs

Health professionals working with a child or young person share information to make sure they are working together. They should let you know how they do this.

Sometimes sharing information must be done – for example a Paediatrician or a physiotherapist will want to know the outcome of a hospital test such as an x-ray or scan so they can make sure they are doing the right thing for the child or young person. Sometimes this is routine; like when a learning disability specialist copies a letter to the GP so the GP has a full understanding of what is happening for that child or young person.

There are times when information has to be shared immediately, such as when there is a concern about a child or young person’s safety.

Working together for children and young people having an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment.

When an education, health and care needs assessment is requested for a child or young person, it is discussed with a group called a panel. The panel will talk about if they need any advice from health professionals. This information is used to help make a decision about if a child or young person needs an Education, Health and Care Plan and to make sure that the child or young person is known to the right specialists.

If a health service is asked to provide advice to support an education, health and care assessment they must provide the information within 6 weeks. They may do this be sending a letter or report from the last time they saw they child. They may do this by providing a triage phone call where they can find out if a child needs a specialist assessment and what advice will be helpful whilst they wait for this. They may do this by seeing the child and their family and then writing a report letter.

EHCP: Special Educational Need or Health Need?

If the child or young person has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), the advice and provision from a health professional may be classed as either a special educational need or a health need.

If it is described as a special educational need, this means that the child or young person needs the EHCP so that they can access the curriculum / learning opportunities.

If it is described as a health need, the child or young person keep the child/young person healthy and as well as possible. Some provision will be in both parts of a plan. For example a speech and language therapist may see a child in school to practice/develop specific speech skills. They may also see a child at home to talk about swallowing and safety around eating and drinking.

Specific health services

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