Children who have more complex needs and difficulties may require help to learn some of the skills they will need to cope with daily living. This page looks at the kinds of therapies available in Brighton and Hove.
If parents are concerned about their child’s speech and feel that they may not be forming intelligible words then it may be necessary for the child to be referred to a speech and language therapist. Help with movement and balance can be provided by a physiotherapist and help with daily living skills can be provided by an occupational therapist.
If you think your child has these kinds of difficulties or someone working with your child suggests that they do, you should be referred to the SLT service, with your consent. The SLT service will provide assessment, diagnosis and management of your child’s communication difficulties. After an initial assessment, your child may get direct sessions with a speech and language therapist on an individual basis or in a group. Or someone already working with your child, for example a TA at their school or their nursery worker, may get a programme of exercises or activities to use with your child.
In either case, the therapeutic programme will always be reviewed by the speech and language therapy service. Be aware that therapy will not automatically go on forever and may be put in place for a specific period of time.
Part of the SLT service focuses on children with more complex needs. This service is based at the Seaside View Child Development Centre. The help provided by the complex needs team may be given in association with PRESENS, your child’s special school or unit or their mainstream school.
For further information you can contact the Speech and Language Therapy team on 01273 242079 or visit Sussex Community NHS Trust’s web page about Speech and Language Therapy.
After assessment, an OT will write a report that identifies any areas where your child needs help. This might also include advice on programmes of activity, adapting tasks to your child’s ability or equipment.
Anyone can refer a child to the OT service, but the majority of referrals come from paediatricians or SENCOs in schools. All referrals go to the Seaside View Referrals Panel.
A word about the other kinds of OT
There’s another kind of OT, called a community occupational therapist, who is employed by social services to carry out assessments for families who need equipment and adaptations at home. Be aware that these won’t be the same OTs you meet through the health service. Read more about community OTs in our Help with daily life section
At Seaside View, the physiotherapists treat a wide range of conditions, including:
- Developmental delay
- Neurological or neuromuscular disorders such as Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy
- Congenital syndromes and metabolic diseases such as Down’s Syndrome, Rett Syndrome
- Co-ordination difficulties
Though based at Seaside View, the child development and disability physiotherapy service may also visit community settings such as schools, nurseries or homes.
Children can be referred to the Seaside View service by any professional working with their child, often their GP or health visitor. Referrals to the service at the Alex should come from hospital doctors, community paediatricians, GPs and health visitors.
The kinds of therapies Community CAMHS offer might include cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT, solution-focused brief therapy, systemic family therapy, motivational interviewing and narrative therapy. They also provide consultation for school staff, professionals and parents including some drop-in sessions. Specialist CAMHS may provide more intensive or long-term therapeutic interventions through mental health practitioners such as child psychiatrists.
There is a single point of referral to be considered for this kind of psychological therapy. For more information on getting a referral for psychological therapies, see the section on CAMHS in Specialist Health Services .
This is a local charity that provides conductive education for children with cerebral palsy and other physical needs. They organise groups according to the child’s ability and age and then devise a therapy programme for each group. It’s a free service, though they also run holiday play schemes for which you will need to pay. Find out more about Whoopsadaisy here.
Your child may be assessed as needing or benefiting from music therapy but this is not often offered. Your child’s school or another service would have to choose to buy this in. You may be referred to The Belltree Music Therapy Centre, based at Ash Cottage, Woodingdean. Or you could pay for some music therapy yourself privately, if you can afford it.
Therapies in private practice
If you feel your child would benefit from a particular therapy and you are in a position to pay for this privately, there are people like speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and psychologists who work in private practice. We cannot recommend any specific people here, but if you call our helpline, we may be able to give you details of independent therapists or professionals that other parents have used.
Complementary medicine includes treatments such as osteopathy, acupuncture, homeopathy, massage and aromatherapy. Some parents have found some of these treatments useful for themselves or their child. It can be difficult, though, to find out whether the practitioners have proper qualifications – often other parents are the best source of information, although some GPs have an interest in this area of medicine. Many of the established forms of complementary medicine have their own governing body or college, which can advise about finding a well-qualified practitioner.
Occasionally, some form of complementary medicine may be available under the NHS but more usually it has to be paid for privately or using Direct Payments (read more about Direct Payments). Some practitioners, however, will offer treatment on a sliding-scale of payment. The Dolphin House Children’s Clinic is a registered charity in Brighton, which offers a variety of natural therapies with a sliding scale of fees. You could also contact the Carers Centre to find out about any treatments that are currently available to carers or read about the Carers’ Card (part run by Amaze) – there are often discounts for complementary therapies when you have a Carers’ Card.