Frequently Asked Questions
This a complicated field of paediatrics with strong links to other professionals. Below I list some of the most common questions I am asked.
What happens at the consultation
At an advice consultation I will take a history and comment on any reports or information that you have sent me. I would not carry out a formal assessment on your child but I will talk to them and may carry out a physical examination where appropriate if they are present.
For diagnostic assessments I try to reduce stress by allowing both parents and siblings into the room with the child (if they come to the appointment) and while I take a history the child is allowed to play with toys and settle into the room. For the one to one assessment I prefer the child to be in the room with parents only so that they are not distracted.
I will always tell the parent what I think at the end of the consultation, even though I may not be able to give an overall diagnosis and I try to give immediate advice and support when required and I produce a report with a conclusion and recommendations going forward.
Do I have to have an assessment
No. You do not need to have a diagnostic assessment for your child. I offer advice consultations and I can suggest what may be required to support your child.
Do I need Diagnosis
No. You do not need a diagnosis necessarily. Educational provision should be based on need. However often professionals particularly, in education find a diagnosis helpful to guide and justify the support that they may need to put in place.
Can I still be seen on the NHS
Yes. My consultations are entirely independent of your access to NHS care. In my reports I summarise the child’s needs and my reports can be used to help support NHS referrals via the GP.
Does a private assessment affect my access to educational support?
In my experience my reports have been submitted many times for children to support applications. Please check with your Local Education Authority or your local Information Advice & Support Services Network
Do I need a GP referral
I do not require a referral from a GP, although this can be very helpful. Most insurers will require that the client is referred to me via a GP.
What needs to be in a referral letter
A GP letter needs to state the child’s difficulties and explain what assessment is required i.e. why the child cannot be seen by an acute paediatrician / describe assessment required.
Can I claim through my health insurance company
I am registered with all the major insurance companies including BUPA. To gain appropriate authorisation for my assessment it is important that you discuss with insurer the assessment that is being suggested including the cost, otherwise you will be liable. Please remember that your contract is with me not the insurer.
It is important that your check you policy documents for exclusions and you aware of any excess on your policy. I find it helpful to check whether assessment is available up until diagnosis with your policy.
What are your fees
Please contact me to discuss the fee for your specific consultation.
Why do I request information from other sources
It is good practice in some assessments to gather information from other sources such as nursery / school. This is only done with your consent but if insufficient information is provided, the full diagnosis process may be hindered.
What does a Paediatric Occupational Therapist (OT) do
Occupational therapists support a child or young person’s day to day functioning, in whatever setting. In an assessment a Therapist will observe and discuss every day tasks, to identify areas of difficulty. This may be, sensory, physical, emotional, environmental or social. Through assessment and then therapy Occupational therapist support children to fulfill their occupational roles, i.e. to be part of a family, play, look after themselves, make friends and go to school to learn. Occupational therapists use fun, education and play.
Paediatric Occupational Therapists assess:
• Gross Motor Skills
• Fine Motor Skills
• Visual Perception
• Sensory Processing
• Self Care skills
• Organisational skills
What does a Paediatric Speech and Language therapist do
Speech therapists assess and support a child or young person who is having difficulty communicating. There may be an obvious delay in speech and language from an early age (for example expressive and receptive speech delay, or speech production), feeding difficulties or more subtle difficulties with social communication and interaction e.g. difficulty maintaining eye contact or socialising with peers. Speech therapists also look at play and listening and attention skills. They work with clients to support their communication in whichever setting they are having difficulty. Much of our communication is made nonverbally (approximately 50 - 90% - depending on the context) and so without consistent eye contact one is likely to miss out on some of the conversation partner's message.
What does a Clinical Psychologist do
Clinical psychologists aim to reduce the distress and improve the psychological wellbeing of children and young people. They work with the child or young person and their families to find out the underlying cause for their difficulty and support them.
What does an Educational Psychologist do
They help children and young people to overcome difficulties, which affect their education. This may include consultation with school and parents, observation in school and cognitive assessment.
What is a SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator)
A SENCO is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the school's Special Educational Needs policy.
What is an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
An education, health and care (EHC) plan is for children and young people aged up to 25 who need more support than is available through special educational needs support. EHC plans identify educational, health and social needs and set out the additional support to meet those needs.