About this page
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.
Family Support Service
If you live in the Tees Valley, the Family Support Service, delivered by Daisy Chain, is here for you. The team supports 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 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 Darlington drop-in sessions for local families can be found here.
The Family Support Service also provides a range of online learning opportunities covering a variety of topics to help support individuals and families.
New ‘needs led’ pathway
Over an 18 month period, health services, local authority, parent carer forums and Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations have worked together to design a new ‘needs led’ pathway to help support parents/carers and children where the child has a need associated with a neurodevelopmental condition, autism and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Working more closely together
Historically, the focus has been on the diagnosis, but more often than not, the diagnosis did not always meet the needs of the child. Consultation carried out with parents, revealed that the health, education and local authority systems needed to work more closely together to make sure services were available to meet the needs of children.
Changes also needed to be made to the ‘diagnostic’ element of the service to ensure children did not have to undergo unnecessary assessments over an elongated period of time. We still have work to do to get the waiting times down but new processes will help with this and more importantly, your child and family should feel supported during this assessment process.
We want to offer more support to you and your child when you first become concerned that your child might have an additional neurodevelopmental need. The diagram below highlights services which are available in your local area which you can access free of charge. There are links further down the page to allow you to access more information about the service. These services will help you explore your child’s needs and can offer you support and techniques to help meet these needs. Parent Carer Forums are a great place to start as you are able to speak with other parents who have been on a similar journey. Alternatively if you don’t feel ready to speak to other parents yet, then there is a wealth of information available through the virtual offer.
Darlington Bubble of Support
Services to help meet the needs of your child and family
- Self help / virtual offer
Please take time to explore this section, as there are a selection of strategies, activities and webinars for you to access. All have been recommended by NHS England and the Regional Parent Carer Forum.
Sensory ideas for the home
Positive behaviour support
- Speech and language therapy
Speech and language therapy in Darlington is provided by North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust Speech and language therapy for children
Other 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
County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust Children’s Occupational Therapy
Returning to School; support and strategies for managing behaviour and worry.
Watch the returning to school video.
- Parent Carer Guides
Parent carer organisations from across the region have worked together with NHS England to develop the North Cumbria & North East Children & Young People’s Peer Network newsletter which is full of advice, signposting and training opportunities. NCNE Children and Young Peoples Network Newsletter April 2021
Other information is available on the Darlington Local Offer website
- Darlington Parent Carer Forum
Darlington Parent Carer Forum – run by parents for parents.
- Family Support
Contact can provide support to families where they think their child could have a neurodevelopmental need. Please see flyer for more details.
You can also find more information on their website
- 0-19 Service
Growing Healthy Darlington provides 0-5 and 5-19 services to young people and families in Darlington: 0-19 Service Darlington
- Darlington Local Offer
Darlington Borough Council SEND (Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities)
Local Offer website
Meeting Educational Needs
- Mental Health
More information can be found on the Local Offer about mental health support. Kooth online mental wellbeing community – free, safe and anonymous support
Darlington CAMHS Community Team for Children and Young People
Here is a link to the Learning Disability Matter website for families; it has a range of resources to support family resilience and health and wellbeing of children and young people with a learning disability.
- Early Years
The Local Offer is Darlington Borough Council’s publication of the services that the local authority expects to be available across education, health, and social care for children and young people (0-25) in our area, who have special educational needs and/or are disabled, including those who do not have education health and care (EHC) plans.
More information about Early Years
- Carers Support
Darlington local area recognises the role and needs of carers and has a variety of support available to people who provide care.
Darlington Borough Council – Caring For Someone
Durham County Carers Support
- Other resources
North Tees Autism information and guidance
Darlington Borough Council Early Years and Childcare
Darlington Borough Council Early Help Assessment
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
Self-Help / Virtual Offer
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 we are making and why they are happening.
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation have made all their videos about managing behaviour that challenges available online.
The Challenging Behaviour website 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 is working with partners from across the health and care sector, including Northumbria University, and has developed a website which provides information and resources to support families around PBS on upcoming events, courses and latest news.
More information can be found about behaviour on the Local Offer at Living Well Darlington
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.
Positive Behaviour Support:
Click here for the Positive Behavioural Support website designed with parents across the North East and North Cumbria which provides resources and information for parents, carers and professionals.
Below are the links 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 (Jillian Allan and Shona Chambers) working alongside Alison Branch (North East and Cumbria PBS Community of Practice) and is set to expand in the coming year.
The film was made by Beacon Films and funded by an NHS England / NHS Improvement Sharing and Celebrating Patient and Public Involvement in Healthcare Community Grant.
Other helpful resources are available on the Local Offer: