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:
Bubble of Support Links
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.
A website developed by a local paediatrician gives parents an overview of autism and provides advice and guidance to parents:
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: https://www.autism.org.uk/about/strategies/visual-supports.aspx
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 at www.pbsnec.co.uk which provides information and resources to support families around PBS on upcoming events, courses and latest news.
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:
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.
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 / Early Help:
Speech and Language:
Returning to School; support and strategies for managing behaviour and worry:
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.
Parent Carer Forums
Hartlepool Parent Carer Forum: waiting confirmation
Daisy Chain Family Support Service
Carers Support Service
Stockton: waiting confirmation
Sunflower Sensory Service
0-19 Service Stockton – Growing Healthy Service – Stockton-on-Tees
0-19 for Hartlepool – The Children’s Hub
Speech and Language Therapy
Meeting Educational Needs
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 – work is still ongoing to change this assessment process, but at this time, please continue to speak to your health visitor, GP or other health professional.
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.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org
You can download the following Pathway timeline to help you follow the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) assessment process.