People involved in the care of your child with disabilities

There are often different healthcare professionals involved in the care of your child. If some of the titles are unfamiliar to you, read short descriptions explaining what they do and how they can help.

Your doctor

Your doctor can tell you about your child's condition and treatment. If this is not the case, your doctor can refer your child to a specialist. Your doctor can also refer your child for any tests or hospital treatment that might be necessary. They can tell you about any clinics or organisations.

Key worker

Some families have a key worker. A key worker will see you regularly and make sure you have all the information you need. They will also make sure that services from all the different areas, including health, education and social services, are well co-ordinated.

A key worker can act as a central point of contact for professionals working with your family and share information where necessary.


Paediatricians are doctors who specialise in working with children. Your doctor may refer you to a paediatrician if you are concerned about your child's development. A paediatrician can give you a diagnosis about your child's condition, answer any questions you may have and refer your child to specialist services.

Paediatric occupational therapist

Paediatric occupational therapists specialise in working with children. They carry out assessments to see if your child would benefit from using specialist equipment like adapted cups, buggies or chairs and provide advice on lifting and handling your child safely.

Paediatric occupational therapists can also help children improve skills such as:

  • eating and dressing
  • co-ordination
  • using their hands - often known as fine motor skills
  • perception -  for example awareness of their body and space

Communication support worker

A communication support worker works alongside teachers to provide sign language for young deaf children in nursery or school.

Special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO)

A SENCO is a member of staff at a nursery, playgroup or school who co-ordinates special educational needs activities and services within that school. In a small school, the head teacher or deputy may take on this role. In a larger school there may be a special educational needs co-ordinating team.

Educational psychologist

An educational psychologist is a qualified teacher also trained as a psychologist. They can assess your child's development, provide support and advice and can help plan for future activities and services.

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