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What if you have concerns about your 0 to 4 year old child's development

Support and advice on offer that can help you and your child.

Last updated: 16 August 2022

All children develop at different rates; however, to get a general idea, ‘milestones’ are used to help track a child’s development and to give an indication as to whether they are progressing at a ‘typical’ rate.

To find out if your child is developing at the expected rate, view the interactive guide to child development from birth to five years old on the NHS website.

As a parent, it can be worrying if your child is slower in achieving their milestones such as sitting, talking or playing with others . If you are worried about your child’s health or development, it is important to talk to someone.  There is a range of support and advice on offer that can help you and your child. 

Top Tips for raising your concerns

  • Write a list of questions and take them with you
  • Take your child’s health record (red book) so that any advice and actions can be written down by the person you are speaking to
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand
  • Ask what happens next and what to expect

What will happen next?

Children are offered development checks with the health visiting team at between 8 to 12 months and again between 2 to 2 ½ to see if they are progressing as expected. If the health visiting team has any concerns, your child may be monitored  or referred  to a specialist health service for further assessment or support. Alternatively you can talk to your health visitor, GP or drop into your local children’s and family centre if worried about your child. If your child is at nursery, discuss your concerns with them too.

If there are concerns about your child, your health visitor, GP or school may:

  • Give you advice on how to support your child
  • Signpost you to local groups/ drop in’s  that can help your child’s development
  • Monitor  and review progress
  • Refer to another more specialist health team

If referred on to a specialist health team, these are the professionals who may be involved in your child’s care:

  • Community Paediatricians : A team of doctors who provide assessment where  there are concerns about their development
  • Community Children’s nurses :A team of nurses who have experience of working with children with complex health needs
  • Audiology: Specialists  in hearing problems
  • Dietician: provides support and advise on food, diet and nutrition
  • Speech & Language therapists: provide support for speech, language and communication development
  • Physiotherapists: Work with children to help them  with sitting , moving  and walking
  • Occupational therapists: work with children to help them develop everyday skills such as dressing, writing, playing
  • Child and Adolescent Mental health services (CAMHS): a team of nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists who provide mental health assessment, treatment  and support
  • Wood Street Child Development Team: a multi-disciplinary team of nurses, doctors and therapist who offer specialist assessment, advice and a potential diagnosis of the child’s difficulties.

Some children may only be known to one health team whilst others may be known to several depending on their needs.

On the Local Offer, you can search for information on the different health services locally. It includes information on who the service is for, how to access the service and who to contact for more information.

All professionals in Waltham Forest coordinate their support by sharing information and jointly planning how to achieve the best outcomes. If your child is supported by a number of professional’s from health, education and social care, they will work together as a multi-agency team with you and your child.