Parent Carer is the term professionals use for anyone who looks after a child with special needs, whether it be a learning disability, physical disability, behavioural problem or other medical condition. Often this person will be the child’s mother or father, but it could be another relative or foster parent. Parents who look after their adult children may also be referred to as parent carers.
If your child has special needs, you will think of yourself as a parent first and foremost. However, by identifying yourself as a carer you may be able to access some of the specialist services outlined in this section and elsewhere int he information pack.
A GP or health visitor is usually the first point of contact when you have concerns about your child’s health. The doctor or health visitor can make a referral to a paediatrician or other health professional. Once your child has been properly assessed, the appropriate treatments or services for your child will be arranged.
Services designed to help you, as a parent carer, are provided following a carer’s assessment.
If you need advice on any health issue you can call NHS 111. They can deal with urgent and non-urgent queries and give free, confidential advice on medical conditions and issues relating to the health service, both locally and nationally.
Around one in five children will have special educational needs at some time in their school lives. These children can often be successfully accommodated in mainstream schools, with additional support. Those children whose needs can only be met in a special school should have the opportunity of links with a mainstream school, to experience being with their peers in a social or curricular setting.
Contact a Family gives support and advice to parent carers whatever the medical condition of their child. They have a national Helpline and their branch in Southwark is a good contact point for services and other organisations locally.
The following organisations provide services to people with learning disabilities and their carers.
For carers of children with learning disabilities, Mencap is a national charity which provides information, advice and support. Information is also available from BILD (British Institute of Learning Disabilities).
Southwark Parent Carers Council work with partners in education, health and social care to give families a say in the design and provision of services.
Children’s Services: Sunshine House provides community health services in a variety of locations across Lambeth and Southwark to bring hospital care closer to you.
Nearest tube – Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).
Nearest Railway Station – Elephant & Castle
Buses from Elephant and Castle – ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45