Early Years Health and Development Team

We are a small team made up of a Specialist Nurse for Early Years and three Health and Development Practitioners who provide ongoing assessment and support for children under the age of five with an identified delay in an area of their development.

The Specialist Nurse for Early Years will provide ongoing support for early year’s children with additional needs, identified health concerns and work closely with parents/carers. The Specialist Nurse will work with other key professionals such as Health Visitors, Community Paediatricians and the local authority Early Years Team to ensure all families receive the support needed to meet their children’s needs.   This includes being a key link for providing support for those often tricky issues such as sleep support, behaviour difficulties and other health concerns. The team works in partnership with parents, colleagues within health services, local authority and voluntary groups to promote health and wellbeing. Whilst also supporting parents in developing their children's independence skills, for example, in areas such as toileting.

The Health and Development Practitioner’s provide assessment and intervention for children from 0-5years with developmental delay, who require support to access all aspects of meaningful play. Activities are differentiated to support children in achieving their potential, providing parents with confidence to play with their child at their developmentally appropriate stage. Intervention is provided in a variety of settings, to enable parents and children to feel comfortable for example: light room sessions, group sessions, 1:1, nursery sessions and supporting families with external play activities.


Specific referral criteria:

•            Wigan Resident

•            Registered Wigan General Practitioner.

•            Aged 0-5 years- referrals will only be accepted prior to the end of the child’s Reception academic year at school.

•            Development difficulties are suspected including complex health needs and/or medical conditions impact the child’s development.


•            Identified Special Education Need, disability or developmental delay, including any child Diagnosed with Autism or under assessment for and/ or other medical complex condition.

•            Ongoing health concern- sleep difficulties, dietary issues, toileting difficulties/ needs associated with their development delay.


•            Identified development concern which requires further assessment and intervention

-The Health and Development practitioner’s offer direct support for children and families alongside modelling strategies to staff based in early years educational settings, working closely with a range of professionals and outside agencies with a strong focus upon on early intervention.

Services offered/ staff skills base:

•            Specialist Assessment of a child’s needs and identification of outcomes and goals for the child to support children to reach their full potential.

•            Advice and intervention on the basis of assessment of need, followed by evaluation of outcomes and future care planning.

•            Provide specialist strategies and care planning for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, and support in health areas such as- toileting difficulties, constipation management, sleep difficulties, behaviour management. This includes proactive management of health needs- including individuals with complex physical health needs.

•            Act as an advocate/ link between various professionals to ensure full holistic family centred support is offered to those families with children with SEND.

•            Outreach 1:1 sessions with a Health and Development Practitioner to identify areas of development and strategies to support development through play.

•            Health and Development Practitioner led groups for children with identified additional needs and developmental delay, such as Complex Needs Group, Social Communication Groups, and Sensory Groups

to provide stimulating learning environment through play and to provide parents/carers the strategies through play to support their child’s development. 

•            Specialist Nurse and Practitioner led workshops for parents/ carers to provide information and support in the most common health difficulties experienced.

•            Specialist Nurse Attendance at Local Authority parental workshops to provide outreach support/ advice.

•            Home visit support from the Specialist Nurse to offer 1:1 support for parents/ carers and children, this including pre and post diagnosis support in relation to any identified diagnosis.

•            Specialist Nurse to act as a link of support for professionals such as Health Visitors to provide that specialist knowledge and skills to offer guidance to support families.

•            Attendance at Early Help, safeguarding meetings to provide service input/ update.

•            The team attend Team Review meetings alongside the Community Paediatrician and other professionals, to offer health support, and any support following any possible diagnosis that may be made.  Currently facilitating Face to face post diagnostic parent carer training.

•            Specialist advice offered for the transition process for the child to access a nursery setting and school.