Posted on: 7 September 2023

We want to update you on Mindworks Surrey’s Neurodevelopmental (ND) Pathway transformation and changes that we are introducing.

Assessment of Needs (AoN) form pilot outcomes

In November 2022, aligned to the THRIVE framework for system change, we created the Spoke team to directly manage requests for support (referrals) from schools and launched the AoN referral form pilot. This element of THRIVE is a needs-based approach which identifies specific needs and helps provide support for children, young people and families as early as possible.

Following the pilot, and after monitoring the level of demand and listening to schools’ and families’ feedback, we are introducing the following adjustments to how requests for support into the Neurodevelopmental service are made. This is to ensure that we can provide the right specialist support at the right time.

Implementing strategies and interventions

The start of a new academic year is a transition which many children and young people can find challenging. It affects those transitioning from primary to secondary school but also those moving up year groups.

We are asking schools, together with families, to trial strategies and interventions, in line with the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines, for a minimum of 10 weeks to allow children and young people time to transition and settle back into school after the long summer holiday. We find that when children have time to settle into their new environment and adopt specific strategies, then this can make a considerable difference and, often, many do not require further intensive support or diagnosis. If these have been trialled for a minimum of 10 weeks and there are still concerns, then a request for support can be made via the Spoke team in the usual way from 1 December.

Differential diagnosis and additional needs which require getting help and getting more help

Before a child or young person can progress on the ND pathway, we need to ensure that there is not a differential diagnosis or need such as trauma, learning need, mental health, attachment, etc. NICE guidelines advise that all other areas of need and risks are considered and addressed by the appropriate service or agency before any request for diagnostic ND assessment is made. If a differential diagnosis is suspected or there are additional needs, families should be signposted or a referral made to the appropriate service(s) before making a request for support to the ND service.

Our goal is that these changes and improvements will ensure that children and young people receive the right specialist support at the right time. As always, we will continue to monitor and improve the service and welcome your feedback.

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