Finding support for your child such as therapy, learning support and care depends on several things including your child's age, their age when they had a stroke, and the impact of their stroke.
You may receive help while in hospital and in the community, or you might be seeking support while your child is in childcare or at school or college. Help can be tailored to different needs, from children with complex health problems and disabilities, to children needing a small amount of extra support at school.
Although childhood stroke is a rare condition, the disabilities and problems it can cause are common to many children and young people. Treatment and support should be available in your area for things like communication problems, behavioural problems, sight loss, mobility problems and learning difficulties.
After leaving hospital
If your child has any support needs after leaving hospital, they should have an assessment, and a personalised support plan* put in place in their childcare or education setting. This plan may be from the medical team, your child's school nurse or it may be an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) for children with higher support needs.
*Personalised support plans:
In England, an Education, Health and Care Plan
In Northern Ireland, a Statement of Special Educational Needs
In Scotland, a Coordinated Support Plan
In Wales, an Individual Development Plan
Visit your local council's website and search for the 'local offer' to find out more about referrals to children's services.
Moving between services
When a child leaves one service, such as leaving hospital and going back to school, it can mean a change in the agency responsible for their care. This might mean you have to re-look at the help available for them at each stage, to avoid gaps in their support. Even within a single organisation such as a school, you might find yourself giving the same information to several different professionals. It is often best not to assume that everyone is aware of your child's needs.
It is not always easy to find out what support is available but there are some useful websites and sources of information below:
Here are some things to try:
Make sure the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO), or the teacher responsible for additional support needs, has received your child's latest medical letters, including a recent speech and language assessment.
Introduce yourself to your child's teachers at the beginning of every school year. Even if they get details about your child from a SENCO, it is very helpful to speak to them yourself. You can give more individual information.
If your child has emotional or behavioural problems, ask the school about a communication assessment, as communication problems may be an underlying cause of these issues. Your child may need support, such as a psychologist or counselling.
If your child is not getting the help they need
If you feel your child needs more support or is not getting the support they have been promised, speak to the SENCO at their school. They may be able to arrange more assessments or put new support in place.
If you feel that their needs are still not being met, you can write a complaint letter to the school and then contact the local authority.
Find out more about how to complain about SEN support in schools.
Free legal advice about getting SEND support in schools is available from Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (IPSEA).
Find out more about how to complain about SEN support in Wales
Find out more about how to complain about SEN support in Northern Ireland