Additional Needs & Disabilities

What Is An Additional Need?

If your child has a health or developmental condition that is impacting on their everyday life, this is often referred to as an additional need. It may be that from birth your child has faced some extra challenges or these may have become more obvious as your child has grown up.

Your child's additional needs could be developmental, physical, learning, behavioural or sensory. Their needs might be easily met with a regular plan of care or a creative approach to their management. Some additional needs may continue throughout life and as a family there will be times you may require support from a number of services.

All children should have access to the right services, at the right time, to make sure they can reach their full potential.

Dive Deeper

Finding Out Your child Has Additional Needs

Whatever your situation you may have a lot of different thoughts, feelings and worries.

You may;

  • Be pregnant or have just had your baby and been told that your child is likely to have health and / or developmental issues.
  • Be concerned that your child is not developing as you had expected and be worried about what this might mean for them.
  • Have a child who has been recently diagnosed with a condition that will need extra support
  • Have known for some time that your child has additional needs. 


Finding out or realising your child will need extra support is hard. You and others who love your child will have to adjust to what this means for you all.

The way you cope is individual and may not be the same as for other family members. This is normal. How you feel can change from day to day, maybe even minute to minute. Sometimes you might find it hard to look to the future.

There are no wrong feelings. You might feel angry, sad, lonely and confused or you might feel strong, determined, and protective – maybe all on the same day.

Be patient with yourself and others it takes time – even your difficult feelings do not take away from how much you love your child.

  • Find friends and family that you can talk to easily.
  • Understand that you and your partner may not both be feeling the same. You may find it hard to be there for each other sometimes. Agree to check in on how you are both feeling without judging.
  • Make sure information you look at about any diagnosis is up to date and still relevant. Care and treatments are progressing all the time.
  • Try not to look too far ahead. Mindfulness can help keep focus on what is happening now.

Even when feel you have been coping for a while, there can be bumps in the road. These can cause the difficult feelings to flare up again. Be kind to yourself, ask for help when you are struggling and recognise you are doing your best in a difficult situation.

Getting The Right Help

Your child may need to be referred to other services for assessment or may already be under the care of specialists and receiving support.

Each child is unique and their needs will vary. It can be hard to know what help is out there. There is so much information online it can be overwhelming.

  • Get in touch with Norfolk & Waveney Children & Young People’s Health Services by calling our Just One Number team on 0300 300 0123 to discuss your situation. They can help you plan the best next steps.
  • Norfolk Community Directory may have details of local charities and services.
  • You may be entitled to financial support - check at GOV.UK.

If your child is at nursery or school, talk to them about any concerns you may have, they can reassure you and / or help you find the right help.

Online Course

Register below for FREE online learning to help you understand your child. The course is suitable for mums, dads, grandparents, friends and relations, and is free to anyone living in Norfolk.

Online Course for Parents of Children with Additional Needs

This online course is for parents with a child with additional needs. It is for parents, relatives and friends of children who may have a physical or learning disability or who may have autistic traits. This short course will help you learn about:

  • Understanding and responding to your child's feelings
  • Self-regulation & anger
  • Communication and tuning in
  • Having fun together

Sign up for FREE with access code: JON70

Find out more


Additional Needs Leaflet


Learning Disability Health Check Flyer


Learning Disability Healthcare Register


Who can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If your child attends school or an early years setting, talk to them about any concerns you may have, they can reassure you and / or help you find the right help.

Early Childhood and Family Service supports all Norfolk families with children under 5 years.

To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum below.

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