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.
Whatever your situation you may have a lot of different thoughts, feelings and worries.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Qwell provides free, safe and anonymous mental wellbeing support for adults in Norfolk and Waveney from a professional team of qualified counsellors.
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.