Complex Needs (CN) Team

What do we do?

The Complex Needs Team is made up of a Consultant Paediatrician (Children’s Doctor), a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, a Specialist Occupational Therapist, a Specialist Physiotherapist and a Specialist Teacher from the Specialist Inclusion Support Service (SISS) Multi-Sensory Impairment Team. More information about the team can be found here.

The team work together offering a comprehensive package of care, including joint assessments and interventions for children within groups or on an individual basis. We are committed to supporting families through diagnosis and offer child and family focused sessions, working in partnership with parents/carers, providing education, therapy and specific advice on feeding, positioning, sleeping, physical development and learning.

The service offers an integrated and coordinated approach for children using a holistic ‘Team Around the Family’ approach.

Who is the service for?

The Complex Needs Team work with children aged 0-5 years with complex difficulties or significant delay across multiple areas of their development, requiring intervention from multiple services.

How to make a referral

Parents, Children’s health professionals, GPs and those working in children’s pre-school settings can make a referral using the SPECIALIST ASSESSMENT SERVICE REFERRAL FORM. It is advised that, prior to making a referral, you discuss your concerns with health or educational professionals your child is known to or your GP.

Access Criteria

Children aged up to 5 years requiring involvement of a Paediatrician plus four areas of moderate – severe impairmentfrom the following;

Gross motor development, fine motor development, communication/language, dysphagia (feeding difficulties) or multi-sensory impairment (hearing, vision).

Children with a diagnosis of Trisomy 21 who fall outside of the expected developmental trajectory for this diagnosis across all areas of development can be referred.  The developmental trajectory is detailed in the insert in the Personal Child Health Record (PCHR) and is issued for  all new babies in the UK born with the condition. (Down Syndrome Development scales are also detailed at the end of this document to enable you to check development of the child).

Those children who do not meet the above stated criteria for referral to the Complex Needs team should be referred to individual community services and/or SISS team as appropriate to their needs.

Those children who fall outside this criteria should be referred to individual community services and/or SISS as appropriate to their needs. This may include some of the following services;

Waiting for your assessment

Once a child’s referral is received by the Specialist Assessment Service a panel of professionals will decide if it is an appropriate referral.

If a child is not accepted they will be referred on to the most appropriate service and the parent/carer and referrer will be informed.

What happens at the assessment?

You will have an initial conversation with a member of the team. From this, we will make a plan for your child’s assessment.

Prior to your multi-disciplinary assessment your child may be assessed by individual members of the team.

The multi-disciplinary assessment is usually held at Chelmsley Wood Primary Care Centre and takes approximately 90 minutes. The child will need to attend with their parents/carers. During this assessment, the Paediatrician, Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist and Specialist Teacher are usually present.

At the end of the assessment a plan will be agreed with parents/carers and intervention sessions, group or individual, will be offered as required.

Specialist Assessment Service Complex Medical Needs Frequently Asked Questions

Resources for parents and carers

The following resources may be useful to parents/carers of children referred to the CN team before, during and after their assessment.

Support for carers
  • Carers Direct: part of the NHS Choices website. It provides a gateway to comprehensive sources of information for carers. Helpline: 0300 123 1053
  • Contact: a UK-wide charity providing advice, information and support to the parents of all disabled children – no matter what their disability or health condition. Helpline: 0808 808 3555
  • Carers Trust: Work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenge of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems. They provide access to respite breaks, information, advice, education, training and employment opportunities. Head office: 0844 800 4361
  • Solihull Young Carers
Local Support Service
  • Solihull SENDIAS (Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support): offer support for children and young people with SEND and their parents/carers. The vision for the service is that children and young people with SEND, and their parents/carers, will be more aware of their entitlements, the options available and will be able to make informed decisions.  Information, advice and support for children and young people with SEND and their parents/carers will be impartial, free to access, accurate, confidential, comprehensive and easily accessible/understandable.
  • Solihull Local Offer: a website about services and support for children and young people with disabilities or special educational needs.
  • Solihull Family Information Service
Benefits and Allowances
Supporting your child
Families may wish to find more information or support from the following agencies or organisations:
Family Fund


Gives information concerning grants for disabled children.


Tel: 01904 550055

Newlife Foundation for disabled children


Newlife is the UK’s fund children’s specialist disability equipment and provides free short-term loans of specialist developmental toys and emergency equipment. Newlife Nurses support families and can give information about conditions, grants and care.


Free Nurse Helpline: 0800 902 0095

Early Help Solihull Solihull’s Early help strategy is a way of supporting families to improve children and young people’s lives to avoid problems, or to deal with them before they get worse.


Tel: 0121 788 4300  Option 2



Sense is a national charity that supports and campaigns for children and adults who are deaf-blind or have sensory impairments.


Tel: call 0300 330 9250



Scope provides support, information and advise disabled people and their families.


Tel: 0808 800 3333

Challenging Behaviour Foundation A charity focussed specifically on children, young people and adults with severe learning disabilities whose behaviour challenges through providing information, support, running workshops and speaking up for families on a national level. Includes a family support service



Tel: 0300 666 0126

Contact (includes Hemihelp) Advice and support for families. Now includes Hemihelp, which provides advice and support to children and young people with Hemiplegia.


Tel: 0808 808 3555



The national federation of families with visually impaired children, linking families of children with a visual impairment across the country and providing support and advice.


Tel: 0746 435 1958

The National Autistic Society


Providing information on Autism Spectrum Disorders and signposting to support services.


National Deaf Children’s Society


The National Deaf Children’s Society is exclusively dedicated to supporting all deaf children, and their families overcoming the challenges of childhood deafness.


Tel: 0808 800 8880

Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB)


The Royal National Institute for the Blind offers practical support and advice to anyone with a sight problem.


Tel: 0303 123 9999

Action on Hearing Loss formally Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID) Action on Hearing Loss is the Royal National Charity supporting people living with deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss.


Tel: 0808 808 0123

ERIC: The Children’s Bladder and Bowel Charity Tackling the challenges of bowel and bladder conditions together, for young lives free of shame and fear.


Free helpline: 0808 169 9949

Bladder and Bowel UK Information and advice for all adults, children and young people with bladder and bowel issues and for their families and carers, as well as the professionals who support them.


Free helpline: 0161 214 4591

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