Making it work: Kent and Medway’s transformation of neurodiversity support

With the help of parents and carers we aim to transform the health and care support for neurodiverse children and young people (such as autistic children and children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder) in Kent and Medway.  We would like to hear from you about the best way to transform services for families like yours.

A new support network for neurodiverse children and young people, their parents and carers is being developed by a range of professionals. This is in response to feedback that parents and carers have consistently reported feeling unsupported when looking for help with the health and care they need.

Currently, three approaches are being tested to improve support for children up to the age of 11:

  1. Do-IT – Working with GP practice children’s navigators to trial an evidence-based profiling tool for 7 to 11 year olds. This is not a diagnostic process, but will help provide a profile of a child’s strengths and needs. This will be used to help signpost to support which is accessible without a diagnosis. This is being tested in Maidstone.
  2. This Is Me – Working with school-based school nursing teams to trial a different profiling tool for primary age children. This is not a diagnostic process, but will help provide a profile of a child’s strengths and needs. This will be used to help signpost to support accessible without diagnosis, as well as low-level interventions. This is being tested in Tunbridge Wells.
  3. Multi Disciplinary Team (MDT) – Testing a new multi-disciplinary diagnostic model focusing on 0-5 year olds. Families won’t have to go to multiple appointments with a range of different people, instead it will all happen during one or two assessments. This will save time and gives a more detailed assessment that may lead to a diagnosis. This is being tested across west Kent.

These three approaches are being used in west Kent with a small group of children. By rolling out our ideas in a small geographical area we will find out how well they work for children and their families or carers. The aim is to learn from what we are doing to produce the most appropriate complete package for everyone across Kent and Medway.

We are also testing a number of additional offers of support that have been developed by families and professionals working in health, education and the community. Two areas of current focus are:

  • Peer-to-peer support – helping to grow networks of parents, carers, children, young people and practitioners so they can share knowledge and experience and help improve the support on offer
  • Workforce development - training for people working in health, education and social care to help them better understand how they can best support neurodiverse children and young people

Dr Faye Hinsley, GP and NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Lead for Learning Disabilities, ADHD and Autism said:

“It is so important to get the right support for neurodiverse children, and this has been a huge challenge recently in Kent and Medway.

The NHS is now working with families, schools, Kent County Council and the wider community to find the best way of helping neurodiverse children develop their strengths and meet their needs.

By investing in these three pilots, we will be able to demonstrate the benefits our improvements can make on a wider scale. 

We are committed to improving how the system works so that parents and carers don’t feel they have to fight for what is needed for their child.

Instead we want the system to work with them to get the support they need for their child to thrive.”

We want your feedback

To make this work we need to hear from parents and carers, education, health and social care practitioners. Of course we also want to hear from children and young people themselves, as well as people who support children and young people in their communities like hairdressers and swimming coaches.

So, if you have any ideas, thoughts or experiences you’d like to share, or if you just want to know more about this work, please get in touch at: This email is monitored by the Kent and Medway Children’s Commissioning Team, and any information you share will be used anonymously to improve our work.

We have already used the feedback we have received to develop our current ideas – please help us to continue to improve the support for neurodiverse children and young people and their families and carers in Kent and Medway.

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