Children with special educational needs and disabilities will need more support. This will be from different health services at different stages in their lives.  Specialist Health Services includes descriptions of different health professionals such as:

  • Speech and Language Therapy (SLT)
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational Therapy
Mental Health Crisis

NHS Crisis Line

Mental health crisis support is available 24/7 for all ages in Bedfordshire and Luton by contacting NHS 111 (Option 2)

Crisis services and planning for a crisis

This MIND guide explains what mental health crisis services are available, how they can help and when to access them. It also explains how you can plan for a crisis. If you're feeling in crisis right now, see MIND emergency advice.

Below are a range of services you can contact in a mental health crisis

East London Foundation Trust Crisis Resolution / Home Treatment (CRHT)

The Crisis Resolution / Home Treatment (CRHT) teams work with a group of patients, who, without this support, would need to be admitted to hospital, or who cannot be discharged from hospital without intensive support. The service enables patients who are in crisis, and not able to function at their normal level, to be supported in their own homes.

The service operates 24hrs daily, and can be accessed by calling 01234 315691 where a trained mental health professional will be able to offer assessment and support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 


Talk to us on the phone.  Whatever you're going through, call us free any time for free 24/7, from any phone, on 116 123.

Write us an email.  Sometimes writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you understand them better. response time: 24 hours


PAPYRUS provides confidential support and advice to young people struggling with thoughts of suicide, and anyone worried about a young person. 

HOPELINEUK 0800 068 4141 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 10pm, and 2pm to 10pm on weekends and bank holidays)


Our trained volunteers are there for you 24/7 to listen and support you to get to a calmer and safe place. Shout is a free, confidential, anonymous service for anyone in the UK. It won’t appear on your phone bill.

How it works:

  1. Text - to start a conversation, text the word ‘Shout’ to 85258. If you’re feeling low, anxious, worried, lonely, overwhelmed, suicidal or not quite yourself, we are here for you.

  2. Connect - once you text us you’ll receive four automated messages before you are connected to one of our empathetic Shout Volunteers. This will usually be within 5 minutes, but if we are busy it can take longer.

  3. Chat - the volunteer will introduce themselves and ask you to share a bit more about what’s bothering you. This might include feeling anxious, having relationship problems, addiction, depression, bullying, self-harm and suicide. You will text back and forth and share what you feel comfortable with.

  4. Plan - the goal of the conversation is to help you reach a calm and safe place, with a plan of how to support yourself going forwards. As well as listening without judgement, our volunteers may provide you with further resources or tools to help you get more expert support

  5. Calm - as the conversation comes to a close we encourage you to reflect on the thoughts, feelings and experiences you've explored, how you want things to be and how you may be able to get there. You'll be safe in the knowledge that if you're in distress again and struggling to cope that we're here 24/7. Conversations tend to last around 45-60 minutes.

More support services can be found under Emotional Wellbeing Information Resource section.

Specialist Health Services

Some children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities will have more complex needs and may need more specialist services, also called ‘secondary services’.

These include:

  • Speech and Language Therapy (SLT)
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Children's Community Nursing Service
  • Community Paediatric Service
  • Hospitals
  • Nutrition and Dietetic Service
  • Community Dental Service

You can find out more about these specialist health services on the Speclalist Health Services page.

Universal Health Services

Universal health services, are health services that everyone in the population can access. They act as the ‘front door’ of the NHS and a referral is not required for them.

Building a relationship with the universal health services is important from the moment your child is born and throughout their development.

They are your first point of contact if you have concerns or questions about your child’s health.

They can help with a wide range of health issues and any concerns you might have about your child’s development. They can also refer you to specialist health services depending on your child’s needs.

Services include:

  • General Practitioners (GP)
  • Dentists
  • NHS 111
  • Urgent treatment centres
  • Accident and Emergency Departments (A&E)
  • Health Visitors
  • School Nursing Service
  • Opticians

Find out more on our Universal Health Services page.

Continuing Care

Some children and young people (up to age 18), may have very complex health needs.

These may be the result of:

  • Congenital conditions
  • Long-term or life-limiting conditions
  • Disability
  • Serious illness or injury

Children with such complex needs may need additional health support to that which is routinely available from GP practices, hospitals or in the community.

This additional package of care is called continuing care. 

More information can be found on our Continuing Care page.

Bedfordshire Daily Advice Line for Parents of Children with Additional Needs

Offers advice on issues such as behaviour, sleep, toileting or any other concerns you may have.  

Bedfordshire & Luton Health HUB – Tel: 0300 555 0606
Monday – Friday (except bank holidays) 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Bedfordshire Daily Advice Line for Parents of Children with Additional Needs

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) provides outpatient assessments, support and treatment for children and young people up to the age of 18 experiencing moderate to severe mental health problems.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS - North)

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS - South)

Luton and Bedfordshire’s Neurodevelopmental Disorder (NDD) pathway

Luton and Bedfordshire's Community Health Services and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) have been working together to create our neurodevelopmental disorder assessment pathway.

Working with partners from local charities, community services and parents, we've created a pathway of early intervention and support.

We've also mapped out the pathway of assessment, should you or your child be referred into either community health services or CAMHS for an assessment of:

  • a possible neurodevelopmental difficulty or disorder such as autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • a learning disability

The assessment will look at all a child or young person’s strengths and difficulties to provide a full developmental profile. We may also assess their cognition, learning and functional skills.

As part of this assessment, we aim to gather as much information to help with our assessment; this will include liaising with schools and any other professionals involved.

View the neurodevelopment disorder pathway and the support available

Neurodiversity Support Pack

Families have described the experience of their child receiving a neurodiversity diagnosis (e.g. Autism or ADHD) with mixed emotions and following the lengthy diagnosis process are left with little information, or understanding of ‘what next?’  They told us that a 'one-stop shop' for information, resources and signposting following a diagnosis would be really useful, and they would like this information to be accessible and from a trusted source. 

The Neurodiversity Support Pack (NSP) has been co-produced with the help of parents, young people, local Parent Carer Forums, CAMHS, Education Psychology and other key partners.

Our Neurodiversity Support Pack (NSP)  contains information, resources and signposting in a variety of media (video's, infographics, animations), split into 14 sections - from sleep to medication, and lots more.

The NSP covers the following topics:

  1. Introduction
  2. Positives of Neuro-diversities
  3. Holistic Approach
  4. What to expect at your appointment
  5. Sleep
  6. Medication
  7. Talking about a diagnosis
  8. Sensory Processing Needs
  9. Mental Heath
  10. Supporting Social Communication Development in Autism
  11. Best Practice Guide – for professionals
  12. Contact Information and Resources
  13. Jargon Buster
  14. Printable resources and links

All pages have been made easy to follow, with links that that guide you through the pack.  As well as making the pack informative and useful, it was important to us that the pack uplifts people and celebrates neurodiversity. We know many families find receiving a diagnosis a challenging time, but empowering messages and having positive role models are so important to help parents/carers and young people on their journey.

Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA)

Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) is a term used to describe a profile of demand avoidant behaviours, often triggered by anxiety and understood to be part of the autistic spectrum. PDA is not part of current clinical diagnostic tools for autism but it is acknowledged that demand avoidant behaviours can present as a sign and symptom of possible autism spectrum, as identified within the NICE  Guidelines (CG 128).

Due to the lack of clinical guidance and diagnosis for PDA, parents can face challenges when trying to access support for children with this profile. SNAP Parent Carer Forum have championed parents’ voices and raised this as a priority need for parents across Central Bedfordshire. In response to this, the CBC PDA Position Statement has been coproduced with our SNAP Parent Carer Forum and in collaboration with Bedfordshire’s SEND Designated Clinical Officer (DCO).

Feedback on the statement from a young person with a PDA profile, states “I have read it and I think it’s very important and I think it will do very well and I really hope that everyone will understand a bit more about it thank you”

This is a positive joint piece of work between Central Bedfordshire Children’s Services and our SNAP Parent Carer Forum, and we are proud to be one of the few local authorities across the country to coproduce such an important statement that provides reassurance and support to children and families affected by PDA. 

SNAP Parent Carer Forum have recently commissioned PDA training for their members from the PDA Society. Over the coming weeks, we will be working with SNAP Parent Carer Forum to develop an offer of training for professionals working with children, which will include professionals across social care and education settings. We are encouraging all council and school staff to read the PDA Position Statement and to watch the introductory video from the PDA Society, which gives an overview and understanding of PDA.

Read more about our position statement on PDA

Annual Health Check

Anyone aged 14 or over who is on their doctor's learning disability register are entitled to a free annual health check.  Ask your GP or you can find a GP near you on the NHS Choices website.

An annual health check can help you stay well by talking to a doctor or nurse about your health and finding any problems early, so they can be sorted out.

Download an easy to read guide about Annual Health Checks for teenagers and Annual Health Check Information for parents leaflet.

Concerns about health treatment

How to complain to the NHS - a guide on how to make a complaint about NHS care, treatment or service.  

Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire is the independent champion for people using local health and social care services. Its team listens to what people like about services and what could be improved and share those views with those with the power to make change happen.

Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS)

What is PALS ?

PALS can help when you have concerns about the treatment and care you have received. PALS provides confidential advice and will help to resolve problems or issues that you have about the services.

More information on the NHS website.

PALS for NHS services in our area

To find PALS services for other NHS providers search the NHS Choices website.

NHS Complaints Advocacy

If you need any advice, help or support to make a complaint you can contact your local independent NHS Complaints Advocacy Service. If you feel you need support in making your complaint, this is available through VoiceAbility – an independent charity that is not part of the NHS.  They provide free, independent and confidential support for people who wish to make a complaint about the care they have received from the NHS.

An Advocate can explain the complaints process, give guidance on writing an effective complaint letter and where appropriate you can have one to one advocacy support:

Telephone:  0300 303 1660 (freephone)

Bedfordshire and Luton CAMHs Discovery College

The Discovery College offers free workshops to young people between 13-18 years old across Bedfordshire and Luton.

Workshops will focus on numerous topics from arts and crafts to CV writing and career development.  We welcome carers, relatives, professionals, and friends to join this fantastic opportunity and support young people explore their potential, learn new skills and flourish within their community.

All our workshops will be done in groups either face to face or online. The Discovery College will cultivate a non-judgemental environment and allow everyone to share their voice.

Download the latest Prospectus

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