Children Disability Network Teams (CDNT) in the Mid West (CHO 3 HSE area) are committed to working in partnership with families of children with disabilities/developmental delay to minimise the impact of disability and maximise opportunities for growth and development.
CDNT’s deliver services to children through an interdisciplinary model which supports families, schools and other services in meeting the needs of the child.
“An interdisciplinary team is a [group] of professionals from different disciplines who work with the child and family, sharing information, decision-making and goal-setting. They have common procedures and policies and frequent opportunities for communication. They work collaboratively to meet the identified needs of the child with a joint service plan, and see the child separately or together as appropriate.” (HSE, 2009)
The teams offer various assessments for children, with developmental difficulties and who at risk or have a disability. Assessments are to identify and determine the nature and extent of a child’s difficulties. Referrals for assessment of a child, presenting with complex needs, can be made by general referral to the CDNT service, parents, teachers, allied health professionals and medical professionals or through applying for the Assessment of Need Process.
Depending on the findings of the assessment, intervention may be offered from within the Team or by referral to other services as appropriate in response to the child’s needs.
Interdisciplinary team interventions for very young children are primarily focused on supporting the child’s family in enabling the child to reach his/her potential.
When a child with a disability starts school the focus of the interdisciplinary team changes to reflect the child’s new environment. In general, the level of direct contact with a school age child is likely to be less than when the child is younger. Intervention from the CDNT can be also provided in the school environment and team members provide advice and support to school personnel as well as parents and carers. The team contributes to an “Individual Educational Plan (Epson Act)” for the child when appropriate and requested.
All interventions are based on the collaborative formulation of an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) which sets out priorities and develops goals for the child to work towards with identified parental strategies and supports from the CDNT.
Based on the individualised IFSP, services are then provided to support reaching theses goals.
Overall, CDNT’s aim to support children, their families, communities and their educational settings through a combination of:
Ongoing assessment of the growing child’s changing needs
Facilitating families in identifying existing strengths, resources and family and community support networks
Individual or group intervention in the local CDNT centre, educational setting or home
Individually tailored home, school programmes and training for parents, carers, teachers and relevant external professionals
Provision of training, advice and support for parents and carers, and for other health and educational professionals
Referral to and liaison with other service providers, e.g. seating and postural management clinics, gait analysis laboratory, community paediatrician service, etc.
Support for the family in identifying and accessing potential resources such as housing, entitlements, educational supports, respite services and home support services as appropriate
Assessment for and provision of adaptive equipment.
Support at key ‘transition’ stages of children’s lives – such as moves between home, childcare, preschool and school