Early Years – Specialist Support
If your child needs specialist services and support, they may have significant or complex delays to their development. You should have the support of your GP and Health Visitor who can talk you through these services and how to access them.
- Specialist Support - Portage
What is Portage?
Portage is an early years education service for children with significant or complex developmental delay in two or more areas of development. One of these areas must be cognition (acquiring knowledge or understanding).
Devon Portage Service is affiliated to the National Portage Association (NPA) and is based on the principle that parents and carers are the key figures in the care and development of their child.
Portage works closely with a wide number of professionals from health, education and care.
How does the service work?
Devon Portage Service is made up of a service lead, specialist teachers and portage practitioners.
The child and family will be supported by the portage team in the following ways:
- regular home visits by portage practitioners, providing parents with strategies, skills and ideas to help their child’s development,
- support to access community settings (such as children’s centres, pre school, and nursery), and
- the specialist teachers contribute to the Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) process, transitions into settings and schools, including requests for Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs).
All referrals to portage go through the Single Point of Access (SPOA) based in Exeter. On 1st April 2019, the service transferred to Devon County Council.
Devon Portage also delivers the following training:
Including Children with Significant Additional Needs
for practitioners in Early Years settings.
Total Communication in partnership with the Speech and Language Therapy Team
for parents, practitioners and Early Years settings.
You can request services via the Single Point of Access:
Children and Family Health Devon
Single Point of Access Team
1a Capital Court
Sowton Industrial Estate
Exeter EX2 7FW
tel: 0330 0245 321
How do I get it?
To access the Portage service, children need:
- To show significant/profound delay in two or more areas of development, one of which should be cognitive.
- An existing diagnosis of a condition, where there is likely to be significant/profound delay.
- Where children are undergoing a Specialist Assessment, Portage may be identified as an outcome at the end of assessment if appropriate.
- Where possible, it is preferable that children referred to the service have 3 terms prior to starting school placement.
You will need to make a referral to access support from the portage service.
- Specialist Support - Physiotherapy
How do I get it?
If a child needs a service from Vranch House, anyone working with the child can make a referral. If the child is in East or West Devon, this will be sent straight to Vranch House; in North Devon the referral goes to the Physiotherapy team in Barnstaple Health Centre.
To access services based in Torbay Hospital John Parkes Unit (except for emergency and inpatient care), you can contact the hospital to make an appointment.
- Specialist Support - Augmented and Alternative Communication Aids (AAC)
- Specialist Support - Wheelchairs
- What is Nursery Plus and how do I access it?
Nursery Plus is a Devon educational outreach service which supports Early Years settings in receipt of Early Years Education Funding to meet the needs of children identified with additional or Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Nursery Plus is a part of the continuum of SEND provision in Devon and promotes the inclusion of all children and the expectation that all children will achieve their potential.
Nursery Plus aims to:
- Increase the number of children who start school achieving expected levels of development
- Support children who have significant barriers to learning to help them achieve their potential
- Enable settings to include children with social and emotional difficulties
- Ensure children who have not already been identified have appropriate interventions and referrals in place prior to starting school.
Page updated 22/01/19