Types of supports available

The CDNT will suggest different type of supports  they think will be helpful for your child. The types of supports recommended for your child and family will depend on the goals identified through the IFSP. They will have been identified as the best approach for addressing those needs.

The CDNT will match the best type of help with the type of problem your family wants to address. The team may need to try a few different approaches to get the best results.

Below are the types of approaches and supports your CDNT might recommend for your child and family.

Information sessions, talks and workshops

These are known as 'universal supports' as they are designed to support all children and young people. The purpose of these universal supports is to empower parents, families and other caregivers on how to support children and young people. These supports are available to all families receiving services, as well as families waiting for services, when available. 

Information sessions, talks and workshops for families may cover:

  • How to help your child sleep through the night
  • Toilet training for children who have extra needs
  • Supporting your child to develop their language and communication
  • How to prepare your child for the move from primary to secondary school
  • How to help your child play with other children and develop friendships.

Group work 

These are known as ‘targeted supports’ as they are designed to be provided in partnership with others. Therapists will model therapy and train others to carry out the therapy programmes.

Group work is for children who have similar needs. Bringing children together in groups is more fun for them and they can learn from each other.

Group work is also where parents are educated together about how best to work with their child to support their development. It brings together parents who have common challenges, giving them a chance to share their ideas and experiences. 

Examples of group work include:

  • Hanen programmes for developing communication
  • Triple P Positive Parenting Programmes
  • Family Lámh Courses.

One-to-one therapy 

These are known as ‘individual supports’ as they are supports for children and young people whose needs cannot be met through universal and targeted supports.  At this level the therapist will provide direct and/or individual support.

Individual support is where a child has a certain clinical need, such as difficulties with movement, communication, feeding, eating, drinking, or swallowing. Not all children with complex needs, arising from a disability, will need individual support.

Examples of individual supports would be:

Difficulties with movement

If your child has difficulties with their movement or posture, a physiotherapist (physio) and/or an occupational therapist (OT) will carry out an assessment. The therapists will identify functional goals that are important for you and your child.

Your family and the therapists will agree on a plan. This could include treatment or equipment.

Some children may need a specialised service. This could include a review by an orthopaedic doctor. This is a doctor who specialises in muscles, bones, and joints.

Difficulties with feeding, eating, drinking and swallowing

There may be many reasons why this is an issue for your child. A full assessment may include help from several healthcare professionals including speech and language therapists (SLTs). Assessment may involve home and clinic visits and observations of mealtimes.

After the assessment, your family and the team will agree on a plan and support you with implementing the recommendations.

Difficulties with communication

Supporting your child with communication will involve support from several members of the team. Your child will also see a speech and language therapist (SLT). The SLT and the team will offer support in relation to developing skills such as:

  • How to express themselves
  • Understanding language
  • Social interaction
  • Play
  • Moving their mouth
  • Speech.

Supporting your child's unique abilities

It may be important for the team to review your child’s development across different areas. Psychologists, as part of the wider team may assess your child’s progress in these areas:

  • Learning, thinking and problem-solving
  • Play skills
  • Social skills
  • Emotional and behavioural development
  • Skills for independence.

Supporting you on your journey

In addition to the above interventions and supports, a social worker may be able to help you by providing:

  • Space and time to think about the emotional impact of your child attending a service, their diagnosis or extra needs
  • Opportunities to discuss how your child’s disability affects other family members
  • Support to develop the extra skills needed in parenting a child with a disability
  • Help to find resources in the community that may be of benefit to your child and family
  • Help with applications for benefits and services, including accessing social welfare and housing supports
  • Opportunities to connect with families of children with disabilities through meetings and discussions at the various stages, or around common experiences in a child’s life
  • Connections with support groups in the community
  • Support when you're facing additional challenges, for example, problems with health, relationships or money.

Social workers can also help you with referrals to other services, if you need them. They work closely with the other members of the CDNT.