The Lighthouse child development centre
Our centre is a bright, modern, child and parent friendly purpose built venue. The centre provides services for children up to the age of 16. We provide specialised outpatient care for those with significant delay in more than one area of development and have or are likely to require the support from more than one secondary agency, service or discipline.
The centre functions as a multi-agency facility for the benefit
of children and their families. The centre provides an
environment that is conducive to multi-agency working and supports
the Team around the Child concept.
For families requiring a multi-agency approach, there is an
identified key worker and the LCDC will work in partnership with
colleagues in the community both locally and further afield.
History of the centre
The Lighthouse Child Development Centre came into being from an
idea between the then head of Kingsdown School, James Hagyard and
Christine Kelly former Paediatric General Manager, Southend
Hospital. Having overcome many problems on the way, the
centre is now a reality.
"It boasts everything from a sensory garden, a bright,
well-stocked toy library, a magical sensory room and even its own
boat, the Jolly James, complete with music and soft play
Our services include
Speech & Language Therapy
Audiology (this link will take you to another page within
Disabilities Social Care Team
Specialist Health Visitors
Referrals to the centre are accepted from:
- School Nurses
- Health Visitors
- Speech Therapists
For children under 5 who are likely to require support from more
than one secondary agency.
This may include
- General developmental delay.
- Impairment in social communication and interaction.
- Developmental delay which affects social/emotional
- A diagnosed relevant condition including autisitc spectrum
disorder, Downs Syndrome, cerebral palsy or other syndromes /
- A deteriorating condition.
For children over 5 years of age who
- A recently acquired condition which requires the Multi
Disciplinary Teams ("MDT") assessment/support.
- A child with recognised needs who is new to the area and has
not previously been seen by local services.
- A child with significant or complex needs which have changed
and further assessment / advice is required by the MDT.
For children with complex medical / health / social needs which
significantly impacts on development.
For children who require the support of more than one secondary
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Outpatient clinics are held at the centre on a weekly basis and
are run by paediatricians. Children with general medical;
behavioural (including ADHD) or developmental problems are seen in
these clinics. Children with hearing impairment can be seen
in our purpose built Audiology Suite.
In addition to this, clinics for children with Cystic Fibrosis,
Bronchial Pulmonary Dysplasia and Neuromuscular concerns are also
Children with multiple or complex problems are seen jointly by a
team of professionals with a view to identifying the child's needs
in all aspects of development. A medical examination will be
carried out if necessary. Parents are invited to take part in
the case discussion and the formulation of a care plan appropriate
to their child's needs.
The team that provide this service can consist of a consultant
paediatrician, a registrar, a speech and language therapist, a
physiotherapist, an occupational therapist and a clinical
psychologist. Other relevant professionals, such as nursery
staff or education professionals may also be invited for the case
discussion. Members of the team present at the
assessment will depend on the needs of each child.
Early Support / Team Around the Child
Early Support is a national programme aimed at improving the
efficiency of how services for young children with disabilities in
Englandwork together and with families. It implements Government
guidance, "Together from the Start", published in
In relation to this, the centre holds Team Around the Child
meetings for all patients with complex needs. These "TAC"
meetings bring together those in most regular contact with the
child and the family to discuss how things are progressing
and to make a plan (Family Service Plan). These plans are
usually written at the TAC meeting.
Our health visitors act as a link between the Lighthouse Centre,
other medical professionals, therapists, school nurses and
parents. They are able to provide wide ranging information on
local and national resources, including voluntary
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The therapist will arrange sessions with patients according to a
child's specific needs. Parents/carers will be advised on
carrying out useful activities and exercises at home.
Hydrotherapy sessions can be arranged where appropriate.
Paediatric Occupational Therapy
Children may also experience difficulties in personal care,
co-ordination, visual perception and hand function. The
children are assessed by occupational therapists and individual or
group therapy sessions are provided.
Parents/carers are given advice on techniques that may enhance
or improve their child's social skills, play and leisure
activities. Assistance on correct methods of seating and
choosing appropriate aids and/or appliances will also be
The occupational therapy department offer groups to children
which focus on utilising specific skills for activities such as
dressing and handwriting skills.
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The library is a voluntary organisation run by a parent led
- Toy loan scheme
- Informal coffee mornings and play sessions
- Support and advice
- Fun days and outings
- Respite scheme
- Special equipment loan with guidance from therapists
- Facilitates several other support groups.
The library works closely with the Therapy Through Play
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Little Fishes Therapy Through Play
Developmental Nursery Groups
The Little Fishes "therapy
through play" offers a variety of groups within the 0 - 5 year age
range for children with additional needs.
The groups aim to help children meet their individual needs in
all areas of their development through fun play activities.
This includes opportunities for interaction and making friends with
other children in their group. To develop communication
skills through play, including understanding and using spoken
language or signing.
Additionally, to develop children's independent physical skills,
mobility, dressing, feeding and washing skills.
Parents and/or carers are also encouraged to join in with these
play activities to support the child's learning.
The Little Fishes Therapy through play team consists of a
physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech and language
therapist, nursery and play co-ordinator and a rehabilitation
assistant. We aim to give advice and support to parents,
including the children's early years setting.
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The Children with Disabilities Team
The Children with Disabilities (CWD) team is part of Southend
Borough Council's Department of Children and Learning and it forms
one part of the Learning Difficulty and Disability (LDD)
service. The team is based at the Lighthouse Child
Development Centre and consists of a range of specialist social
workers with skills and knowledge in working with children with
disabilities and their families. They also have a Short
Breaks coordinator who has a responsibility to develop new ways of
meeting the need for respite. This coordinator also
supervises the Carer Support Volunteers - 3 full time volunteers
who work with children and young people with disabilities in the
The CWD team works with any child/young person aged between 0
-18 years who has a physical or mental impairment which has a
substantial and long term adverse effect on their lives (this is
the Disability Discrimination Act definition - in effect it means
that the disability has to be severe/profound and long term).
We also assess the parent/carers needs and those of siblings who
may be young carers. Anyone can make a referral on behalf of
the child and/or their family but this must be with the permission
of the person who has parental responsibility or the young person
if they are of the age/ability to make this decision.
Once the Duty Officer has received a referral then an
appointment will be agreed with the family to visit to bring a
range of information about services and resources and undertake a
brief assessment of the current situation and needs. Advice
will be given about a range of statutory, voluntary and support
services and resources. If necessary, then options to provide
the family with short breaks can be explored. This can
include the option of Direct Payments so families can organise
their own services.
For further information or to make a referral please contact the
Duty Manager on 01702 507154.
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For comprehensive information on local resources and services
for children with disabilities contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about Carer's support contact www.southendcarers.co.uk or 01702
For general information about services for all children in
Southend contact the Children's Information Service on 01702 392468
or go online at www.childcarelink.gov.uk/southend.
For advice about benefits and general advice about services
contact DIAL on 01702 356031 or go online at email@example.com.
For information and advice about Young Carers contact 01702
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