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.

New process for ordering repeat prescriptions at the Lighthouse Centre - 1st January 2021

In order to streamline and improve the efficiency of our service, we have introduced a new method for ordering repeat prescriptions.

Medication can now be requested through the following email address:

You need to give 2 weeks' notice (14 days) for any medication request.  Please note, we will no longer be accepting requests by telephone.

Prescriptions can either be collected by prior arrangement or mailed to your home address.  If you would like the prescription posted, please confirm your address details in your email.


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.


Lighthouse child development centre

"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 area"

Our services include

Referral criteria

Paediatric Outpatient Clinics

Paediatric Physiotherapy

Paediatric Occupational Therapy

Paediatric Speech & Language Therapy 

Paediatric Audiology (this link will take you to another page within our website)

Children with Disabilities Social Care Team

Specialist Health Visitors

Support Groups

Therapy Through Play Groups

Toy Library

Sensory stimulation 

Referral Criteria

Referrals to the centre are accepted from:

- GP's
- 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 development.
  • A diagnosed relevant condition including autisitc spectrum disorder, Downs Syndrome, cerebral palsy or other syndromes / genetic conditions.
  • A deteriorating condition. 

For children over 5 years of age who have: 

  • 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 service. 

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Paediatric Outpatient Clinics

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 held here.

Multi-disciplinary Assessments 

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 2003. 

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.  

Health Visitors

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 services. 

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Paediatric Rehabilitation 

Paediatric Physiotherapy

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 offered. 

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 Sensory Garden

Sensory garden1  Sensory garden 2

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The Toy Library

Toy library logo

The library is a voluntary organisation run by a parent led committee. 

It offers:

  • 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 Team.

Toy library

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Little Fishes Therapy Through Play

Developmental Nursery Groups 

TTP1The 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 community. 

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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Support groups

For information about Carer's support contact or 01702 393933. 

For general information about services for all children in Southend contact the Family Information Service on 01702 215007, or find services via Southend Information Point online directory  

For advice about benefits and general advice about services contact DIAL on 01702 356031 or go online at

For information and advice about Young Carers contact 01702 464315. 

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