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Child Development Centres

At the Child Development Centres in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin we provide assessment of children with additional needs who are under five years old.

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Our services

Children attend the child development centre for assessment, diagnosis, intervention and advice for the following impairments and disabilities:

  • Behavioural problems
  • Communication and interaction problems
  • Delay in their development
  • Impaired vision or hearing
  • Physical disability
  • Severe co-ordination problems


From the age of two to two and a half years of age, children may be referred for a developmental assessment by our teams, and different types are provided, according to the needs of the child.

There is a short assessment for children who are thought to have difficulty in only one area of their development or who need a check on their development for medical reasons.
Then there is a full assessment for children who are identified as having more complex needs and, here, a broad range of professionals will see children over a number of visits.

Parents are encouraged to contribute to the assessments as their knowledge of the child is much valued. The assessment will also help to decide whether the child requires any support in their future educational provision.


Children can also be referred for informal drop-in sessions where parents and carers of very young disabled children can access support and advice from professionals, giving parents a short break and an opportunity to meet other parents. Examples of additional interventions provided are:

  • Support to children with expressive speech difficulties
  • Support to children with receptive language difficulties
  • Support to children to help them to interact with others

A range of professionals such as occupational therapists also visit the centres and are able to advise on any specialist aids or equipment that may be needed.

The people we see

Children attend the child development centres for assessment diagnosis intervention and advice for the following impairments and disabilities:

  • Behaviour problems
  • Communication and interaction problems
  • Delay in development
  • Impaired vision and hearing
  • Physical disability
  • Severe co-ordination problems

Children who attend the development centres will be up to the age of five.

New patients

New patients are referred into the services by an accredited referrer such as a health visitor, therapist, consultant or GP by means of a specialist referral form.

Children who are referred to the service are likely to meet a range of specialist clinical, nursing and administrative staff. These may include the following types of professionals:

  • Chartered child psychologists
  • Educational psychologists
  • Nursery nurses
  • Occupational therapists
  • Orthoptists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Social workers
  • Speech and language therapists
  • Teachers

Existing patients

Existing patients can contact the service directly for help and support – they do not need further referral from a health professional.

Services we do not offer

Assessments are not provided for children over five years of age. This is due to the specialist nature of the services offered.

What to bring with you

It is helpful to bring any information that you have received about your child's development such as the red book from health visitors.

Where are we?

  • Shropshire Child Development Centre
    The Monkmoor Campus
    Woodcote Way
    SY2 5SH
  • Telford and Wrekin Child Development Centre
    The Stepping Stones Centre
    Brunel Road
    TF3 2BF

Contact us

Contact us

  • Shropshire Child Development Centre
    Tel: 01743 730012
  • Telford Child Development Centre
    Tel: 01952 567300

Who are we?

At the Child Development Centres in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin we provide assessment of children with additional needs who are under five years old.

Patient Information

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) and our "Local Offer"

What is the Local Offer?

The local offer provides information for children and young people with special educational needs (SEND) and their parents or carers in a single place. You can find out more about information about this on our SEND reforms and Local Offers page.

Service Description

The Child Development Centres (CDCs) provide information and advice for parents and carers and developmental assessment and intervention for young children. The services are currently provided for children who are less than 5 years old and before they begin going to school. Families may be referred to the CDC when their child has been given a diagnosis which is likely to affect their long term development, or when it is felt that their child’s development is not progressing as expected.

The services at the CDCs are provided by staff with experience and specialist skills in working with very young children and children in early years. The staff include Nursery Nurses and Play Specialists, Paediatricians, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Special Care Dentists, Teachers and Educational/Child Psychologists, and in Telford, Disabled Children’s Team Social Workers. Children and families may meet all or some of these professionals depending on the needs of the child and his or her family. The staff are employed by Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust and either Telford and Wrekin or Shropshire Local Authority. Services are based at our two main centres; Stepping Stones in Telford and Monkmoor Campus in Shrewsbury.

Waiting times for appointments vary dependent on the assessment or intervention needed. Appointments are made within a limit of 18 weeks from referral.

What do you provide to children and young people with an additional need and or disability 0-25yrs?

Services from the two CDCs currently support children under 5 years old. Children are referred to the CDC if they have difficulties in one or more of these areas:

  • unexplained and significant behaviour problems that may be linked to one of the areas of development below
  • communication and interaction difficulties
  • delayed development
  • impaired vision and hearing
  • physical disability
  • severe coordination problems

We provide Information, advice and support for parents and carers of young children who have been given a diagnosis which will probably lead to long term developmental difficulties, including special educational needs or a disability. These services are currently provided on Friday mornings in both CDCs.

We also offer two different specific assessments for children and their parents. The ‘short assessment’ is with one or two specialist staff and is offered when children are thought to have difficulties in one area of their development.

The ‘full multi-disciplinary assessment’ process works a little differently in Telford and Shropshire but in both settings offers children and families the opportunity to see a wider team of professionals. Children are usually referred for this assessment if they have difficulties in more than one area of their development or when professionals and parents are very unsure about what may be causing their child’s problems. The assessment appointments may be made over several weeks. Children are quite often seen within a group of children so that we have the chance to see how they play, learn and interact. In both areas, staff from the CDC usually visit the child and the family at home before this detailed assessment to ensure that parents know what to expect during the assessment and to hear their views on their child’s development and progress and any concerns they may have. At the end of the full assessment parents are asked to meet the team of staff who has been working with their child. Health Visitors and staff who work in the community are invited to those meetings and a final report is sent to everyone involved with the child and family.

From 1st September 2014 the full assessment process will link to the Educational Health Care assessment to ensure a more joined up process for parents and each child.

The intervention services provided from the CDCs vary depending on the needs of the young children who have been referred to us. The teams work flexibly to set up group interventions to meet the identified needs. All the interventions include advice and support for parents to help understand their child’s condition and needs and to develop the skills to best support their child.

Outreach visits to Early Years settings or invitations to staff in those community settings to come into the CDCs to learn/share new skills support children in generalising their learning, communication and behaviour and help CDC staff to understand how each child functions in different environments.

The services for young children with eating, drinking and or swallowing needs are based at the two CDCs.

The amount, frequency and type of assessment and intervention is based on each child’s strengths, difficulties and needs. The need for ongoing intervention is regularly reviewed with the parents and carers and staff supporting the child or family in the community.

Do you provide support for parents and carers?

The focus of assessment and intervention is on the child’s needs and also on how best to support the child’s parents or carers to help them to understand their child’s condition, have the skills and confidence to support their child, help them to manage the risks associated with their child’s needs, to prioritise the most significant actions and to make positive decisions for them and their child.

Who can use our service? Age? Disability?

The service is accessible to all children/ young people under 5 years old registered with a GP in either Shropshire or Telford and Wrekin referred to the service with concerns about their development. At the request of either Local Authority, children who live in either Telford or Shropshire but have a GP out of county may be offered support.

The age range for the different services varies: some interventions are available from soon after birth, others from soon after a diagnosis is made or concerns are expressed. The full multi-disciplinary assessments are offered to parents from the time their child is 2 years 3 months old.

All the services are offered to all children and young people, regardless of ethnic, cultural, spiritual, gender and disability backgrounds.

How to access our service (inc. referral routes)

Referrals are received by the CDC coordinator and will be accepted from Consultants from other NHS organisations and from Shropshire Community Health Paediatricians. Referrals to the Friday group service can be made by other health practitioners. Once received referrals are reviewed by the local CDC team.

Referrals are received in writing outlining the child young persons’ difficulties and if referrer would like the child to be offered one of the two assessments, a summary of the questions the referrer would like the assessment team to answer if possible.

Following receipt of a referral acknowledgement letters are sent to referrers and to parents.

When and where is our service available?

The service is currently open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm except Bank Holidays.

Please see our "Where are we?" section (right-hand column) for the Shropshire-wide list of locations of our main bases.

How can families contact the service?

Families can contact the service to find out more about what we provide or if their child is known to us to make contact with their child’s team through either of our main bases- see above for contact details. The Shropshire office is staffed from 8.30 am. The Telford office opens at 9.00 am

Interpreters are available for assessments of children and young people if either they or their main carers do not speak English or if they use other means of communication such as signing.

Feedback and Complaints

The service receives feedback from parents, partners and children and young people in the following ways:

  • audit of feedback questionnaires following treatment sessions
  • care planning and goal setting review
  • sharing and learning from informal comments, complaints and compliments.

Wherever possible complaints are dealt with verbally and locally with clinical staff, clinical leads and managers. If you have any questions or concerns talk with your child’s Physiotherapist.

Shropshire Community Health Trust has a dedicated Patient Liaison Service (PALS) and a Complaints Manager who are both available to be contacted for support. A link for further details about these services may be found in the relevant section below.

For external agencies: is the service free or charged?

Currently support for individual children is free. Charges may be made for training materials.

Is the service accredited? If so, by whom?

Care Quality Commission

How can families complain if they are not happy with the service?

All complaints are handled by our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) and Complaints teams.

Next review due: 1 September 2020