How to obtain a referral

There are a variety of different support services, therapies, assessment teams etc available in Surrey for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND). Below we will outline some of these services, who they are aimed at and how to get a referral or obtain an assessment.

Surrey Early Support

Their aim is to provide support to children aged 0 to 5 years with SEN and their families. They will keep regular contact with the family, offer information, advice and support about local services and ensure that all professionals are working together.

Referrals for this service must come from a professional via a ‘request for support’ form and sent to the Children’s Single Point of Access team (C-SPA). This could be a health visitor, therapist, social worker etc.

The criteria for Early Support is:

  • Child with complex health needs, disabilities and/or special educational needs aged 0 to 5 years (a diagnosis is not required).
  • Three or more specialist health/education professionals involved (or referred to).
  • Parent/carer gives permission for Early Support to be involved.
  • Family in need of regular input to increase resilience and improve child’s outcomes due to significant social, financial, health and/or community challenges.
  • A professional working with the child/family can make a referral via an Early Help Assessment. State in the Action Plan that the family wishes to be referred to Early Support.

You can find out more by visiting the Early Support page on the Surrey County Council website Surrey Early Support Service for young children with disabilities – Surrey County Council (surreycc.gov.uk)

Occupational Therapy (OT)

Occupational therapy helps people who struggle to do everyday tasks or occupations which is where to role title comes from.  Occupations for children or young people may include self-care (getting ready to go out, eating a meal, using the toilet), being productive (going to nursery or school or volunteering), and leisure (playing with friends or doing hobbies).

An occupational therapist will carry out an assessment that will look at a child strengths and challenges and the things they have trouble with. Support to parents and educational settings includes advice on adapting environments, alternative equipment to support independence and approaching occupations using different methods. 

Services are delivered by a range of providers supporting settings including local mainstream and special schools, early year’s settings including Children Centres the home environment and, on a clinic or hospital site. Ideally the therapist will try to see the child or young person in the environment where occupations are taking place.

Community Children’s Occupational Therapy is provided by Children and Family Health Surrey (NHS).  A range of resources to support needs are available including a helpline with direct access to a therapist.   It is open from 2 to 4pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays, term time only. The number to call is 01932 558570 (note this is a new number). You can find more resources by visiting website Occupational therapy :: Children and Family Health Surrey (childrenshealthsurrey.nhs.uk)

Social Care Occupational Therapy is provided by Surrey County Council. This service supports with home equipment and adaptations. You can find out more at: Contact Children’s Services – Surrey County Council (surreycc.gov.uk)

Additionally, you’ll find Occupational Therapists working in teams within The Children and Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service Home :: Mindworks Surrey (mindworks-surrey.org)

Speech and Language Therapy (SALT)

Speech and language therapy provides treatment, support and care for children and young people who have difficulties with:

  • Social Communication
  • Attention and listening
  • Complex needs
  • Language
  • Play
  • Speech
  • Eating, drinking and swallowing.

In Surrey, there are two routes for a referral depending on age:

If a child is under compulsory school age (5 years old), then Surrey Children and Families Health services will carry our assessments and delivery therapy. Children can be referred by their health visitor, GP, early years as well as parent/carers. This will go through the One Stop Referral Service One Stop Referral Service :: Children and Family Health Surrey (childrenshealthsurrey.nhs.uk)

You can find out more about SALT for children 0 to 5 years on the Children’s Health Surrey website Speech and Language Therapy :: Children and Family Health Surrey (childrenshealthsurrey.nhs.uk)

For referrals to Speech and Language Therapy for children over 5, Surrey provides a school-based SALT service. All schools have a link therapist to liaise and discuss the needs of the school and its pupils with the school Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator (SENCo) on a regular basis. Support for children and young people is provided using the universal, targeted and specialist delivery model. You should liaise with your child’s SENCo regarding referrals for SALT.

You can find out more by visiting the Surrey County Council website Speech and Language Service for children and young people – Surrey County Council (surreycc.gov.uk)

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)

CAMHS is an emotional wellbeing and mental health service for children and young people. It provides a variety of services such as:

  • Assessments for neurodevelopmental conditions such as ASD and ADHD (over 6 years of age – see Developmental Paediatrician’s section for children under 6)
  • Mental health services via Mindsight Surrey
  • Prevention and early intervention services
  • Parent and carer support etc.

All requests for support (referrals) for CAMHS go through the Mindworks Surrey Access and Advice service (this has recently replaced the CAMHS Single Point of Access).

Requests can be made by all health, education and social care practitioners such as GPs, teachers, Social workers etc and will go through the Children and Family Health Surrey One Stop referral service. You can find out more about how to make a request for support via the Mindworks Surrey website –

Access and Advice :: Mindworks Surrey (mindworks-surrey.org)

Developmental Paediatricians

The Developmental Paediatric Service (DPS) is a family centered service dedicated to helping children and young people to manage health problems that may be affecting their developmental progress.

Their Surrey wide service is led by consultants and assesses children and young people experiencing a wide range of developmental difficulties related to:

  • Developmental delay or disorder
  • Neurological disability
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – under 6yrs
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – under 6yrs
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Severe learning difficulties (SLD) and/or complex needs (the DPS may carry out these assessments in schools)

Assessments focus on physical, sensory, social and emotional development and any recommended interventions are discussed and agreed with the family.

The Developmental Paediatric Service works closely with other professionals, such as therapists, nurses, teachers and social workers to ensure a cohesive and joined up approach is in place for the child/young person.

Referrals for Developmental Paediatricians will go through the Children and Family Health Surrey One Stop referral service. You can find out more via the following link –

Developmental Paediatricians :: Children and Family Health Surrey (childrenshealthsurrey.nhs.uk)

Dyslexia assessment

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed.

Most school’s in Surrey should be able to carry out a Dyslexia screening which will give parents an indicator of whether a child has Dyslexia. Schools can then implement provisions from their SEN core offer in order to support a child’s special educational needs. However, a school cannot formally diagnose.

For a diagnostic assessment parents should go to Helen Arkell Dyslexia Support From The Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre

Alternatively parents can look on the British dyslexia association’s website British Dyslexia Association (bdadyslexia.org.uk)

Even without a formal diagnosis the school should be able to recognise the additional needs and implement any provisions that may be required. The following link is for Surrey County Councils Dyslexia policy which can be useful to parents of children with concerns of Dyslexia or with formal diagnosis Microsoft Word – Surrey County Council policy for dyslexia.doc (surreycc.gov.uk)

Educational Psychology (EP) Assessment

An educational psychology assessment involves a series of different activities to help identify a child’s or a young person’s specific learning style, strengths and areas of need. This knowledge helps to generate suitable recommendations for teachers, parents and other professionals that are used to meet those learning needs of school aged children and teenagers.

The one-on-one assessment setting provides an opportunity to gather information about a child’s behaviours, attitudes, attention, concentration, all of which are likely to impact on and influence learning. These factors can influence motivation and the desire to accept and approach a challenge. It also affects the manner in which a child/young person approaches a task as well as the manner in which they structure their responses.

In order to obtain an EP assessment, you would need a referral from the SENCo of the school that your child attends. You should speak to the schools SENCo to arrange this. You can find out more about how Educational Psychologists work in Surrey via the following link The services educational psychologists provide – Surrey County Council (surreycc.gov.uk)

Alternatively, you have the option to pay for an assessment privately which would guarantee much shorter waiting times. If this is something you wish to explore you can have a look on the British Psychology Website and use their search tool to find a private Ed Psych in your area https://www.bps.org.uk/public/find-psychologist

Some of the above can also be part of a Statutory Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment. Please see our information sheet on EHC needs assessments, and our template letter on how to apply.