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The Neurodiversity (ND) Profiling Tool

Children and young people who are showing signs of neuro-developmental needs can now access a new tool which can help identify what support a child or young person may need.

The neurodiversity (ND) profiling tool is the first step in identifying neurodiversity within children and young people aged 0-19. It has been piloted with 50 families in Portsmouth from March 2021 to April 2022 and has now been approved for use across the city.

What is the ND Profiling Tool?

The ND profiling tool is a visual document that assesses nine developmental strands of a child or young person aged 0-19. This includes speech and language, energy levels, attention skills, emotion regulation, sensory levels, flexibility and adaptability, and empathy.

It provides a holistic view of a child or young person’s needs and suggests types of strategies that can be put in place to help manage those needs in different areas of a life, such as at home, at their early years setting, school or college, and in the community.

The process of completing the profile is done with the family, and not for or to the family.

How do I use the tool for my child or young person?

If you think your child or young person may be showing signs of Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD), Dyspraxia, or other neuro-developmental needs, you can request the ND profiling tool to be completed.

This will be done jointly with a trained professional alongside your child or young person if appropriate and your family. There are more than 200 professionals who have already received training in completing the ND profiling tool with more being trained each week. Usually these are people who work with children or young people, so you are encouraged to speak to your health visitor, nursery, school or college to request a profile in the first instance.

If you are not sure who to speak to, please contact ppv@hiveportsmouth.org.uk.

What happens after we complete the profile?

The ND profiling tool will offer an insight into your child or young person’s needs and will help identify the types of strategies that can be put in place to help.

You can request support from our dedicated neurodiversity team of consultants, clinicians, family support workers, educational psychologists or therapists who can provide specialist advice and support to families as needed via a dedicated phone number or email address.

You can also share the profile with anyone or any organisation as you wish and of course, the child or young person themselves when they become able to understand the idea of their own neurodiversity needs.

From September 2022, PPV will also be holding regular peer-to-peer support sessions for families who are:

  • Thinking about requesting an ND Profile;
  • In the process of completing an ND Profile; or
  • Have completed an ND Profile and are now using the strategies at home.

Details of these sessions will be circulated by Portsmouth Parent Voice in the near future.

Can families request a ND clinical assessment?

From 1 July 2022, the ND profiling tool will replace the current referral process to request a ND clinical assessment. Instead, trained professionals will be required to complete the ND Profiling Tool in the first instance. This will mean no long waits for a full ND assessment (currently at 18+ months) and your child or young person will be provided with strategies to help them manage their needs with the support of family and education settings.

However, if a child or young person is currently on the waiting list for an ND assessment, they will remain on the list. Equally, if someone would like to request an ND clinical assessment after completing a profile, they can discuss this with the neurodiversity team.

We would encourage those on the waiting list to complete a ND Profile while they wait. This will not affect their position on the waiting list but will help to identify strategies that can support the child or young person and their family while waiting.

The ND Profiling Tool has been co-produced by Portsmouth City Council in partnership with Portsmouth Parent Voice, Dynamite and partners across education, health, social care and early years. It is delivered through Health and Care Portsmouth.

Information for people working with families

If you work with families and would like to complete the training in order to support families in completing the ND profiling tool, please send your full name and job title to Neurodiversity0-19Enquiries@portsmouthcc.gov.uk and you will receive the training details.

Neurodiversity Platform

The neurodiversity platform contains resources, guidance, and information that can be used alongside the neurodiversity profiling tool. To access the platform, visit the Family Assist website and click the ‘Neurodiversity’ tab on the menu.

Contact details

Email: Neurodiversity0-19Enquiries@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Phone: 02392 606051

Myth Buster and Frequently Asked Questions

I have been told we need a diagnosis to receive an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

No formal diagnosis is needed to get an EHCP.

Before a child or young person is given an EHCP, an assessment of their needs must be completed. An assessment of need is carried out if the information given to the Local Authority suggests that the child or young person may have a special educational need and may need the support of an EHCP. If the assessment demonstrates that the child or young person has significant, complex, and long-term special educational needs that require additional provision, then it is likely that the Local Authority will issue an EHCP for the child or young person.

It is also important to note that if your child is given a diagnosis they will not as a matter of course need an EHCP in place. As detailed above an EHCP is only felt to be necessary if a child or young person has significant, complex, and long-term special educational needs that require additional provision.

The majority of children should be able to have their needs met through reasonable adjustments and ordinarily available inclusive provision.

I have been told we need a diagnosis to get certain benefits.

You do not need a formal diagnosis to claim for DLA.

One of the main sources of financial support available is the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) which is provided by the government to help with the additional costs faced by disabled children under the age of 16. You do not need a formal diagnosis to claim for DLA. A child or young person may qualify for DLA if they have a physical disability and/or Special Educational Needs and require more help or supervision than other children of the same age.

Only schools can complete the profiling tool.

A range of practioners across different services have been trained to use the profiling tool. It doesn’t just have to be an education setting that can complete the tool with you. A rolling programme of training will be completed over the next year to ensure that a wide range of practitioners and agencies are trained to use the tool.

We do advocate that it is important that all agencies involved are part of the profiling exercise to ensure that there is a clear picture of needs and to get the most value for the tool.

Can I only access the ND team for support if I have a diagnosis or a profiling tool in place?

The team are available and open to anyone that may have a concern or need advice/guidance regarding a young person who presents with ND needs. You do not need to have a diagnosis to access the service and you do not need to have a completed profiling tool in place.

Will the new neurodiversity profiling tool mean we can't get a formal diagnosis?

From 1 July 2022, the ND profiling tool will replace the current referral process to request a ND clinical assessment. If someone would like to request an ND clinical assessment after completing a profile, they can discuss this with the neurodiversity team. Where a child or young person will benefit from a formal diagnosis (for example, where support is not having a sufficiently positive impact) we will move them forward in the formal diagnostic pathway.

If a child or young person is currently on the waiting list for an ND assessment, they will remain on the list.

My child is on the waiting list for an assessment. Does an ND profile need to be completed whilst we wait for assessment?

An ND profile does not need to be completed if a child is on the waiting list for assessment for their assessment to progress.

We would encourage those on the waiting list to complete a ND profile while they wait if there are concerns about unmet needs – this will not affect their position on the waiting list but will help to identify strategies that can support the child or young person and their family while waiting.

My child is showing signs of ND at home but not at school. How can I get support to complete an ND profile with my child?

The first step would be to speak to your school and explain your child’s behaviour at home. The school may have seen signs of this in school or your child may be masking.

We would suggest that it would be good to discuss your concerns with the school and agree a way forward.

It may be that signposting to other agencies are needed or that further support/strategies are needed. The neurodiversity team are available to provide advice and guidance to families and our neurodiversity platform also provides a range of information.

It may be that after further discussion with school that the profiling tool doesn’t need to be completed at this stage but could be considered again at some point in the future.

If we complete the profiling tool with my child or young person does that mean they get referred for an assessment with the ND team?

The ND profiling tool is used to understand the needs of your child or young person and to be able to put strategies in place to help support them at home and in school. This should help families, schools and other services to support young people more effectively, without requiring specialist support. If, after a review, it is felt the strategies have not worked as well as anticipated, you or the professional working with your child can contact the ND service for advice about moving forward with a formal ND assessment. Any decision made about going forward with a formal assessment will be made as part of a joint discussion with you, the school and the young person.

I am going to college in the next few months, will the college support me to use the strategies identified by the profiling tool?

A lot of local colleges are being trained in the profiling tool and therefore will be able to support you to utilise the strategies currently being used. They will also be able to review the profiling tool with you and your family and make changes where necessary.

If your college does not know about the tool or needs extra support, they can contact the ND service for more information.

Staff at my child's school are not trained to use the new neurodiversity profiling tool, so we won't be able to complete one.

Over the coming year, we will be working with all of our schools in Portsmouth to ensure that there are appropriately trained staff across the city. If a child would benefit from the completion of an ND profile, we will work with the right people to get this done.

I've been told that the new process won't work at our school, as it is too much additional work.

The process of using the new ND profiling tool will require all of our partners to work together to ensure we implement it properly. When the new ND profiling tool has been fully implemented, there will no longer be a requirement to complete lengthy autism referral forms, to collect a large number of assessments, or to coordinate information from numerous agencies to support referral for a formal diagnosis.

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