Warrington Childrens Specialist Learning Difficulties Nursing Team

The Team works in close collaboration with Families and Carers to manage behaviour issues for children and young people, with learning disabilities, aged 0-19 years, in the home environment.   We work very closely with parents to help them develop a consistent approach to managing their child’s behavior.  

Our aim is to provide a high quality, holistic, needs led service focusing on the behavioural and developmental needs of children and young people with learning disabilities, Autistic Spectrum Conditions and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

The team also support families who are accessing the Child Development Centre for the first time by collating family information and providing information about the service they are about to receive. 

The team works closely with parents and professionals supporting the child to develop a consistent approach. In order to build the skills and capacity of parents and community health staff to work more effectively with the children, young people and families who use the service, the service will offer training and development opportunities to these groups.

Our Values 

As a team we adhere to the organisational values of Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Trust.  We provide a patient centred service by focusing on the child / young person and the team around the family looking to make a positive difference to their lives.

We constantly strive to evaluate our service and look for new, more effective and innovative ways of working.

We value all forms of communication and aim to communicate in an open and honest way that enables an atmosphere of trust and respect throughout.

We offer a professional quality service, following local and national professional guidelines with a comprehensive management structure, support and training packages that ensure best evidence-based practice at all times.

We are locally-led and flexible about the settings of our intervention to best meet the needs of the child and family.

We are efficient and use our resources wisely to ensure quality care and value for money.

Working with our Partners 

Evidence shows that the best results are achieved when we work with those in daily contact with the child and young person.  This enables those around him / her to promote positive behaviour in a variety of meaningful environments.  The service works with Parents / Carers, Paediatricians, Allied Health Professionals, Education staff, G.P’s, Social Workers and Private and Voluntary Organisations as a team around the child. The service works in a variety of settings to deliver support and integrate management strategies and techniques into daily life to improve the potential of the individual child/young person. 

We aim to form a partnership with families and professionals to enable others to maximise the child’s potential.  Parents are a significant member of the team who hold a unique insight into their child and whose contribution we value.  Our role as a Specialist Service is to provide support and advice to the significant people in the child’s life.

We aim to work in an integrated way with partner agencies to develop services for children and young people with additional needs. This includes joint working at a planning  level e.g. involvement in the Complex Case Panel, Short Breaks Panel, Continuing Care Panel, ADHD Foundation project and also close liaison with Social Care, Inclusion, CAMHs and Education on a daily basis.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Anne Tobiasen
01925 867843

Where to go

Child Development Centre
Sandy Lane

Other details


Age ranges
Referral required
Referral details

Referrals are accepted from:

  • Paediatricians
  • Hospital Consultants
  • Health Visitors
  • School Nurses
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy
  • Social Workers
  • Inclusion Workers
  • General Practitioners
  • Education staff e.g. Nursery, School, SENCo, Educational Psychologist
  • Other Professionals: e.g. Family Support Workers

Inappropriate referrals will be signposted to the appropriate service where possible.

Local Offer


Expertise Available to Families

Children, Young People and their families can access expert knowledge in the following aspects:

  • Information on Learning Disability, Autism, ADHD and Emotional health and wellbeing.
  • Functional assessment of behaviour issues
  • In depth assessment of sleep difficulties
  • Advice on behavioural issues based on behaviour modification techniques (B.F. Skinner, Pavlov, Bandura)
  • Promotion of Emotional health and wellbeing
  • Advice on eating and drinking difficulties, of a behavioural nature.
  • Advice on toileting issues
  • Advice on early play and development based on the Portage model.
  • Advice on Relaxation techniques using multi-sensory facilities
  • Support for implementing strategies in the home such as structured timetables, symbols, social stories
  • Individual parenting advice and support based on Webster Stratton parenting programme
  • Management of Autism
  • Management of ADHD

Team members also monitor children and young people with a diagnosis of ADHD who are on medication as per NICE guidance, conduct QB tests, run the Developmental Play Group at Woolston Play and Sensory Centre, deliver training to parent groups and staff groups and complete ADOS assessments. The team also contacts families when their child has been referred to the Child Development Centre to gather information and to provide information about the assessment process. We often take on the role of Lead Professional in Family Support Meetings and complete CAF Assessments. We also contribute to continuing care decision assessments.

What is a Learning Disability?

Learning disability is also referred to as special needs, intellectual disability and developmental disability.   The term ‘Learning Disability’ is defined by the Department of health as follows:

Learning disability includes the presence of:

  • A significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information, to learn new skills (impaired intelligence), with;
  • A reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning); which started before adulthood, with a lasting effect on development.

(GB.DH 2001)

What is a Challenging Behaviour?

The most commonly used definition of challenging behaviour is: 

‘Behaviour of such an intensity, frequency and duration that the physical safety of the person or others is likely to be placed in serious jeopardy, or behaviour that is likely to seriously limit the use of, or result in the person being denied access to ordinary community facilities’

                                                                 (Emerson 1995)

What is Autism?

“Autism is a lifelong disability which affects the way an individual relates to people, situations and their immediate environment. The term Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is often used because the impact of autism varies from person to person”(Department of Health)

“It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.” (The National Autistic Society)

Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.” (The National Autistic Society)

What is ADHD?                                                                              

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a group of behavioural symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

Common symptoms of ADHD include:

  • a short attention span or being easily distracted
  • restlessness, constant fidgeting or over activity
  • being impulsive

ADHD is a common behavioural disorder in children and young people. It usually starts in early childhood and some people will continue to have ADHD as adults. Severe ADHD is sometimes known as 'hyperkinetic disorder'.

The symptoms of ADHD include being:

  • inattentive – unable to concentrate for very long or finish a task, disorganised, often losing things, easily distracted and forgetful, unable to listen when people are talking
  • hyperactive – fidgety and unable to sit still, restless (children may be running or climbing much of the time), talking constantly, noisy, having difficulty doing quiet activities
  • impulsive – speaking without thinking about the consequences, interrupting other people, unable to wait or take their turn.

Not all people with ADHD have all these symptoms, and everyone can be inattentive, hyperactive or impulsive some of the time, particularly children. But a person with ADHD has symptoms most of the time that can seriously affect their everyday life. They may also be clumsy, unable to sleep, have temper tantrums and mood swings and find it hard to socialise and make friends.” (NICE)

Contact Name
Anne Tobiasen
Contact Telephone
01925 867843