Local Offer - Early Years - Child Development

All children grow and develop at their own pace; but it's important to monitor children’s development and learning because the earlier a special educational need (SEN) is identified, the better a child’s chances are of achieving their full potential. This page provides information on child development in the early years (0-5 years), and what you can do if you have concerns about your child's development.

Child Development

Every child is unique and develops at their own pace. Health and development reviews are offered until your child is two years old, which can help monitor their progress and address any concerns you may have. 

If your child attends an early years setting, they may have an Integrated Progress Check around age 2. This is a developmental review completed by early years settings and the designated community nursery nurse or health visitor to ensure that children’s needs are identified and plans are put in place to support them as required.

If you have any concerns, you can always talk to any of the professionals below. 

The below documents may be used by professionals in the early years sector for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). You may find it helpful to read through these to get a more enhanced understanding of development in the early years.

You can also visit the Doncaster Health Visitors website which contains lots of information to help you to support your child's health and development.

Who can I talk to if I have concerns about my child's development?

If you're worried about your child's development, it’s really important that you raise concerns as soon as possible. There are a number of ways that you can do this do this. For example. you can speak to:

Your Child's GP

Your local doctor deals with your child's general health and can refer you to clinics, hospitals and specialists when needed. Any concerns about your child's health, wellbeing and development can be raised with your local GP. If your child isn't already registered with a local GP, you can find a list of them here.

Your Child's Health Visitor

Doncaster Health Visiting team are on hand to support you and your family. They work with children from shortly after birth up to 5 years old when they start school. They offer a number of scheduled reviews which give you the opportunity to talk about your child’s general development. They use an assessment tool commonly known as the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ). The ASQ delivers a clear understanding of your child’s development and progress and can flag up any early concerns about your child’s development so that help and support is given. You can find some really good information on Doncaster Health Visitors website.

You can contact your health visitor using the 'Single Point of Contact' (SPOC) on 01302 566776. You can call the SPOC helpline if you have any questions or need advice. Lines are open Monday-Friday, 9am-4.30pm. When you call, someone will take your details and you should receive a call back the same day.

You can also follow the Doncaster Health Visitors Facebook page for regular updates and information.

Your Local Family Hub

Doncaster has 12 welcoming and friendly Family Hubs. The Hubs are places where different services such as midwives, health visitors, family support workers, early years professionals and services relating to SEND work together to offer support to families. They are there for you as a first point of contact and you can drop-in anytime without an appointment.

Your Child's Early Years Provider

If your child attends a childcare or early education provider, you can share your concerns with their key person or special educational needs coordinator (SENCO). Communicating with your child’s key person and working with them to identify and support your child's progress is really important. They understand child development are trained to know what to do and how to connect you with other services who can help.

Specialist Support Services

Babies and very young children who have an early diagnosis of medical, sensory, phyiscal or complex SEND will be referred to specialists based in hospitals or in the community. This may include a paediatrician or community nurse, or services such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy or multi-sensory impairment teams (including hearing and vision support).

These services will offer ongoing support which will include helping your child's early years setting prepare for, and understand, your child's needs, meaning the setting can offer the most welcoming and inclusive environment possible.

I have concerns about:

My child's physical development

All children develop at different rates, however, there are key milestones which are used as an indicator to ensure children are developing as they should. 

Child health and development reviews give health visitors the opportunity to check whether your child's development is on track, and if not, start the process of support. If you have concerns, you can contact the Doncaster Health Visiting team for advice. 

If your child has been diagnosed with certain medical conditions, they may meet expected milestones later than other children. You should speak to the health professionals involved in your child's care about what you can expect.

My child's speech and language skills

Speech and Language UK's progress checker is a great tool to give you an idea of whether or not your child is meeting their expected speech and language milestones. If you child's speech and language skills are delayed, you may be able to get support from South Yorkshire Talking Together (SYTT).

SYTT is a regional initiative to support children’s speech, language, and communication development in South Yorkshire. In Doncaster, we offer:

  • One-to-one support
  • Group sessions
  • An informative website with lots of tips and idea on how you can support your child at home

Visit our health webpage to find out more about the support available to support children's speech, language and communication skills.

Toilet training

Whilst most children may start toilet training between 18 and 24 month old, others may not be ready until they are older. 

If you are concerned about your child's toilet training, you can speak to your health visitor for advice. You can also visit the ERIC website for advice on potty training children with additional needs and general information and advice.

Children with an additional need often need more support with learning to use a potty or toilet. Therefore, they may be still using nappies when they start school.  It would be unlawful for a school to refuse entry for a child with a disability or medical condition which affects their bladder or bowel control. 

Something else

If you have concerns about any part of your child's development then you can speak to the professionals listed above.

What support is available to aid my child's development at home?

Children learn so much in their early years. Simple everyday interactions with your child can have a huge impact on their development, from talking to them throughout the day, to reading with them at night. 

Your local Family Hub will be able to give you lots of practical tips and ideas on how you can support your child's development at home. You can also get ideas and inspiration from the Doncaster Health Visitors and South Yorkshire Talking Together Facebook pages.

Here are some other websites which have a range of helpful information and ideas:


Back to Early Years

Local Offer Homepage

Last updated: 08 February 2024 15:54:57


Find Doncaster Local Offer on Facebook

City of Doncaster Council’s Families Information Service is responsible for co-ordinating and publishing the Local Offer – Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

Did you find this page helpful?