Children With Additional Needs, Unit 1a Capital Court, Bittern Road, Sowton Industrial Estate, Exeter EX2 7FE 01392 383 764 or 01392 383 768

Welcome to Devon Children With Additional Needs Service (Eastern)

We provide a range of services for children who have or may have additional needs.

More about us

Our services include children who have or who may have one or more of the following:

  • Speech, language and/or communication difficulties
  • Learning disability
  • Physical disability and/or complex health needs
  • Sensory disability or
  • Autistic spectrum conditions

A brief description of the services we provide is given below. If you need further information, please contact our teams listed below.

Occupational therapy

We provide an advice, assessment, intervention and support service for children who have a range of disabilities, disorders and additional needs that prevent them from carrying out the activities of everyday life.

It is for children who have difficulties in two or more functional areas such as self-care, school work, accessing play and leisure.

We provide advice and information, assessment and interventions including group work, individual work with a child and the identification and provision of equipment and adaptations.

Learning disability

Our nurses and psychologists provide a specialist community learning disability service which includes advice and support to families and to other professionals.

It includes behavioural, sleep and toileting assessments, working with children who have severe learning disability – including children who also have autism – developing community and school based programmes of support.

Referrals will be considered if the child is identified as having a cognitive impairment which is severe or profound and which limits educational and practical development.

Speech and language therapy

Our speech and language therapists provide a range of services from universal prevention and training to targeted assessments, intervention and training.

Assessment and therapeutic programmes include services for children with language/speech disorders or delay, disorder in fluency (stammers), disorders of voice, and feeding and swallowing difficulties (dysphagia).

We also provide an early years service to normally developing children with specific speech, language and communication needs and can support early years staff.

We also provide specialist help for children with learning difficulties, physical disability, autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, hearing impairment, cochlear implants, and maxilla-facial disorder including cleft palate.

We work closely with education and use information from Speech Link and Language Link to support contact from primary schools.

Please note that services to children living in south Devon are provided by South Devon Healthcare Trust.


Our portage service is a preschool education service which works in partnership with parents and carers to maximise preschool learning and development for children who have significant disability or delayed development.

Early years support advisory teachers work with education settings to support inclusion and successful transition to school.

Specialist child assessment centres (SCACs)

These are multidisciplinary specialist centres where children under five with significant and/or complex difficulties may be assessed. Our specialist centres work in close collaboration with professionals from other organisations, including paediatricians and educational psychologists.

Our multidisciplinary team works with families and carers to assess children’s difficulties, and then to develop an on-going treatment and management plan.

We have two centres:

  • Highfield House in Barnstaple and
  • Honeylands in Exeter

Our two centres provide the following care:

  • Specialist assessments
  • Diagnoses
  • Interventions which may comprise advice, treatment and therapies
  • Therapies – physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy
  • Parent peer support programmes e.g. early bird
  • Specialist clinics – wheelchair clinics, orthotic clinics and joint feeding assessment clinics, sleep clinics, orthoptic clinics and joint orthoptic and optician clinics
  • Specialist medical clinics – community paediatric clinics run by the consultant paediatricians and their team and
  • A safe, inviting environment including a toy library – open to any child with special needs (open during school term time) and a sensory room

Please note that centres for children living in south and west Devon are provided respectively by South Devon Healthcare Trust and Plymouth Hospitals Trust.

Children’s community nursing service

We provide a children’s nursing service in eastern Devon; this service provides community care for children who have medical or nursing needs. Services in other areas of Devon are provided by the relevant hospitals.

Our northern Devon integrated team includes a children’s community nurse who works with children who have a disability.

Our children’s palliative care nursing service covers the whole county and provides services for children who have life-limiting illness. This team works closely with all children’s community nursing teams.

Autistic spectrum conditions

Assessment of children who may have an autistic spectrum condition is carried out by multidisciplinary teams of professionals, including some who work for Virgin Care (including nurses and speech and language therapists) and others who work for other organisations (e.g. educational psychologists and paediatricians).

Children and young people are referred into our service when they are suspected of having autism. We assess children and young people and provide advice regarding support after their diagnosis.

Social care services

The following services provided by Devon County Council are part of our multidisciplinary teams:

  • Social work teams for children with disabilities (these teams include social workers and community care officers);
  • Rehabilitation officers for visual impairments (ROVICS); and
  • Information officers

Devon Children’s Services website

For more information, advice and toolkits please visit our website

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the Government’s health watchdog, responsible for ensuring that healthcare services registered with it provide high quality care that is safe, effective and compassionate. The CQC inspected our service in June 2017 and rated it as ‘good’. View CQC report.

Please type in your starting point in the box below to give you directions to the service location.

Where do I go for my child’s meeting?

We will let you know about the specific place and time of your child’s meeting when the appointment is confirmed.

If you need to bring any other children with you, please arrange for someone to supervise them during the meeting.

What happens during my child’s meeting?

Depending on your child’s needs, what happens in the meeting may vary.

How long will the meeting take?

Each appointment is dependent on your child’s needs so meeting times will vary.

Bringing someone with you to your child’s meeting

You are welcome to bring someone with you to your child’s meeting. Sometimes our staff may also request to have someone present for an appointment. If you or the member of staff is uncomfortable with the person, we’ll reschedule to a later date when the correct person is available

How do I cancel or change my child’s meeting?

If you and your child cannot make the meeting, please contact us as soon as you can. This will enable us to use the time to arrange an appointment for another child.

How does the service work?

The first thing that we will do is contact you to arrange a meeting for your child. All the work we do is created specifically for your child. We assess both home and school environments advising on adaptations which assist your child to access these independently. We do this in conjunction with other professionals.

How soon will my child be seen?

Following referral, we will ensure that we see your child as soon as possible. While we can’t be specific in this guide, we will contact you to discuss when we can see your child.

How will I get feedback about my child?

Keeping you involved in your child’s care is important to us. We’ll keep you updated on your child’s progress either face-to-face or in writing.

Who will treat my child?

Our team is dedicated to providing every child with the best care we can and every clinician has undertaken specific training.

Every member of our team has to provide evidence of their registration, training and criminal records status before they can work with your child.

Your child’s records

We record all the information about your child confidentially on our clinical system.

Click here to get more information about how we use health records.

Our commitment to you and your child

Virgin Care takes you and your child’s dignity and privacy very seriously and we will at all times respect your confidentiality.

Please treat our staff with respect so we can provide you with the very best care we can.

Click here to find out more about your rights and responsibilities.

What if you have a concern?

Please let us know if you have a comment, a compliment or a complaint by filling out one of our feedback forms that can be found within all of our service locations or telling a member of the team.

Alternatively, if you would like to make an official complaint you can find out more from our How to make a complaint section by clicking here.

Find out more

I was treated with great care and understanding. The care I received was second to none; everyone was so lovely.

Sapphire Ward, Gravesham Hospital