Many local health services are for people of all ages and different conditions. Your child might not need to move between services. If your child gets specialist services related to their disability, they will probably be moving to Adult Social Care.

Annual health check for children with SEND

From the age of 14 your GP will invite your child to a free annual health check if they've been assessed as having either:

  • moderate, severe or profound learning disabilities
  • a mild learning disability with complex health needs

Your child doesn't have to have the health check, but it can help find problems that could go undetected if they don't. If your child hasn't been invited to one and you think they should have been, speak to your doctor. 

Find out more about annual health checks from the NHS.

The annual health check is also an opportunity to review any changes that will take place in the health care your child will get when they turn 18 years old. 

When and how to plan the transition to adult health services

If your child has health services that are specifically for children, they'll normally transfer to adult services at 18 years old. 

Planning for your child to transfer to these services usually starts when your child is around 14 years old or in year 9 at school. 

Your child will have lots of written information about their health needs and teams will use this information to prepare your child's move to adult health services. 

Moving to adult health services also means that:

  • your child can make their own appointments
  • you or your child may have to pay for prescriptions
  • your GP can ask questions directly to your child without you being there

Preparing for adulthood website has details on the support your child can get to manage their own health, including information on:

  • moving from child to adult mental health services
  • young people's rights when using the NHS
  • how the healthcare system works

Move to adult mental health services 

If your child receives support from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), this will end when they reach 18 years old. Your CAMHS worker will look at transferring care to adult mental health services if they think your child needs ongoing support.

The age you move to adult services can differ but your child should be told at least 6 months before it's due to happen. YoungMinds website has guidance on how people move from CAMHS to adult services.

Specialist health services from 18 years old

Find out about the mental health and learning disabilities service from Dorset Healthcare NHS?

Relationships and sexual health

You can find information about puberty, sex and relationships for people with a learning disability from Council for Disabled Children's website.

Alcohol, drugs, sexual health and weight advice

Visit Public Health Dorset for advice on:

  • alcohol including tips on drinking safely and support for addiction
  • drugs, which includes advice and support about drug misuse and treatment services
  • sexual health such as information on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and contraception
  • weight advice including how to check if you are a healthy weight and who can help


Get advice on bullying including what you can do and who you can talk to about it.

Getting active

For information on how to get active if you have an impairment or a long-term health condition, visit the NHS website.

Health support and advice

Visit our health section for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities. This includes information on basic services like doctors and dentists and more complex services like speech and language therapy.

Mental health and wellbeing

For information about mental health and wellbeing, visit Live Well on the NHS website. This includes a set of simple steps that anyone can take to improve their wellbeing.

Find information about long-term illnesses or where to go if you feel you're having problems with your emotions on the Wessex Healthier Together website.

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