Learning Disability Team

We are a specialist team of Learning Disability Nurses and child Learning Disability Clinical Psychologists. We provide a community Learning Disability service providing advice and support to children, young people, and parents/carers as well as to healthcare and education professionals.

Children & Family Health Devon provides the NHS Learning Disability service across Devon.

Support available:

  • Communication for a young person with a learning disability
  • Sexual Health for young people with a learning disability
  • Sleep Problems for a child with learning disabilities
  • Emotional support for parents of a child or young person with a learning disability
  • Learning Disability and Autistic Spectrum Condition
  • Behaviours of concern

About us

The service we offer includes behavioural, sleep and assessments to support continence and skills for independence with children and young people who have profound and severe levels of learning disability; working with children who have profound and severe levels of learning disability (including children with additional diagnosis such as Autism, Down’s Syndrome etc.) and supporting the development of community and school-based programmes of support. As such, we offer support both directly to children and young people with learning disabilities and indirectly in order to facilitate access to mainstream services.

How can I help?

The following toolkits are available to support you to record behaviours, sleep patterns and other information which will be useful in assessing the support a child or young person requires:

  • Behavioural pack

    This toolkit includes basic information and advice on behaviour. The pack will allow you to record information which is useful during a clinic assessment to allow the clinician to assess the help needed.

  • Sleep hygiene information and sleep diaries >

    This includes sleep hygiene information sheets to give you basic advice for promoting healthy sleep patterns. We only support families with severe sleep problems but this information is useful for all families and children.  The sheets here allow you to record information on sleep patterns and approaches which will be useful for the clinican when you attend an appointment with us. 

  • Independence pack >

    This pack includes a basic explanation of techniques which may be useful for a family and help to reduce anxiety. 

How can we help?

The function of the Learning Disability Team is to provide specialist community learning disability nursing, psychological input and specialist advice, as well as support and health facilitation for children and young people with learning disabilities and their parents/carers, which will enable them to access mainstream health & community services across Devon.

We provide specialist therapeutic interventions which may include: behavioural or functional assessments; assessment of a child or young person’s emotional development; and sleep assessments. We also see a large proportion of children and young people with a learning disability who also have a diagnosis or presentation of an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC), where these children and young people are deemed to have severe needs which impact on their behaviour.

The team support parents and carers in the development of coping skills and resilience around the impact the learning disability may have on their child. We promote and adopt innovative ways of supporting the child or young person to access positive physical health and emotional wellbeing, by promoting inclusion or by directly supporting the young person and their family to access mainstream health provisions.

What happens next?

All requests for service are prioritised according to need and urgency, based on the information provided to us when the request is made. The urgency is defined by the service and where appropriate the person who made the request for service and the child or young person’s family.

We aim to see all children and young people within 18 weeks of accepting the request for service. We will try, wherever possible, to start the assessment process prior to the first clinic appointment by asking parents/carer(s) or the child or young person to begin to record behaviours, sleep patterns and feelings where this is appropriate. This information will help inform our assessment.

What to expect on your first appointment

You will be offered an appointment as near to your home address as possible.

Initially you will be seen by either a Learning Disability Nurse or Clinical Psychologist dependent on you and your child’s assessed need. At the first appointment, unless stated otherwise you will not be expected to bring your child with you.

During the appointment you will be given the opportunity to discuss your concerns and a relevant assessment will commence, At the end of the first appointment an Outcome Plan of you and your child’s journey with the Learning Disability team will be agreed. As a team we work to empower you as parents, and whenever possible involve your child in the process.

You will be given an option at the beginning of the assessment to request alternative formats for assessments and reports, such as easy read.

What is the process?

Location of Centres

We will arrange to see you at a location convenient to you or near to your home, which may or may not be listed below. You should not visit the locations below unless we have sent you an appointment and requested that you do. If you need help please contact us using the number on this page.

Springfield Court (North) Springfield Court, Fishleigh Road, Roundswell Business Park, Barnstaple EX31 3UD
Capital Court (East) 1a Capital Court, Bittern Road, Sowton Industrial Estate Exeter EX2 7FW
Lescaze Offices (South Devon)  Shinner’s Bridge, Totnes, Devon TQ9 6JE


Children and Family Health Devon
Single Point of Access Team
1a Capital Court
Bittern Road
Sowton Industrial Estate
Exeter EX2 7FW

Email: CFHD.DevonSPA@nhs.net

t: 0330 024 5321 – ask to speak to a duty member from the Learning Disability Team