New Profiling Tool to help identify children and young people with neuro-developmental needs

A new profiling tool to support a child or young person showing signs of neuro-developmental needs has launched in Portsmouth.

The Neurodiversity (ND) Profiling Tool is the first step in identifying neurodiversity within children and young people aged 0-19. The tool was piloted with 50 families in Portsmouth from March 2021 to April 2022 and has now been approved for use across the city.

The ND Profiling Tool assesses nine developmental strands of a child or young person aged 0-19. This includes speech and language, energy levels, attention skills, emotion regulation, sensory levels, flexibility and adaptability, and empathy.

This provides a holistic view of a child or young person’s needs and suggests types of strategies that can be put in place to help manage those needs in different areas of life, such as at home, at their Early Years setting, school or college, and in the community.

A parent and child who took part in the pilot said:

“The SENCO gave information to the teachers, and the teachers then questioned ‘oh so that’s why we do this’ or ‘that’s why, for example, he behaves in that way’, so I found it very interesting because they’ve put in place specific strategies and adaptations and resources for [my child].” – Parent

“You can see what you need more help in, and you can just show them [the professional] instead of actually telling them.” – Child

The process of completing the profile is done jointly with a trained professional alongside the child or young person if appropriate, and their family. More than 200 nursery workers, school workers or health visitors across the city have already received training in completing the ND Profiling Tool, with more being trained each week.

Cllr Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care at Portsmouth City Council, said:

“We’re really pleased that after a successful pilot the new Neurodiversity Profiling Tool is launching more widely across Portsmouth. The new tool will help to identify the type of support a child or young person may need, which will allow for strategies to be put in place to support them in different areas of life. To be able to offer this more efficiently, with greater support from our neurodiversity teams, is something we are incredibly proud of.”

As of 1 July 2022, the ND Profiling Tool replaces the current referral process to request a ND clinical assessment. Instead, trained professionals will be required to complete the ND Profiling Tool in the first instance. This will mean no long waits for a full ND assessment (currently at 18+ months) and children and young people will be provided with strategies to help them manage their needs with the support of family and education settings.

However, if a child or young person is currently on the waiting list for an ND assessment, they will remain on the list. Equally, if someone would like to request an ND clinical assessment after completing a profile, they can discuss this with the new neurodiversity team

Those on the waiting list are encouraged to complete a profile while they wait. This will not affect their position on the waitlist and will help to identify strategies that can support the child or young person and their family while waiting.

The ND Profiling Tool has been co-produced by Portsmouth City Council in partnership with Portsmouth Parent Voice, Dynamite and partners across education, health, social care, and early years. It is delivered through Health and Care Portsmouth.

Find out more about the ND Profiling Tool: