Overview for toddlers with additional needs
Meeting the needs of a toddler is demanding, but when your toddler has an additional need it can be even more challenging.
Find out where to get advice, guidance and support to help you respond to and deal with the challenges and demands of looking after a toddler with additional needs.
Information from external websites
The NHS has a helpful article on help with your autistic child's behaviour.
Surrey's Early Support team suggest you use a good day / bad day diary. It's a handy resource for you to learn about your child's behaviour and any triggers or times when their behaviour is more challenging. It is really helpful to take this to your GP (or other professionals supporting your child) if you do have concerns about your child's behaviour.
You might want to look at the general resources on our toddler behaviour page.
Cerebra, the charity for children with brain conditions has a helpful Sleep Advice Service. They have lots of free downloadable resources, including a sleep guide, sleep cards and the sleep tips booklet.
The National Autistic Society has an informative guide called 'Sleep – a guide for parents of autistic children' that looks at the reasons why autistic children can have difficulty sleeping and suggests what you can do to help.
Surrey's Early Support Team have great advice on sleep. They recommend using a sleep diary too. It's a handy resource for you to learn about your child's sleep and wake patterns and what might influence this. It's really helpful to take this to your GP (or other professionals supporting your child) if you do have concerns about your child's sleep.
The Sleep Charity have a quick read on sleep and children with additional needs.
You might want to look at the general resources on our toddler sleep problems page.
The charity Contact for families with disabled children has a useful booklet on feeding and eating that is free to download.
Surrey's Early Support team suggest keeping a food diary. It's a handy resource for you to learn about your child's eating habits. You might want to see if anything they are eating triggers sleep issues or behaviour issues too. It is really helpful to take this to the GP if you have concerns about your child's eating (or sleep and behaviour if you think food or drinks may be having an impact).
You might want to look at the general resources on our fussy eaters page.
Toddler potty training
Cerebra, the charity for children with brain conditions has a helpful page on toilet training with free downloadable resources, including a guide for parents and a handy infographic guide to toilet training children with autism and intellectual disabilities.
The charity Contact for families with disabled children has a useful booklet on potty and toilet training that is free to download.
ERIC (Children's Bowel and Bladder Charity) has a short page on potty training children with additional needs, with links to a Bladder and bowel assessment chart, ERICs guide to Potty training and ERICs guide for children with additional needs
ERIC (Children's Bowel and Bladder Charity) also has a sensitive guide for children with additional needs for when toilet training is not so straightforward, and for those children for whom it is unlikely to be possible. Free to download.
The National Autistic Society has an informative guide on toileting for parents and carers that provides some useful steps that will hopefully make toilet training your autistic child a success.
You might want to look at the general resources on our toddlers potty training problems page.
Concerned about your child? Contact for families with disabled children have a handy leaflet on how to identify the right specialist if you have concerns about your toddler's behaviour feeding, toilet training, or sleep.
Struggling and need to talk?
The Contact charity for families with disabled children have a free helpline for parents and carers who want to talk through their issues with an expert advisor. The helpline is open 9.30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday. Call 0808 8083555.
The National Autistic Society offer a parent to parent emotional support line. It is a confidential telephone service providing emotional support to parents and carers of autistic adults or children. The service is provided by trained parent volunteers who are all parents of an autistic adult or child.
The Surrey Children and Family Health Advice Line is available from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) and provides support on all aspects of child health, development and parenting for families with children from birth to 19 years old.
Surrey-wide 0-19 Advice Line: 01883 340 922
You could also talk to your health visitor or your GP.
Helpful tools and apps
Qwell provides a safe, confidential way for parents/carers of children and young people with SEND in Surrey to access online emotional wellbeing support.
The service is free and requires no formal referral, instead only requiring the user to set up an account on the website. Qwell's counsellors are fully qualified and available from 12 noon to 10pm Monday to Friday and 6pm to 10pm at weekends, 365 days a year.
Thrive is a game based NHS assessed app designed to help you manage stress and anxiety.
Online parenting courses
Surrey residents get free access to three online guides that include top tips from childcare, education and NHS health experts:
The online guides have been written by experts and contain advice relevant to expectant parents, parents, grandparents and carers of children of all ages including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
How to register
Registration is quick and easy. Go to the OurPlace website and use the access code 'ACORN' to get your free guides.
Access to the guides is unlimited with no expiry date, so you can return as and when you need and want to. Why not watch the Child and Family Health video to find out more.
Community support, courses and local help
Choose the area you live in for local services. Please note that due to coronavirus (Covid-19) very few community services are currently running.
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Date published: 03 Mar 2021