Our Paediatric Disability Service consists of a team of consultants and trainees with expertise in paediatric disability.

Who can refer to the paediatric diability service?

Parents can seek referral via their GP, Health Visitor or any other professional involved in their care.
If Nursery or School staff are making a referral, it is better for this to be via the GP if possible, in order to optimise communication and reduce the risk of duplication.

Why should a child or young person be referred to the paediatric disability service?

If there are concerns that a child or young person may have a disability or is following a different developmental journey to other children their age, it can be important to identify any health conditions or diagnoses that can be made.

This is so that an explanation can be given for the child, young person and their family as to why they are different, how this might affect them now and in the future.

We know that in the absence of other explanations about why a child is different, parents, especially mothers, tend to blame themselves, thinking it was something they did or didn’t do when they were pregnant or in parenting that has made their child as they are.

Having the right diagnosis or diagnoses:

  • Can help the paediatrician to explain what the child’s functioning is likely to be like now and in the future, answering all the important questions that parents want to know: Will she walk? Will he talk? Will she need special support in education? Will she grow up to have a job, have relationships?
  • Can help with access to genetic counselling. This means explaining the chances for a family of having other children with the same diagnoses and also explaining the chances of the child themselves having children with the same diagnosis.
  • Can help get the management right and to enable early intervention to be put in place, where there is good evidence that this makes a positive difference.
  • Can help the paediatrician to think about what else might be going on, that may impact on the child’s ability to take part in everyday activities or enjoy the best possible quality of life
  • Stops the need for more tests, which can be painful for the child and inconvenient for the family
  • Can open doors to the right support and information

Where to get support

There are various places that you can get support, whilst waiting for an appointment, diagnosis or in case of any concerns.

Contact a Family North East
The Dene Centre, Castle Farm Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 1PH
Freephone: 0808 808 3555
North East Office number: 0191 213 6300

email: northeast.office@cafamily.org.uk

Sunderland Carer’s Centre
Thompson Park, Thompson Park Road, Sunderland SR5 1SF
Telephone: 0191 549 3768
Email: info@sunderlandcarers.co.uk

Durham County Carers Support
Unit 1, Hutton Close, South Church Enterprise Park, Bishop Auckland, County Durham DL14 6LG
Telephone: 0300 005 1213

Sunderland, Washington and Coalfields Parent Carer Council
Sunderland Carer’s Centre, Thompson Park, Thompson Park Road, Sunderland SR5 1SF
Telephone: 0191 549 3768
Email: swcpcc@gmail.com

City Equals
City Equals is a group representing the voice of young people with learning disabilities or difficulties living in Sunderland
Telephone: 0191 561 7401
Email: angela.mills@sunderland.gov.uk

Sunderland Network for Disabled Children
Tel: 0191 520 5553
Email: LifeandFamily@sunderland.gov.uk

Children and Young People’s Network County Durham
Communications, Marketing and Information Team, County Hall, Durham DH1 5UG
Telephone: 03000 265 792
Email: CYPN@durham.gov.uk

Contact Us
Sunderland Royal Hospital: Switchboard 0191 5656256
Dr Madhuri Dasarathi, Consultant Neurodisability extension 42486
Dr Carl Harvey, Consultant Neurodisability extension 42490
Dr Karen Horridge, Consultant Neurodisability extension 42485

Finding Us
We are based at the Niall Quinn Centre at Sunderland Royal Hospital, with outreach in the communities of Sunderland, Washington, Coalfields and North Easington.

Our Team
Consultant Neurodisability- Dr Madhuri Dasarathi   
Consultant Neurodisability- Dr Carl Harvey                 
Consultant Neurodisability -Dr Karen Horridge          
Divisional General Manager- Jackie Butterworth        
Directorate Manager- Derek Curry            
Matron- Richard Allsop