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For those of you who get Portage, what exactly do you get/do during the visit?

(18 Posts)
Mamax4 Sat 12-Jul-08 18:06:57

For those of you who get Portage, what exactly do you get/do during the visit?

misscutandstick Sat 12-Jul-08 19:11:29

im interested too, Our portage worker will be coming in September (new term), shes already done an initial Visit, then Initial assessments to find out what he can do (things like: stand to squat, jump both feet, point, say anything, feed himself, etc) but she didnt really tell me what they do other than help out with therapies from OT or SALT, and (I think) play therapies. Im not sure but i think her say something about doing "half-term" blocks?

Graciefer Sun 13-Jul-08 13:56:35

When we had our Portage worker for DS1 she helped to teach us techniques to use with him, such as TEACHH and PECS.

She also provided an awful lot of practical help in terms of helping us to become aware of and apply for benefits, the incontinence service, accompanied us on the visits to special schools and helped us identify what we would be looking for/pertinent questions to ask, etc.

She also acted as an advocate for us and visited the assessment nursery at the CDC that he was attending to observe and give feedback to the staff, when we had concerns and was always a great 'sounding board' whenever we needed one.

She also made us aware of other areas of support, such as local 'step by step' nurserys and specialised events, this was great as it allowed me to make contact with lots of other parents with similar experiences.

Even now I still recieve correspondence from portage frequently and have the opportuntity to use a 'friends of Plymouth Portage' caravan for a reduced cost, which is on a site in Cornwall and has been fully fitted out for families with SN children, even though DS1's portage service finished around 2 years ago.

DS2 will be having his own Portage worker starting in September and although we no longer need the support and advice that we needed with DS1 (as we were very new to the world that is SN), we are very much looking forward to the different kind of support that will be offered, which will be more around physio and communication rather than managing behaviours.

So in answer to your question, Portage for my family is/was a bespoke service that was catered to our own indiviual needs and I should imagine that is what it will be to you.

However I am aware that although I have had a great experience with Portage, this hasn't always been the case for everyone on Mumsnet and perhaps the quality of provision, like most things SN can be somewhat of a postcode lottery.

I do hope that your experience is as great as ours though.

Best of luck with it.

Wormseverywhere Sun 13-Jul-08 20:17:46

Our Portage worker is fab. She's been mainly concentrating on speech therapy through play as that's where DD1 needs the most help but she's also done some OT work too. After every visit she leaves us "homework" for the following week. Last week she left some wooden fruit and knije and DD1 had to cut them (they velcro-ed together). The aim of the task was to encourage the use of DD1's left hand, which she very rarely uses. She thought it was great!
It's all fun stuff but with serious therapy behind it.

Mamax4 Mon 14-Jul-08 00:26:23

How does Portage get assigned? And is it means-tested? Ie, to start from the beginning, if my ds has been identified as SN at school, who calls portage? I? And what do I say? "I have a speech-delayed ds, can I please have a portage worker?" Or do I need a dx or a statement or some formal something that would entitle me to Portage? (And do they work together with others, then, like your SALT?) I guess I am pretty clueless about the process, and how it all ties into the rest of the services you may (or may not) get. Thanks!

wrinklytum Mon 14-Jul-08 01:37:42

I think that portage is for pre school children from my understanding.If a child has delays in 2 or more developmental areas.It is a learning through play scheme and the worker comes and does input with your child and you do suggested exercises,whether physical/intellectual/social with them as suggrsted ona weekly/fortnightly basis.It is not means tested.It is a fabv scheme.If you input portage into google it will explain more.HTH.yOU CAN SELF REFER IF NEEDED.jUST GO TO WEBSITE FOR MORE INFO.

misscutandstick Mon 14-Jul-08 07:03:51

I think that portage is for children under school age.

Me and DH were very concerned that DS5 hadnt actually developed in a full year (no progression at all, still doing things a 12mth would do even tho he was 2yrs) and the Paed referred us to 'inclusion', and now we will be having a portage worker in september (they are linked to the LEA and so only work in term time). XXX

Mamax4 Mon 14-Jul-08 13:02:53

Pre-school means under 3? ie before nursery age? or before primary school age of 5? And I guess the first step is ped, and then ped refers you to portage, ie, the referral is not through the nursery or school.

misscutandstick Mon 14-Jul-08 13:45:03

no, portage is not referred by school, yes its a referral by Paed, im not sure that a HV could do it - or wether they would automatically refer to Paed to get the ball rolling for everything else that might be needed as well, if portage is needed. IYSWIM. actually, im not sure if its 3 or 5, but i suspect its 5 - to help you find the right school if needed. HTH XXX

Graciefer Mon 14-Jul-08 13:53:01

DS1 (ASD) was referred to Portage by his paed, DS2 (downs syndrome) was reffered by the specialist health visitor.

DS1 portage visits stopped when he was 4 and started 3 days a week in the reception class at his special school. So I should imagine it could be up to 5, although I am not completely sure of that.

Wormseverywhere Mon 14-Jul-08 14:25:59

Parents can self-refer to Portage and it covers all children under reception year.

misscutandstick Mon 14-Jul-08 16:03:17

the problem with self-refer of course is that if one has no professionals helping, then one probably doesnt know that there are people/groups that are offering the help in the first place, regardless of self-refer or not! hmm IYSWIM. XXX

mm22bys Mon 14-Jul-08 16:32:06

My experience is: don't get your hopes up too high.

DS2 was assessed in September, and since then, he has seen a portage worker 3 times. Actually, she wasn't even a TRAINED portage worker, she was just "agency staff", I found out today.

They only run in term times (so we won't see anyone now till September).

I have been told that they do run training workshops for parents, but was told they were "very expensive" (at £135).

We also saw the NHS physio today, for the first time since April.

It's just not good enough.

I am seriously considering sending our PCT a bill for the cost of all DS2's private medical care/therapy we have incurred since July last year. It would horrify you....but Portage (along with everything else that we haven't paid for) has been useless.

mm22bys Mon 14-Jul-08 16:33:53

Oh I meant to say.... it was obvious to everybody back in February last year there were serious issues with DS2, but before we could even be considered for NHS therapy, we had to have him assessed by the child development team, and he wasn't seen by them till September

If you can self-refer, do so ASAP, more power to you!

Wormseverywhere Mon 14-Jul-08 18:32:58

Our Portage worker is wonderful and will be coming in the holidays. I guess these things can vary between regions.

ouryve Mon 14-Jul-08 23:59:52

DS2 is possibly autistic and is behind with a lot of motor skills and play skills and when our portage worker visits, we play. A lot. She's saved me from constantly going out and buying stuff that I hope might stimulate DS2 and he's becoming more inclined to play with her and less clingy with me and his eye contact has improved no end. Just having the regular company of another adult who is willing to understand him makes the world of difference to me, too.

ouryve Tue 15-Jul-08 00:03:05

And just to add, the portage stated early last month and we're still going through the diagnosis process. Our local team did their own assessment of need based on the referral from the paediatrician and HV and an initial visit and interview.

Arabica Tue 15-Jul-08 00:18:54

Our portage worker is supposed to be for DD but has been a real support for all of us. She was the one who suggested I apply for DLA, and she has recommended a nursery for DD when she is 3. She reads all DD's reports or has informal chats with her OT, SALT, physio and audiology team, then works out some play goals (eg finding activities to encourage DD to reach across her body for objects)

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