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Portage and Early Support Service

Providing early intervention for pre-school children with additional needs.

  • The Early Years Team is a group of professionals from Health and Education who work together to support pre-school children aged 0-5 years with a range of special educational needs and disability including language and communication difficulties, learning difficulties, physical and/or sensory impairment, difficulties affecting behaviour, severe and complex disabilities and children who have experienced disadvantage in their early years.
  • Thurrock Portage Service is part of the Early Years Team working in partnership with parents and carers of families with pre-school children who have additional needs.
  • Portage is a home visiting educational service supporting children’s development by helping parents and children to play and learn together.
  • The Portage Service is registered with the National Portage Association.
  • A Steering group made up of parents and professionals meets three times a year to review and monitor the service.

The Portage Team

  • A trained home visitor visits the family at home, enabling the child to work in a relaxed atmosphere in familiar surroundings
  • Home visitors receive regular support through team meetings led by the Portage and Early Support Lead and regular supervision from a Senior Educational Psychologist.
  • A steering group made up of parents and professionals meets twice a year to review and monitor the service.

Criteria for Portage

  • The child must be under five years old and not attend a nursery or pre-school setting.
  • The child must be developmentally delayed in two or more areas.
  • The child must be living in Thurrock.

How it Works

  • Once accepted to receive support from the Portage service, the family will receive a block of weekly or fortnightly visits from a trained Portage home visitor.
  • The Portage home visitor works in partnership with parents, carers, and other professionals to support the development of play, communication, relationships, and learning.
  • Following discussions with the parent/carers small steps are set to work towards an agreed target, enabling the child to succeed and the family to celebrate their child’s achievements.

Professional Links

  • In order to offer the best service to the child and family Portage home visitors will link with other professionals, e.g. physiotherapists, speech therapists etc., and joint visits are often undertaken.

Reviews & Transition

  • Once the block of home visits come to an end a review will take place in the family home to ensure that the service is still appropriate for the child and family.
  • Portage supports the child’s move from home into nursery/pre-school through a transition process.
  • Portage Outreach will become involved once a child has settled in a setting.

Portage Groups

  • Parents/carers are invited to bring their children to support groups on a regular basis to meet for a session of fun and friendship.
  • The children are able to use soft play and sensory equipment.
  • Parents and carers have the opportunity to make new friends with other families.

Who can refer to the service?

  • Referrals are welcome from parent/carers and all professionals.
  • Please contact the Portage Service for a referral form on 01375 898652