By Post FIS, 1 Reading Lane, E8 1GQ
What is Portage?
Portage is a specialist educational home visiting service for pre-school children
aged 0 - 5 with special needs.
The service helps young children whose development is delayed.
Key to the success of work with Portage is the involvement of parents / carers who are recognised as the best people to teach very young children.
Children learn from birth but some children learn more slowly and parents / carers are not always sure how best to help their child develop. Portage can help to provide the kinds of activities and games that are best suited to encouraging a child’s development.
Why does Portage see children in the home?
Young children spend most of their time at home, it is where a great deal of learning takes place and is where there is most opportunity to practice new skills.
Who can get help from Portage?
Any baby or young child still at home with their parents, not in any nursery and who appear to be behind in certain areas of his or her development.
The service also sees children who have a recognised disability e.g. Down’s Syndrome or difficulty with vision or hearing. This usually involves working closely with other therapists.
How does Portage work?
A home visitor from the Portage service will visit you once a week for an initial block of six home visit sessions.
Together with you they will look at what your child has already learnt to do. From there they will agree what the next most appropriate goal to work towards next is.
Goals may depend on ability, be specific to your child’s needs and can be anything from learning how to:
- Sit while unsupported
- Pick up a rattle or other object
- Wave goodbye or communicate in some other way
Once a goal has been decided with you, your home visitor will work out strategies to help you reach it.
Most of this teaching takes place through play because this is how small children learn best.
What else can Portage help with?
The Portage workers understand that bringing up children with delayed development can be very demanding. Your home visitor will be able to understand more about your experience and will do their best to answer any questions and provide advice about any problems. This may include helping you make contact with other services. In some cases your Portage worker may take on a keyworking role to assist with coordinating specialist services.
What can parents do to help?
Parents are their child's first teacher. Many of the suggestions from the service will be part of play and daily routines. Some activities may be more specific and require some time to be set aside so that these strategies can be practices.
Daily practice is important as children who have difficulties with learning may need longer to understand and process information. It is not uncommon for children who are experiencing difficulties to forget what they have learned without regular reminders that they will get from daily sessions with parents / carers.
How does the service decide when to stop the visits?
Typically there will be a review after the initial block of six sessions. If it is agreed that more sessions would be helpful then these will be agreed at the review. There is usually a break of a few weeks during which time you can help your child practice and develop the skills they are learning. During this break you can still speak with your Portage worker.
You can also attend…
Portage Service – Drop-in sessions - for children either known to the service and receiving regular visits or those who are on the waiting list
Date: Mondays during term time
Time: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Venue: Hackney Ark
Who provides this service?
In Hackney the Portage service is part of the Inclusion and Specialist Support Team run by Hackney Learning Trust.
Portage visitors are trained to have a wide range of knowledge about child development.
They also have years of experience of working with children under the age of 5 who have a range of special needs.
Who else might be involved?
The Portage service works closely with other services and they may arrange joint visits if this would be helpful.
Other professionals that Portage may involve are:
- Children’s Physiotherapy Service
- Children’s Occupational Therapy
- Children's Integrated Speech and Language Therapy Service for Hackney and the City
- CAMHS - Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
- Community Paediatricians - Hackney Ark
How can I get support?
Referrals usually come from:
Parents can contact the service directly to find out more or if they would like to self-refer.
Parents who have used this service rate it very highly.
Record Last Updated on: 22/09/2017