In this section
This pre-referral guideline provides information for referring children aged 0–18 years with developmental problems.
Referrals will not be accepted at the RCH for developmental issues if public paediatric clinics or community health services are available to make initial assessments closer to home, or where there is not enough information in the referral to make an informed triage decision.
When a child’s development is delayed in two or more domains (speech and language, swallowing, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, social development, play or adaptive skills) they should be referred to Early Childhood intervention Services in your region – see
When there is a concern about a ‘permanent and significant disability and, where the concern is likely to be a chronic condition.
Depending on location, can offer a range of allied health services (speech pathology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology, dietetics). Many community health centres restrict eligibility to children who have concerns in a single developmental domain.
For concerns about learning progress, parents should engage their child’s school. While services vary across Government, Independent and Catholic schools, students may be able to access psychologists, speech pathologists, social workers, and mental health practitioners. School based student support services are best placed to review academic progress, and cognitive and language concerns, as well as to provide advice and guidance on teaching approaches.
Parents and carers can talk to their child’s teacher about:
Families may choose to access alternative or concurrent health services privately, for example a speech pathologist or psychologist.
The RCH Developmental Intake Team triage all referrals with a developmental concern. If you have a question about referring a child with a developmental concern to the RCH, please contact the team: