The Lincolnshire Wolds Federation provides Portage for families in Louth, Horncastle and the surrounding areas. Portage is a home visiting educational service for pre-school children with additional needs. These may be learning difﬁculties, developmental delay or physical difﬁculties. The portage team aims to help families by working with them in the home, helping them to meet the needs of their child.
The name Portage comes from the town of Portage, Wisconsin, USA where the home teaching scheme was developed in the 1970s.
The Portage home visitor works with parents/carers in their own home because young children initially learn best in the security of their own environment with the people who know them. In this way the best teaching programmes can be developed for every child. There are eight Portage teams in Lincolnshire, each comprising of a Portage team coordinator and Portage home visitors. The Portage home visitors may come from different professional backgrounds such as health, social services or education. They and the Portage coordinator are all trained to National Portage Association standards. The Lincolnshire Portage Teams are afﬁliated to the National Portage Association.
The Portage home visitor regularly liaises with other professionals working with pre-school children to share ideas and review progress. These people may include physiotherapists, speech & language therapists, occupational therapists and educational psychologists. General discussions take place but direct referrals to these services only occur with parental permission.
The LWF team also deliver the Early Bird and Early Bird Plus programmes, sometimes alongside other qualiﬁed trainers, to families within Louth, Horncastle and surrounding areas. The Early Bird programme is for parents whose child has received a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and is of pre-school age (not yet of statutory school age). The programme aims to support parents in the period between diagnosis and school placement, empowering and helping them facilitate their child's social communication and appropriate behaviour in their natural environment. It also helps parents to establish good practice in handling their child at an early age, so as to pre-empt the development of inappropriate behaviours. Early Bird Plus is for parents whose child has received a later diagnosis of an ASD and is aged 4-8 and in early years or key stage one provision. This programme addresses the needs of both home and school settings by training Parents/Carers together with a professional who is working regularly with their child, the aim being that a child will be given consistent support. We work to build both parents' and professionals' confidence and encourage them to problem solve together.
The team also offer portage training and training in areas such as sleep.
Activity Tots is a fortnightly fun session for parents and children receiving Portage to play chat and share ideas at St Lawrence School.
When: Join us alternate Tuesdays in term time 1.00-3.00pm
Aquatots is also offered fortnightly in the hydrotherapy pool of St Bernard’s School.
When: Alternate Tuesdays in term time 1.00 - 3.00pm
During the summer school holiday Aquatots and get togethers are arranged.
Regular activity days and group outings are also planned throughout the year to support families in meeting together to share their knowledge and experiences.
How do I refer to the Portage service?
Children can be referred from birth by parents/carers or any agency involved with the child such as health visitors, GPs, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, paediatricians, educational psychologists, nurseries etc.
If you require any further information regarding Portage, please contact: Ann Ordish, Portage Co-ordinator on 01507 603776 or email: Ann.Ordish@lwf.lincs.sch.uk