This article reports the findings of a study that aimed to investigate how differing perceptions of children’s emerging Special Health Care Needs (SHCN) across the family and school contexts relates to service utilisation. Children with SHCN is defined as children considered at increased risk for being diagnosed with a chronic condition, in recognition of the important potential benefits of early intervention and focuses on individual needs for additional support.
Overall, 24.1% of children in the cohort of 2461 in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children used were identified by their parent and/or teacher as experiencing emerging SHCN. Results indicate that parent-only identified needs had lower odds of accessing school services, and parent-only and teacher-only identified needs had significantly lower odds of accessing services in the community services.
This indicates that when parent and teacher perceptions of children’s emerging SHCN were inconsistent, service use was lower at school and in the community. Further efforts are needed by health and education providers to ensure that common understandings about a child’s needs at school are established early in children’s educational careers.
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