Little Orchids Centre

Little Orchids Centre is a charitable organisation in Derry / Londonderry providing therapeutic intervention and support for children from 2 - 4 years old with special needs and their parents and carers.

Aims and objectives

Little Orchids Children's Centre provides therapeutic intervention and support for children 2-4 years identified with special needs and those who may require additional support. We are registered with the Western Health and Social Care Trust and are a member of Early Years, the organisation for young children. We are also a member of Children in Northern Ireland (CINI) and benefit from a range of high quality training and information to inform our work with children. We have excellent facilities including an outdoor play area and sensory room.

At Little Orchid's we aim to provide a warm, welcoming, nurturing and safe environment for children and their families.

We sign post and inform parents of other relevant services. There is an active Parents Support Group which provides invaluable support for parents to meet up and share experiences and support with each other and pass on reliable information.

Our team consists of 9 staff including 2 administrative staff and volunteers. At Little Orchids volunteers are valued and make a significant contribution to the work in the centre and enhance the service offered to parents and children.

We cater for children who have a wide variety of specific needs such as:

1.     Developmental Delay

2.     Speech & Language Delay

3.     Genetic Conditions

4.     Physical Disability

5.     Medical Conditions

6.     Autistic Spectrum Disorders

7.     Behavioural Issues

8.     Sensory Impairment i.e. visual / hearing loss

Observations are used to assess each child's individual needs, strengths, interests and abilities and to plan experiences that will encourage further learning. Throughout our daily routine we promote each child's social skills. We liaise closely with Health and Education Professionals involved with each child to share information to achieve common goals for the benefit of the child.

The child must experience a significant degree of delay and difficulties in at least three of the following areas outlined in criteria below.

  1. Language and communication
  2. Play skills
  3. Behaviour
  4. Social interaction
  5. Physical development
  6. Sensory processing difficulties.

If a child demonstrates that they meet the criteria a place will be allocated for an initial three months.

Professionally trained staff

All staff are highly experienced and committed to on-going training to provide the best outcomes for children and their families. Training is identified for staff specific to the needs of children and some of the training staff have undertaken include:

 1. Highscope Curriculum

 2. Working Partnership with Parents

 3. Picture Exchange Communication (PECS)

 4. Makaton

 5. Elklan Speech & Language Training

 6. Epilepsy Awareness

 7. Behaviour Management

 8. Manual Handling

 9. Toilet Training

10. Verbal Behaviour Training

11. ASD Training

12. Sensory Processing & ASD

13. Applied Behaviour Analysis


Alternative and Augmentive Communication

Staff at Little Orchids use Alternative and Augmentive Communication to help the children with communication difficulties to make the most of their available senses and experiences. Methods of Alternative and Augmentive Communication include symbols, communication boards, makaton and facial expressions to convey emotions. Staff monitor the effectiveness of the methods for the individual children.