Occupational Therapists assess if a child has difficulties with the practical and social skills necessary for everyday life. They work with parents/carers and other professionals – Speech & Language Therapy, Physiotherapy, Special Educational Needs / Disabilities Education team and Social Care amongst others in order to do this.
The NHS service is for children with a Stockport GP up to the end of year 11 or year 14 if they attend Heaton Special School. The NHS OTs may also be funded by a child’s school/local authority to meet a child’s needs under an educational duty as described in Special Educational Needs and Disability code of practice.
Following an assessment, the Occupational Therapist will identify appropriate strategies in order to enable the child to maximise his/her potential when carrying out the activities of daily living. Occupational Therapists work in the child's home, nursery and school as well as clinics and health centres and in the community depending on the specific needs of each individual child. Children are seen across a range of ages from Under 5s to Primary & Secondary Schools.
When should your child be referred to Occupational Therapy?
If your child is having difficulties with the following tasks, your child may benefit from an assessment from the Occupational Therapy Service. The assessment process may include information gathering from parents, families and others involved in the child's life and building on what is already known about the child from other agencies such as education. Children who need the services of Occupational Therapy may experience moderate to severe difficulties with:
• Physical and/or learning disabilities
• Complex multiple disabilities
• Sensory processing difficulties
• Co-ordination difficulties
• Poor fine motor and graphic skills
• Delays in self-care skills
The difficulties would need to be having a significant impact on functioning to require direct OT intervention.
Use this developmental needs assessment form to help decide to make a referral to Occupational Therapy
We focus on:
The therapeutic use of play to develop skills
For example, we give advice on suitable toys to advance skills and positioning
of your child for play
Furthering the development of Gross Motor Skills
For example, addressing co-ordination difficulties, working on improving postural stability and coordinating the two sides of the body
Furthering the development of Fine Motor Skills: For example, promote improved hand-eye coordination and hand function to help with scissor skills, tying laces and buttoning clothes
Furthering the development of Graphic Skills: To help with, for example, handwriting and pencil grip.
Increasing independence in Self-care Skills: For example, develop spoon feeding, dressing skills and personal hygiene
Identifying Equipment to enhance performance: For example, provide advice on specialised seating systems, equipment for feeding and handling
Sensory Processing: For example, understanding if there are sensory issues affecting your child’s behaviour and provide strategies to try to ensure that your child is in the optimum state of alertness for learning which may include the use of sensory equipment.
Perceptual Skills: For example, developing body awareness through movement programmes.
Auditory and visual perception advice: How your child interprets and uses the information taken in through the eyes and ears for learning
The Assessment and Occupational Therapy Interventions
When a referral is received additional this will be screened by an OT and further information may be gathered and a decision will be made as to the appropriateness and urgency of the referral for an assessment.
We assess your child using standardised assessments and skilled observations, depending on the nature of your child’s difficulties
Following an assessment, the outcome and potential interventions will be discussed with the parent. There is a range of possible ways of supporting a child who needs occupational therapy. These will always involve working with parents and others who support or work with the child or young person.
All programmes and intervention by Occupational Therapy are individually tailored to meet the specific needs of each child.
The Occupational Therapists work in a variety of settings namely: Tree House Children's Centre (Also known as Child Development Centre CDU) Stepping Hill, the Children's Therapy Centre (Beckwith House); the child's home; mainstream/resourced/special schools and nurseries (mainstream and integrated).
Based on assessment findings, intervention may be provided on an individual or group basis. Occupational Therapy may also be implemented in the form of advice to parents/carers/teachers.
How we can help:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Therapy programme for school and home, working in collaboration with teachers, support staff and parents
- Advice on improving your child’s access to his or her environment at school and occasionally do home visits in consultation with the Head teacher
- Advice to parents, professionals and other carers involved with your child
How to use the service?
If you are concerned or worried about your child, speak with your GP or health visitor and they will advise you if a referral to the Occupational therapy service would be beneficial.
Referrals are taken from parents/carers, social workers, health visitors, GP’s, other health professionals, teachers or anyone who feels a child under 16 with a Stockport GP would benefit from a specialist physiotherapy assessment.
Referrals from parents can be taken over the phone, but then further information may be sought before the referral is processed.
Referrals from practitioners need to be on an Early Help Assessment / developmental needs form or other documentation that includes the nature of the child’s difficulties and the reason for referral.
Referrals will be accepted if the child meets the criteria for the service.