What does a Children's Occupational Therapist do?

The role of the Children's Occupational Therapist (O.T.) is to facilitate and maximise independence with your child. An O.T. will aim to enable your child and family to engage in those activities that occupy daily life.

The Children's Occupational Therapy service may address your child's needs in the following areas:

  • Wheelchair
  • Seating needs home and/or school
  • Equipment/environmental modification needs for home and/or school
  • Transfers – toilet, bath, bed and chair
  • Showering management
  • Dressing skills
  • Feeding utensils
  • Fine motor development including pencil skills
  • Sensory processing

Referrals are accepted from anyone with accompanying parental consent e.g. G.P'S, Paediatric Medical staff; Teachers; Parents/Carers; or Social Services. Referrals will be accepted on an individual basis for all other children.

Assessment (following parental consent) may include formal or informal assessment such as observation as well as information gathering from parents, families and also liaison with other professionals within health and education settings.

Interventions include a range of possible ways of supporting your child, which may include one or more of the following:

  • Direct therapy either on an individual/group basis;
  • Provision of home/school treatment programme;
  • Provision of specialist equipment to support functional skills
  • Training for both teachers and parents
  • Housing adaptations

 The Role of the Speech and Language Therapist (SLT)

The speech and language therapist works with children who have communication and / or eating or drinking difficulties. This includes:

  • Spending time talking to parents/carers to find out the specific communication needs of their child and the impact of the communication difficulty on everyday life.
  • Assessing a child's communication ability. This assessment may occur in a variety of settings for example, at home, clinic or school.
  • Deciding if therapy / support is appropriate at this time and discussing these decisions with parents/carers.
  • Where therapy / support is appropriate, working jointly with parents/carers to devise agreed goals and discussing who is best to deliver the therapy. This could be SLT, education staff or parents.
  • Working with other professionals and members of the multidisciplinary team involved in a child's care.
  • Introducing other modes of communication, for example, the use of objects, pictures and signing as appropriate.
  • Providing parents/carers with the skills they need to support the continued development of their child's communication.
  • Evaluating the outcome of the intervention programme to determine if speech and language therapy has made a difference and if further therapy is required.

Speech and Language Therapy support may include:-

  • Advice and information
  • Parent training
  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Home and / or school programmes
  • Training of other professionals involved with a child

For children experiencing difficulties with eating, drinking or feeding (dysphagia) the Speech and Language Therapist will support children by:

  • Carrying out a detailed assessment of a child's eating, drinking and swallowing skills in their home and where appropriate other settings such as school.
  • Offering guidance to ensure safe eating and drinking, using appropriate strategies that promote safe and adequate nutritional support.
  • Working with other members of the multidisciplinary team involved.

Reflexology is a gentle form of massage using essential oils which all have different qualities and produce different effects.


Two qualified reflexologists come into school to work with our pupils. For some the aim is calming, for others stimulation but all pupils derive benefit from the treatments. The techniques used are gentle and non invasive and concentrate on the feet. We make the experience a multisensory one using smells, music and lights equipment. The reflexologists chart the pupils' responses and progress.

What is a Paediatric Physio?

This is a Physiotherapist with specialist knowledge of how children develop. They treat children and babies who have a variety of physical difficulties through exercise and movement. They work in partnership with families and other professionals.

What will the Physiotherapist do?

The physiotherapist will discuss any concerns that you may have regarding your child's physical development. They will then assess your child to see what movements/ exercises they can or cannot do. They may also look at how your child performs a particular movement/ activity. To do this effectively your child may need to be partially dressed during the sessions for the physiotherapist to complete their assessment.


Physiotherapists use specialised handling skills to help your child to reach their potential. Your physiotherapist will explain and teach exercises that will benefit your child. You may be asked to continue these exercises at home; therefore it is important that you are happy with the exercise programme.
To help your child develop their physical skills and independence your physiotherapist will also give you specific advice on carrying and positioning, the use of specialist equipment as well as how to perform specific stretching and strengthening exercises where appropriate.
The amount of physiotherapy your child receives will vary greatly and depends on the needs of your child.
Older children may be encouraged to participate in leisure activities and join clubs that promote physical activity.

Rebound Therapy

 Rebound Therapy is a physiotherapy led treatment and it is the ulilisation of the trampoline to contribute to the perceptual, gross and fine motor development of children with special needs

The main aim is therapeutic and not sporting or competitive. Rebound therapy is not new, as trampolines have been used within special education since the 1950's, but it is now widely used for clients with learning disabilities.

Rebound therapy can be used by people with a wide range of abilities, from those with mild learning disability to those with profound physical and learning disability, as there are a wide range of starting positions, from lying through to standing and these can be graded accordingly. It should not be used in isolation, but should be integrated into weekly programmes and should be viewed not as a substitute for existing therapies but as a complement to them.

Rebound therapy has many recognised benefits for children with physical disabilities, ie. Facilitates movement, stimulates balance and equilibrium reactions, affects tone, improves fitness and increases vocalisation. It also encourages eye contact and attention, increases sensory input, enhances body awareness, improves confidence, has cardio-respiratory effects, promotes relaxation and is fun.


Hydrotherapy is a physiotherapy led treatment which has many recognized benefits for children with disabilities.

The assessment for physiotherapy will be carried out by the physiotherapist responsible for the hydrotherapy sessions.

The aims to relieve any pain and muscle spasticity, to maintain or increase range of joint movement, to strengthen weak muscles, to improve circulation, to encourage functional activities, to maintain/improve balance, co-ordination and posture.

Music Therapy seeks to use the musical elements of melody, rhythm, pitch and harmony to achieve therapeutic aims. These therapeutic aims are the goal of sessions, rather than the teaching of any musical skills. Sessions are conducted by qualified therapists who, through the use of shared improvisation and other forms of active music-making, seek to engage, interact and form a therapeutic relationship with their client(s). In so doing, clients are enabled to communicate in their own musical language, whatever their level of ability. Sessions can be with individuals or groups, depending on the specific needs of the clients.

Some specific therapeutic aims that may be worked towards in therapy sessions may include:

  • The development of eye contact
  • The promotion of social skills such as turn-taking
  • The increase of attention span
  • The development of pre-verbal vocal sounds in non-verbal children
  • The opportunity for children to express themselves in a safe environment