All children and young people have a very important job to do. They have to grow, learn, socialise and play. Children do this every day by exploring the boundaries of their abilities. When they are successful, children and young people develop and thrive and the sense of achievement they get usually makes them happy.

Children and young people with learning, emotional, psychological or physical difficulties can have their ability to grow, learn, socialise and play hindered and find it difficult to cope with basic activities like getting dressed or brushing their teeth. At school, they may struggle concentrating in class or their difficulties may mean they lack the confidence to take part in playground games in turn affecting their ability to learn and make friends.

This can be very difficult for children and young people to cope with since ‘fitting in’ can be so important to their self-esteem and happiness.

How can we help?

Occupational Therapists work with children and young people, parents/carers and teachers to find solutions to minimise the difficulties they face and help them to get the most from life. We support children and young people with physical, sensory, developmental, cognitive and social needs that affect their functional abilities and have an impact on their daily life.

When a child or young person is referred to us we work in partnership with parents and with other healthcare and education professionals with whom the child or young person has a relationship, because we recognise that parents and carers know their child best.

We’ll help to identify a child or young person’s difficulties in their daily life by assessing their needs, using play and purposeful activities to help them achieve their goals and become as independent as possible. We’ll also assess for and provide equipment and adaptions to maximise children and young people’s independence.

What happens next?

Once we receive a referral, we will contact you if we require more information about the child or young person who has been referred to us.

If we accept the request for service we may contact you and suggest you implement the advice strategies in our toolkits for a period of time so that you can monitor the outcome and let us know if your concerns continue.

We may suggest you attend a triage clinic or a workshop where you will get advice on how to help your child. We will  contact you with an appointment at an appropriate location such as at a clinic, school or a community venue close to your home.

If we accept your child’s referral we will aim to see them within 18 weeks, but there may be variations to this timeline associated with urgency, prioritisation of risk, staffing levels, demand and other factors.