Children's Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapist

Occupational therapists work with children and their families to help resolve difficulties, or to help a child learn good strategies to manage their difficulties and be as independent as possible.

The occupational therapist is trained to recognise when a child has difficulties and to find out why, and what will help to improve their function and encourage their independence. Therapy works best when those who spend most time with the child put the therapist's ideas and suggestions into practice on a regular basis

An occupational therapist provides help and support for children and young people who have a physical disability, or difficulties with practical, sensory or motor skills which affect their ability to function independently. We work with children and young people who have physical disabilities and complex health needs and require specialist equipment such as seating or splinting to increase functional skills.

We are also able to help children who have difficulty with co-ordination and development of gross motor skills, hand function and development of fine motor and hand skills, self care skills, like dressing, and difficulties processing sensory information - which can make it hard to concentrate and engage in activities.

Who is this service for?

  • Children aged 0 -17 years 11 months who have a physical disability and/or severe and complex health needs
  • Children aged 0 - 5 years 11 months where there is evidence of significant need due to motor, coordination or sensory difficulties which impacts on the child’s functional ability. Children must be referred before the age of six but once accepted, can be seen by the service until the age of 8 if Occupational Therapy input or review is indicated or new difficulties arise
  • Children aged up to the age of 8, registered with a Sutton GP, who are transferring from another Occupational Therapy service as they have recently moved into the area. Their most recent Occupational Therapy report will be required with the referral
  • Children referred must be registered with a Sutton GP.

How can my child get this service?

If you are worried about your child's development, discuss this with your health visitor, school nurse, or your GP. They may then refer you into our service. If your child is seen by a paediatrician, physiotherapist or speech and language therapist, they can also refer.

How will the service help my child?

  • The occupational therapist will see you and your child, and will talk to you about your concerns. They will play and talk with your child, to help decide whether your child has difficulties and how these affect them.
  • The occupational therapist will give you ideas for activities and strategies you can use and practice at home. They may also recommend some small pieces of useful equipment you could buy to use with your child.
  • We will write a short report about your child and a programme of activities. This information will be shared with nursery or school so they can use the same ideas and activities to help your child.
  • We may offer your child a type of therapy, which may be in a group with other children, or some individual sessions.

What do I need to do?

It is important that you carry out the tasks and ideas we give you and use any specialist equipment we recommend. We will support you to do this.

You will need to attend all appointments where possible. If you do not attend and do not contact us, your child will be discharged from the service.

Where will my child receive this service?

Children are usually invited to a local Health Clinic for their first occupational therapy appointment. We offer appointments at Green Wrythe Lane Clinic, Carshalton. Subsequent appointments will be offered in the same clinic.

For children with very complex health needs, appointments can take place at home. There are lots of strategies and advice we can offer. Please see the Practical advice menu on the right for extra information and tips. *