Children's occupational therapy: Information and advice

Paediatric occupational therapists support children and young people to learn skills and join in with everyday activities that allow them to reach their potential and become more independent.

A child’s daily activities (occupations) may include:

  • self-care - for example, dressing, using cutlery, making a snack
  • being productive - for example, using a pen/pencil, being able to use toys or equipment in the educational setting
  • leisure - for example, playing or carrying out chosen hobbies, for example riding a bike

Occupational Therapy is offered to children/young people who are having difficulty joining in with the activities they need and want to do every day, for example using cutlery, dressing, completing puzzles, riding a bike or using a pen or pencil.

These difficulties may be due to poor gross and fine motor skills, poor motor planning, sensory or visual perceptual difficulties.

In Swindon, paediatric occupational therapists support children and young people with long term neurodevelopmental conditions. There should be evidence that the difficulties are
having a significant impact on being able to learn skills and reach their potential.

The Paediatric Therapy Service offers services to children/young people from birth to 18 (0 to 19 years for young people with an Education Health Care Plan who remain in full-time school based education).

Services are offered to children and young people who have a Swindon GP.

Referrals to the paediatric occupational therapy service are accepted from the young person’s GP, paediatrician, health visitor or a health professional.

If a child or young person has a confirmed diagnosis, schools can refer for an episode of intervention.

Further information may be required prior to accepting the referral, for example, a telephone screen may be carried out or a questionnaire will be sent to the parents or carer. If a questionnaire is sent it must be completed and returned within two weeks.

We do not see children and young people with:

  • behavioural difficulties as the primary concern
  • sensory issues as a result of an attachment disorder or associated with anxiety or a mental health issue

Appointments and what to expect

Your child will be seen by a qualified occupational therapist who will complete an initial assessment. Clinics are usually held at The Salt Way Centre, however if your child attends one of the special schools it may be more appropriate to see them in the therapy room at school.

The appointment usually lasts 60 -90 minutes. The therapist will ask questions about birth and development (meeting their milestones), any current and past medical problems, any previous therapy your child may have received, and the child’s strengths as well the activities the child or young person is finding difficult.

Importantly, the therapist will want to know what your child or young person wants to achieve from occupational therapy.

A range of assessments and therapeutic interventions are used to assess why a child or young person is not maximising their independence, including the assessment of physical, sensory and visual perceptual skills.

What happens after my child’s assessment?

After the assessment we may offer occupational therapy by:

  • giving you ideas and suggestions to try with your child
  • inviting you to a parent/carer group
  • offering 1-1 sessions with your child

Changing or cancelling an appointment

If you need to change or cancel an appointment, please give as much notice as possible. Please call the occupational therapy department on 01793 464246. There is an answerphone for out of hours calls, please leave your child’s name and contact telephone number and details of the appointment you need to change. This will enable us to have your information ready when we return your call.

Opening times

  • Monday
    • Office hours: 8.00am to 5.00pm
    • Clinic times: 9.00am to 4.30pm
  • Tuesday
    • Office hours: 8.00am to 5.00pm
    • Clinic times: 9.00am to 4.30pm
  • Wednesday
    • Office hours: 8.00am to 5.00pm
    • Clinic times: 9.00am to 4.30pm
  • Thursday
    • Office hours: 8.00am to 5.00pm
    • Clinic times: 9.00am to 4.30pm
  • Friday
    • Office hours: 8.00am to 5.00pm
    • Clinic times: 9.00am to 4.30pm
  • Saturday
    • Closed 
  • Sunday
    • Closed

How to contact us

Paediatric Therapy Department,
Salt Way Centre
Pearl Road

Telephone: 01793 464246

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