Paediatric occupational therapists work with children, families and carers in order to maximise their participation and independence in daily activities at home and at school or nursery. These activities include self care, play and leisure, and productivity at school or nursery. We teach families and carers about the condition the child presents with and the programme of activities required to either maintain or to develop skills. Partnership with parents and school and nursery staff is essential. We also work in close partnership with other professionals from Health, Education and Social Care. The children referred to our service will be experiencing difficulties which are more than expected for a child of their age in one or more of the following functional areas:
Self-care tasks (such as feeding, washing, dressing, grooming)
Tool use (such as pencil, scissors, ruler)
Play and leisure activities
Recording written information
Referrals are received for children aged 0-18yrs via a written referral from doctors, other therapists, health visitors and school nurses, the Special Educational Needs Assessment Service (SENAS) and from the Educational Support Services (Physical Disability, CAT and Early Years primarily) or Occupational Therapists from the Local Authority or outside of the Birmingham locality.
The service is available weekdays from 8.30am until 4.30pm. Some outside sessions are offered periodically, Monday to Friday, in order to accommodate as many children and their families/carers as possible. We endeavour to see children within 18 weeks for an initial assessment.
Assessments will 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 and social work.
The assessment will be tailored to identify your child’s difficulties and may include some of the following areas:
- Functional difficulties such as dressing, eating, toileting
- School skills such as pencil and scissor skills
- Play skills
- Sensory abilities such as touch and balance
- Fine motor skills and gross motor and movement abilities
- Social skills
- Behavioural and social responses during the child's day
The decision whether to offer further support from Occupational Therapy is based on the outcome of assessment, the impact of the difficulty on the child's life and the likelihood of affecting change at this time.
The Occupational Therapist can offer individual therapy sessions, some equipment to use at home, written advice, a ‘review only’ service, splints or individual rehabilitation programmes for parents/carers/education staff to undertake.
There is an expectation that if children are prescribed activities by the Occupational Therapy team that it is best for parents/carers/education staff to practice them with the children little and often.
There is a range of possible ways of supporting a child. These will always involve working with parents and others to manage the child’s condition, e.g. classroom assistants, occupational therapy support workers, class teachers, learning support teachers, nursery workers.
Possible ways of supporting the child may include one or more of the following:
- Training and advice for parents/carers and other service providers (health, social work, education)
- Provision of activity programmes and ways of supporting the child in different environments. This intervention may be carried out in partnership with parents/carers and others involved in the child’s well being following the Occupational Therapist's recommendations.
- Recommendation of specialist equipment to support functional skills and learning
- Involvement with educational and transition planning.
- Direct therapy with child individually or in a group.
Following the agreed period of support the child's progress will be reviewed in partnership with parents/carers and others and further recommendations and actions will be adopted according to the child's changing needs, if appropriate.
The child will be discharged from therapy for one or more of the following reasons:
- Difficulties identified have been resolved and therapy is no longer required
- Partnership working has not been successful
- Episode of care is complete
- Child has moved out of area or changed to a non-Birmingham GP
- Child is no longer eligible for Paediatric OT due to age
- Child not benefiting from therapy at this time
- Child/young person or family do not want to continue with therapy.