Children’s Occupational Therapy

Our occupational therapists and therapy assistants work with children and young people who have significant difficulties which impact on their development and/or ability to participate in everyday activities.

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapy offers practical support to empower children overcome barriers that are preventing them from doing the things that matter to them. We look at the practical and purposeful activities children do, or need to do, to live as independently as possible and have a sense of identity.

Occupational therapists help babies, children and young people grow, learn, have fun, socialise and play so they can develop, thrive and reach their full potential.

We will consider all of a child’s needs; physical, psychological, social and environmental.

What occupations do children and young people have?

Occupations are things we occupy ourselves with during our daily lives. As adults we tend to associate this with employment, but for children this means anything they engage in during the day, wherever they are; home, school, nursery etc.

This may include self care skills such as dressing, eating, toileting, washing and bathing. It could be more complex skills such as organisation, visual perception or fine motor development. It could mean leisure skills or in younger children it could simply be play.

Who do we work alongside?

Occupational Therapists work closely with the child, their parents, teachers and carers. We often liaise with other health professionals, including doctors, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and specialist nurses and also with our colleagues in education and social care.

Where are we based?

The Occupational Therapy team are based in Child Development Centres in Harrogate and Northallerton. As one team, we cover two localities; Harrogate and Rural District, and Hambleton and Richmondshire.

Both Child Development Centres are open from 8.30am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

Whilst we are based at the centre, the therapist may arrange to see the child or young person in other locations to assess their needs. For example this could be at home, in school or at nursery.

Harrogate District Hospital
Specialist Children’s Services
Child Development Centre
Harrogate District Hospital
Lancaster Park Road

Hambleton and Richmondshire
Specialist Children’s Services
Child Development Centre
24 Brompton Road

Referral Process and Form

Referrals are accepted from most healthcare providers such as GPs, physiotherapists, nurses and speech and language therapists.

It is necessary for the referral to include 2 occupations that your child finds tricky.

The more information you can provide us with the better at the referral point. This enables us to see what you have tried to do to help and which other agencies are involved. If your child is school age it is extremely helpful for us to see what school have already implemented and whether they felt this was successful. You may wish to include information from the school SENDCO to support your referral.

We aim to see your child within 18 weeks.

Click here for the Referral Form

Once we receive a referral we triage it into one of the following categories:

  • Universal services are aimed at giving early input to all children to try and prevent difficulties
  • Targeted services are aimed at children who have had difficulties identified by health care professionals and education
  • Specialist services are provided for children with complex needs and may include advice to Education, Health and Care Plans, specialist seating, equipment, postural management

If you are concerned about your child’s motor skills (fine or gross motor) it is important that your child has completed 2 terms of activities in school as set out in this document. Without this information we will return your referral.

BOOKLET: Supporting Children and Young People with Co-ordination Difficulties

What to expect during your appointment

You or your child may have some questions about what will happen during your appointment with us. You might want to look at and share the two documents below with them to help them understand and to alleviate any worries they may have prior to coming. They will help to explain where the appointment will be, who you will see and what sort of things you might be asked to do. If you feel your child will have difficulty attending for any reason, please call us to discuss this.

Help your child at home

You may just be looking for some ideas of how to help your child at home yourself or you may be waiting for an appointment and looking for some things to do whilst you wait.

Below are links to helpful advice sheets with activities you can complete at home with your child.

Useful links

We often use external companies to assess for and provide equipment like seating for our children.

If you have a problem with your piece of equipment and it was provided by the NHS, please call Medequip on 01423 226240

Some of the equipment companies we use are listed below with contact details:

Wheelchair services are provided by NRS Healthcare and they are based in York.

01904 654052

NYCC (Social Services) Occupational Therapists can help you to make large adaptations to your property or provide equipment to make things easier at home like bathing aids, stairlifts, etc. You can contact them on 0300 1312131

The William Merrit Centre in Leeds offers children’s car seat clinics if you are concerned about your child travelling safely in a car seat because of their disability. This is a self referral service.

0113 3508989

SMS 07858 224510