What does an Occupational Therapy Assessment look like? 

 An Occupational Therapist will complete an assessment identifying children’s strengths as well as looking at what areas they may need some support to be able to participate in home and school life. They will use a combination of questionnaires, standardised assessments, parent and young person interviews, observations in clinics and/ or home or school to understand and assess your child’s strengths and needs. The Occupational Therapist will decide what information they need to complete their assessment and offer advice and support. The Occupational Therapist is most likely to offer you ideas and suggestions that can be incorporated into the child’s daily routine at home and at school however they may decide that your child needs further OT input and would discuss this with parents as required.  

I’m not sure whether to refer or not - Can I speak to an Occupational Therapist for advice?  

Yes! We operate our Children’s Occupational Therapy Duty Desk Monday-Friday 10am-1pm (excluding bank holidays). An Occupational Therapist will be available to talk to you about your queries and offer advice and sign posting as appropriate. If the Therapist is on another call, please leave us a voicemail as someone will get back to you – or you can call at another time when the line is operational. Please note that we do not accept referrals via the Duty Desk.  

Children’s Occupational Therapy Duty Desk - 0300 300 1670 

Monday-Friday 10am-1pm (exc. bank holidays) 

I am worried about my child’s fine motor skills – would you accept a referral for this?  

We would encourage you to look at the resources in the resource hub first and try out the activities suggested. As Occupational Therapists we would want to know the activities that your child is finding difficult (such as using cutlery, handwriting, dressing) and how this impacting them on a day to day basis. We wouldn’t accept a referral for assessment of general fine motor skills however if after trying out some of the activities on our website you need further support you can call our Duty Desk or complete the ‘Strategies Record Form’ in our ‘How to Refer’ section and send this with our referral form to the Children’s Single Point of Access.  

I think my child has some sensory processing differences and I would like a sensory assessment completed – do you do this?  

We don’t complete ‘Sensory Assessments’ in isolation and we won’t accept referrals requesting a sensory assessment. We do understand that some children have sensory processing differences and  would encourage schools and parents to access and implement the resources in the resource hub in the  ‘Understanding Sensory Processing’ section before making a referral into Children’s Occupational Therapy. When making a referral, we will want to know the activities your child is having difficulty participating in, how sensory processing is impacting this and ask what you have tried already and for how long you have tried it before we consider accepting a referral.  

I have read online that Occupational Therapists can carry out Ayre’s Sensory Integration Therapy  – do you offer this? 

Our service does not offer Ayre’s Sensory Integration Therapy. Ayre’s Sensory Integration Therapy is not Occupational Therapy and requires additional postgraduate training in Sensory Integration theory and practice – this can be undertaken by Speech and Language Therapists, Physiotherapists or Occupational Therapists. It is a stand alone treatment method which follows a strict fidelity measure working on structured exposure to sensory input, movement therapy, balance treatments, physical activities with the aim of trying to change how a person interprets and responds to sensory information.  

Please see our position statement on provision of Ayre’s Sensory Integration Therapy as well as the Royal College of Occupational Therapists Publication ‘Informed View: Sensory Integration and sensory-based interventions’ https://www.rcot.co.uk/about-occupational-therapy/rcot-informed-views  

My child has a disability and I think they would benefit from some adaptations to our home – do you assess for this? 

Our service does not assess for major adaptations however you can approach your local authority to support you to see whether your child is eligible for a major adaptation:  

Thurrock: Contact Thurrock MASH on 01375 652802 

Essex: Contact Essex County Council on 0345 603 7627 

I think my child has dyspraxia – Will you assess for this? 

Dyspraxia – or Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) – is a condition effecting movement and coordination. Our service won’t complete a dyspraxia assessment but can assess how a child’s motor skills are impacting on their ability to participate in everyday activities such as writing, dressing, typing, eating etc. They may use observations or assessments to understand how their motor skills are impacting their ability in order to inform them about why they might be having difficulty to be able to offer strategies to promote participation. We would encourage you to access the resources in our resource hub to try out different strategies that may help before referring to Occupational Therapy or to start using whilst you wait for an assessment.  

My child has grown out of their standard pushchair – can you provide them with a specialist buggy or a wheelchair?  

It is the NELFT Wheelchair Service who would need to complete an assessment to see whether your child would be eligible for provision of equipment through their service. You can speak to your GP and ask them to make a referral  to the wheelchair service for you or you can contact the wheelchair service directly by emailing wheelchair.service@nelft.nhs.uk or you can call 0300 300 1844 to see if your child will meet their criteria. The wheelchair service does not accept self-referrals. If your child is already known to the Children’s Occupational Therapy service then you can discuss a referral to the Wheelchair Service with your child’s OT or by calling the OT Duty Desk 0300 300 1670 Monday - Friday 10am-1pm (exc. bank holidays)