What to expect from our service

Your First Appointment

Your child’s first appointment could last up to 60 minutes.

We will take a detailed history which will include asking about your child’s or young person’s presenting problem, together with a full medical history. These questions are an important part of developing and implementing a treatment plan.

Your child will be asked to wear shorts and a T-shirt or a vest for a baby, to enable us to observe their posture and movement. Standardised assessments may also be used. Following this initial assessment, we will discuss the immediate and long-term needs of your child and set agreed realistic goals with you and your child if deemed necessary. If no further treatment is indicated, then your child/young person will be discharged from our service.


Individual physiotherapy treatment is only a very small part of your child’s life. To succeed in improving your child’s performance, practice of the necessary skills must be incorporated into their normal daily activities. We develop an individualised treatment plan for each child and will give advice on how to include exercise and activities into your child’s daily routine at home and school. 

In addition, we may advise that a specialist block of treatment is appropriate based on what your child would benefit from the most. The delivery of these treatment blocks could be:

  • Four to six sessions
  • Carried out by your child’s Physiotherapist, another Physiotherapist in the team, an Assistant Practitioner or Senior Physiotherapy Assistant.  
  • In a clinic, school, nursery or at home—dependent on where is the most appropriate environment.

Following their block, your child will be reassessed by us so that further advice can be given.

We are proud to be able to offer the following specialist blocks of treatment. Click on the links for further information.

A block of therapy in the soft play activity room

Soft play is a fun form of therapy based in a soft play activity room in Thurrock Hospital or the Pioneer School in Basildon.  The sessions are run by a Physiotherapist, Physiotherapy Assistant Practitioner or a Senior Physiotherapy Assistant who are given a program by your child’s Physiotherapist to work towards specific functional goals, this environment is generally used for younger children to work on and develop their physical skills through play in a more fun and child-friendly setting. The nature of the soft play environment with its uneven surfaces (spongy mats, foam equipment and ball pit) and the activities that are given by the facilitator work on:

  • Challenging your child’s balance
  • Developing the strength and stability of their muscles
  • Developing and consolidating physical skills

Your child will be offered a block of four to six sessions each session lasting around 30 minutes. One-off sessions may be offered to your child to give you ideas on what you can encourage in public soft play establishments.  A parent or carer will need to stay with the child for the duration of the session.

A block of individual or group gym sessions

It is recommended that whenever possible children and youth with disabilities should accumulate 60 minutes of physical activity a day this can be achieved with support and advice from their health care provider.

Our gym groups enable children from nine to sixteen to come together with various disabilities or injuries to work alongside each other with an aim at getting them interested in exercise and showing them that no matter what their disability there are no boundaries when it comes to exercise.

Physical activity provides essential health benefits for children and young people. It helps to contribute to:

  • The development of healthy muscular tissue (bones, muscles and joints) and muscle strength
  • A healthy cardiovascular system (heart and lungs)
  • Neuromuscular awareness (co-ordination and movement control)
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Psychological well-being such as improving self-esteem and confidence and providing opportunities for social interaction and integration

The sessions are run either after school or during the school holidays. The after-school sessions run for 45 minutes to one hour and the holiday groups last for two hours.  Your child will be assisted around a set exercise circuit incorporating different gym equipment followed by floor-based exercises, possible team games and a cool down.

If your child’s physiotherapist feels that these groups will be appropriate and your child meets the set criteria they will refer them into a group for a block of five to six sessions with an agreed functional goal for your child to work towards.

A block of Hydrotherapy (therapy in water)

Hydrotherapy is a physiotherapy treatment session that is set in a warm water pool. The benefits being:

  • Relaxation of muscles
  • Using the resistance of water to aid with strengthening muscles
  • Using buoyancy to help with walking re-education and other developmental skills

Before being offered Hydrotherapy sessions we will check any medical problems to make sure it is safe for you to come into the pool. If your Physiotherapist feels that Hydrotherapy is appropriate they will refer you for sessions. These sessions take place in pools at Pioneer School in Basildon and Beacon Hill School in Thurrock. The sessions are run by a Physiotherapist or Physiotherapy Assistant. They will last up to 30 minutes depending upon how your child copes with the heat of the water. The sessions will be weekly for 4-6 weeks depending upon your child’s need. Physiotherapists are able to refer your child for a one-off appointment if you require advice for exercises to complete in local pools. Parents/guardians are required to be poolside at all times during the sessions. The sessions are individual and work on the specific goals set by your child’s Physiotherapist.

Following the sessions, your child may feel tired and will need to make sure that they have plenty of fluids.  This is due to the effects of having therapy in a warm water pool.

A block of mechanical horse therapy

The mechanical horse simulates the movement of a horse.  It is a low impact form of therapy that has minimal stress on the joints of the body.  The mechanical horse works on strengthening the core muscle groups which in turn helps improve:

  • Posture
  • Balance

To increase the effectiveness of the session your child will be encouraged to work on activities which challenge their balance such as reaching for bean bags to throw into a net or reaching outside of their base of support to pop bubbles. The sessions are run by a Physiotherapist, Physiotherapy Assistant Practitioner or Senior Physiotherapy Assistant. They can last up to 30 minutes dependent on the tolerance of your child to this piece of equipment.  Your child may be offered four to six sessions.  The sessions take place at either the Pioneer School in Basildon, Brentwood Community Hospital or Thurrock Community Hospital.  The closest venue to you will be offered.  There are contraindications to this treatment modality, but if all criteria are met and your child’s Physiotherapist feels it would be the most beneficial treatment then we will offer a block of four to six sessions.

A block of Rebound therapy (therapy on a trampoline)

Rebound therapy is a fun form of therapy.

The sessions are run by a Physiotherapists or a Physiotherapy Assistant Practitioner who are British Gymnastics or rebound therapy qualified. The sessions are a form of therapy and are not sessions to teach your child how to trampoline.

Trampolining can be a fun way for your child to work through their Physiotherapy program as it provides an unstable surface for the child to work on giving them a feeling of weightlessness and rhythmic three-dimensional movements. It also has additional effects on high and low muscle tone:

  • Children with low muscle tone do not feel as heavy on the trampoline as they do on the floor as the bed helps to absorb some of their weight.
  • ​​​​​​Children with high muscle tone feel more supported on the trampoline as the bed helps to curb spasms and reflexes.

There are many benefits to rebound therapy which can be explained at your child’s session. Each session will be individual and tailored to your child’s needs. Along with your child’s Physiotherapist, the Trampoline Therapist will work towards achieving set goals, whilst also having fun.

There are contraindications to trampolining and rebound therapy, but if all criteria are met and your child’s Physiotherapist feels it would be the most beneficial treatment then we will refer them. The trampoline sessions are held at the Pioneer School in Basildon or the Beacon Hill School in South Ockendon.  Your child will be offered a block of four to six sessions and each session lasts around 30 minutes.  A parent or carer will need to stay with the child for the duration of the session.

Specialist Equipment

Specialist equipment may be a fundamental part of your child’s treatment and postural management programme and is used in conjunction with their physiotherapy programme. We will ensure that any equipment supplied is

suitable for your child and the purpose for which it has been provided.  This will be monitored and reviewed with your child’s changing needs.   If you have any concerns regarding the equipment that has been provided you must contact the Children’s Physiotherapy Department for advice and support.

Examples of the equipment you may be issued and its benefits are listed below. 

A Standing Frame

Standing frames are part of your child's postural management and physiotherapy programme. Your child will be assessed for the most suitable frame that meets their needs. Some of the benefits and reasons for using standing frames are that they:

  • Increases bone density and reduce the risk of fractures as they promote weight-bearing
  • Stretch muscles, maintain muscle length and prevent the onset of contractures
  • Improve respiration and voice control
  • Enhance circulation and blood pressure
  • Aid digestion, bowel function and bladder drainage
  • Facilitate the formation of the hip joint in early development
  • Enable children to interact eye-to-eye with their peers
  • Improve skin integrity by relieving pressure encountered during sitting
  • Improve wellbeing, alertness and sleep patterns

A Walker

Your Physiotherapist may feel that your child would benefit from using a walker to assist with their mobility. There are many different walkers available so your Physiotherapist may need to carry out a walker assessment to see which walker is the most suitable for your child. Some of the benefits of using a walker are that they:

  • Can give your child the support to be able to mobilise independently
  • May help improve your child’s walking pattern
  • Promote weight-bearing important for Increasing bone density
  • Enhance circulation and blood pressure
  • Improve your child’s cardiovascular capabilities and stamina
  • Aid digestion, bowel function and bladder drainage
  • Allow your child to interact with their environment
  • Enable your child to play with their friends
  • Improve wellbeing, alertness and sleep patterns