Image of a child tying their pink shoes

Havering Children's Occupational Therapy Service

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapy (OT) is the process of observing and identifying barriers that may prevent your child from participating in important daily activities (‘occupations’) such as getting dressed, brushing their teeth or using a writing tool in school.  After the initial assessment, we work with the child and parent/carer to set realistic goals (short and long term) and further develop strategies and tools to help your child overcome barriers to allow them to be as independent as possible and achieve their occupational goals.

For example: Billy finds it difficult to get dressed independently. 

Short Term goal: For Billy to put on his lower body garments independently.

Long Term goal: For Billy to dress his upper and lower body garments independently.

Strategies: Verbal prompts, physical assistance, ‘Backwards Chaining’ and parental teaching.

Some children have physical or learning disabilities which also impact on occupational participation. We would work with the child to find alternative ways of completing the task and, if required, recommend relevant equipment to assist with this. For example - if a child has limited use of their right upper limb, we would recommend adapted cutlery for their left hand to increase independence when eating at mealtimes.

Our Service

Our therapy team works with children between the ages of 0-19.

After a referral has been made and accepted by the team, your child will be invited for an assessment, virtually or face to face, in a clinic or school setting. During this time, the therapist will observe and gather information from you and your child using standardised or non-standardised assessments to identify current skills and concerns.

Standardised Assessments can include but are not limited to:

•    Detailed Assessment of the Speed of Handwriting (DASH)
•    Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2 (Movement ABC)
•    Beery Visual Motor Integration (VMI)

The therapist will discuss and decide the most appropriate approach for your child’s needs. This may include any of the following:
•    Advice and activity program
•    1:1 therapy block with OT/ OT assistant
•    Group therapy block
•    Parent and/or teacher coaching
•    Adaptations in nursery/school and if necessary, equipment provisions
•    Joint working with other professionals
•    Signposting to other services

If no further input is needed, then your child will be discharged from our service and the relevant professional(s) will be informed.

Equipment Provision

Equipment and Adaptations

Our Occupational Therapy service provides equipment on an assessed and needs led basis to children at school, nursery and certain aspects at home. The equipment provided is to enable occupations and participation in daily life. It’s main purpose is to increase or maintain functional independence, facilitate safe moving and handling, minimise risks, and postural management. 

Some of the areas we will assess for equipment provisions include:
•    Seating
•    Transfers (hoists and slings)
•    Toileting
•    Access in nursery/school
•    Advice on adaptive tools for self-care and school productivity
•    Specialist Beds

Adaptations will vary depending on the need of the child.

Examples of specialist equipment:


examples of specialist equipment

If specialist equipment is assessed for and deemed appropriate for the child’s needs, we will work closely with equipment advisors to ensure the equipment supplied is suitable for your child and fits the purpose for which it has been provided. Equipment will be monitored and reviewed with your child’s/young person’s changing needs.

If you have any concerns regarding the equipment that has been provided you must contact the Children’s Occupational Therapy Team for advice.

The referral process

If your child is seen by a Health Visitor please discuss your concerns with them first and if their needs cannot be met through their intervention they can make a referral.

If your child is in School, Pre-school or Nursery, please discuss your concerns with the SENCO who may then make a referral if their needs cannot be met through the Pre-school/nursery/school provision.

Referrals can also be made by other health professionals including your GP.

Referral Criteria:

The child must have 3 or more areas of concern. These must be functional and impact on their ability to participate in activities of daily living.

For any referring professional, please use the form below to fill in your referral and you can send it to: 

Havering - Specialist childrens referral form [doc] 191KB