Children's occupational therapy

  • The children’s occupational therapy service offers a child and family-centred approach to support children and young people with their independence in all aspects of daily living, such as self-feeding, dressing and participating in play and school activities. The service is available to children and families across Hertfordshire.

    We work in partnership with parents/carers and other colleagues to promote positive outcomes for children by using a range of approaches that are individually tailored to each child and family. This may include the provision of an activity plan, specialist equipment, treatment sessions or training to parents, carers and school staff. This is achieved through individual assessments, treatment, advice and multi-agency working.

    The children’s occupational therapy service in Hertfordshire is integrated across health and social care, which means in addition to the support above the service can also provide assessment and advice on adaptations to your home or child’s school environments to meet their specific needs.

    Please use the links on this site to find out more about us and how to contact the Children’s Occupational Therapy Service.

    More detailed information about the children and young People’s therapies service, including how the service is delivered, referrals and how we work with children and their families.

    Children's occupational therapy service leaflet


    Schools moving and handling training for Summer 2023

    Click here for dates and information on how to book

    (Please can attendees book their own place. They are required to complete a workbook prior to attending the training and will need to follow a link that will be e-mailed to them individually.)

    Online smart moves training for education settings for Spring 2023
    Click here for dates and information on how to book

    Online parent/carer sensory information sessions
    Understanding your child’s sensory preferences: Click here for dates and information on how to book
    Supporting your child’s sensory self-regulation development: Click here for dates and information on how to book 

    Online sensory information sessions for education settings
    School understanding children’s sensory preferences: Click here for dates and information on how to book 
    School supporting children’s sensory self-regulation development: Click here for dates and information on how to book

    Online parent/carer motor development sessions
    Supporting your child’s motor skills development: Click here for dates and information on how to book.

    Contact the service

    Telephone – 01923 470680 option 3, option 2
    Email –
    Twitter -
    Advice Line – 01923 470680 option 3, option 1

    This is a dedicated telephone number which parents, carers and professionals can call to speak to a therapist about a new referral or a child’s development. Please leave a message on our advice line and a therapist will contact you. Calls are responded to by a therapist on weekdays.

    For information on service delivery during COVID-19, please see our CYP Therapies Service webpage.

    Please remember to also look on the Website pages under Useful Information for further advice and support.

How the service is provided

The children’s occupational therapy team work with children and young people in the most cappropriate setting to promote functional skills. We work closely with families, education staff and all members of the team around a child or young person. For those children and young people with an identified need an episode of care will be recommended. If required, the occupational therapist will work through an interpreter should a child, young person or their family have difficulty communicating in English.

We offer support in different ways:

  • Universal – something for all children, for example: raising awareness and increasing understanding of sensory difficulties and difficulties with daily living tasks.
  • Targeted – something for some children, for example: working with families and settings to help identify and overcome barriers faced by children and young people with difficulties which impact on their functioning and daily living.
  • Specialist – something for children with a defined clinical need, for example: where our input can make a significant contribution to a child or young person’s health and wellbeing. Not all children and young people will require specialist support, as advice and support can be accessed through our targeted and universal offer.

Who is eligible for the service

The children’s occupational therapy service support children and young people who live in Hertfordshire from birth to 18 years old. We also support young people aged 18-25 years old who have a Hertfordshire Education Health and Care Plan, within the Hertfordshire educational setting.

Children and young people aged 0-18 years of age who live in Hertfordshire with a long-term disability of chronic illness that significantly affects their access to their home environment can be referred for assessment for equipment and adaptations within their home.

What will happen at your appointment

During the appointment you will have the opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have about your child’s development of functional skills.

The occupational therapist will assess what your child is able to do through observation of play and activities, they might also use a standardised assessment which will help them measure your child’s performance against national age norms, and they will then decide if your child has a need for further OT involvement.

After the initial assessment the occupational therapist may decide to do one or more of the following:

  • provide advice and treatment. Treatment can be an activity programme for home and school practice, individual therapy sessions with the therapist or therapy assistant, or group sessions with other children with similar difficulties and needs
  • recommend specialist equipment for use at home, in school or nursery
  • offer advice on adaptations to support your child’s independence or care needs at home and/or in school
  • offer training to parents, carers and Education staff on how best to support your child with functional activities, this advice is usually delivered via workshops and presentations
  • write a report to provide information or access to other services

We offer a flexible service supporting children in the most appropriate environment, whether that is a clinic, at nursery or school or at home.  We work closely with parents, teachers and pre-school staff and all members of the team around the child or young person to achieve this.

If required, the occupational therapist will work through an interpreter should a child or their family have difficulty communicating in English.

Useful information

The children’s ocupational therapy service has provided some resources for parents and people who work with children.

This is general advice to help overcome some common difficulties in everyday activities including dressing, ball skills, using a pencil.

Please read the general principles for completing activities information first.

Fine Motor Skills

Gross Motor Skills

Self Care Skills

Sensory Processing

School Strategies


Leckey Horizon, Mygo, prone and freestander
Leckey Squiggles
R82 rabbit
R82 Mustang and crocodile
RMS Grillo walker
Jenx/Jiraffe prone stander
Jenx multistand


  • - All our occupational therapists are registered with the Health Professions Council and work to standards set by the Trust, the College of Occupational Therapist and Children, Young People and Families.
  • HemiHelp - UK based charity for children and young people with hemiplegia.
  • - Supporting children, families and adults with dyspraxia.
  • - Cerebral Palsy information and support.
  • - information and support to people with muscular dystrophy.
  • - The professional body for occupational therapists and OT staff in the United Kingdom.

Have you heard of the Local Offer?  If you are a young person with, or have a child with special educational needs and disabilities, (SEND) the Local Offer is Hertfordshire’s central source of information for SEND services and support. Visit for an easily accessible one stop shop.

Making a referral

All referrals sent to the service are triaged by a therapist based on the information provided to decide whether an assessment appointment will be offered. 

All referrals are to be made via the online referral form. HCT do not accept paper referrals. GPs can continue to refer into CYP Therapies Services using either the Digital Referral form, Ardens or DXS.

If you have any queries or experience any issues when making a referral, please contact the Children's referral hub:
01923 470680 Option 2 or

Click here for referral guidelines.

Pre-school children

Should you have concerns regarding your child’s independence in aspects of daily living such as self-feeding, dressing and participating in play activities please speak to your Health Visitor or local Family Centre. They will often be able to provide you with advice on ways to support your child at home. Health visitors and other health professionals, such as your GP, can refer a child to the service.

School-aged children

If your child is in full-time school you should discuss any concerns you may have with your child’s teacher. Some children can be supported in their school without requiring a referral to the service. SENCos and other education professionals can refer a child to the service.

Referrals for Home Equipment and Adaptations

Referrals relating to home environmental issues can be made by parents and carers, as well as anyone involved with your child.

Children's occupational therapy housing hub - Information for parents and carers

Down Syndrome advice clinic

The children’s therapies service is now piloting a therapy advice clinic for pre-school children with Down Syndrome living within the East Hertfordshire area. Parents or carers can book into these clinics to access advice and informal assessment from a physiotherapist, occupational therapist and speech and language therapist. They do not need a referral and do not have to be currently open to the service in order to access it. Click here for booking details.

Patient experience

If you would like to share your story, please contact the Patient Experience team on 01707 388036 or email

We would also love to hear about your experience on our service, please complete a survey by clicking here.