Paediatric occupational therapy

Occupational therapist working with a paediatric patient Occupational therapists work with children of all ages with the aim of helping them to achieve their full potential. 

The paediatric occupational therapy team strives to support parents in looking at their child’s strengths and abilities rather than disabilities, and assists in learning how to interpret their child's behaviours and communication to support development.   

Our service

Children are often referred to the paediatric occupational therapy service due to the impact of their diagnosis and/or lengthy hospital stay on mobility and development. Through simple assessments, we can review a child’s abilities and provide programmes and advice in helping them to achieve their developmental milestones.

The paediatric occupational therapy team is an integral part of the rehabilitation care programme, which pioneers holistic care for all our paediatric patients. They work closely with the wider paediatric rehabilitation and therapies teams.

Ensuring that people have a positive experience of care

One hundred percent of recent survey respondents felt that their therapists were courteous and considerate and that their child was treated with dignity and respect.

Assessment and treatment

How does an occupational therapist assess my child?

The occupational therapist will assess your child’s abilities by using the Bayley III assessment tool.

The Newborn Behavioural Observation (NBO) and Hammersmith Neonatal Neurological Examination may be used with newborn babies. These assessments will look at your child’s abilities and help to identify potential areas of need. 

The Bayley scale assessment tool 

Bayley assessment toolOccupational therapists review children of all ages on the ward. Assessments can include reviewing the child’s physical movement and positioning, and also visual and hearing development components, such as reaching and grasping

After doing these tests the occupational therapist will be able to identify any areas of need and develop a treatment plan.


Once the assessments have been completed, the occupational therapist will create a treatment plan with you to assist your child in achieving his or her full potential. The plan may involve activities to encourage your child into certain positions or movements through the use of toys and play.

Occupational therapists strive to maintain a family centred approach to ensure the programme is appropriate for each child and their family.

What happens if my child needs equipment? Child in a tumbleform

Some children may require specialist equipment to maintain appropriate posture and facilitate participation in their daily activities. This might include a supportive chair for feeding or a bath seat for bathing.

The occupational therapist will assess whether your child requires equipment on the ward and will be able to liaise with your local therapy team if your child’s equipment needs are the same for home and/or school.

Who will see my child when after discharge?

Once your child has been discharged, your occupational therapist at Royal Brompton Hospital will see them again as an outpatient. The occupational therapist will review your child’s development and liaise with your community therapy teams where necessary.