What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapists help children and young people to achieve or maintain their independence at home, nursery or school. The role of the Occupational Therapist is to support the development of functional skills. Functional skills are the skills used to carry out everyday activities (or occupations). The overall aim is to help the child or young person do the things that they need, want or are expected to do to participate in daily life.
This might include:
Click here to view the Royal College of Occupational Therapy Children and Young People Leaflet
How is the children’s occupational therapy service delivered?
We recognise the importance of working in partnership with parents and carers and the child’s education setting to maximise a child’s practical skills and independence. This may include supporting the child or young person to carry out an activity programme that the service recommends or making sure specific strategies are included in their daily home and school routine. Advice may also include examples of how to change everyday tasks so that they are easier for the child or young person to do and suggestions for equipment to use to help them.
This is the first stage of support and includes information and resources that are available to everyone without the need for a referral. A range of advice, information and resources for families and professionals is available through this website in our Resources section below.
Services Requiring a Referral
This level of support is for children and young people who require a little more help or more specialist assessment and intervention. This may involve a time limited period of assessment, treatment or targeted advice, and may be provided within the home, clinic or education setting. A referral is required to access this level of support. In most cases we will require evidence that universal resources have been explored and strategies have been tried prior to making a referral.
Please see the Referrals section below for further details.
Universal support and advice
The following resources are designed to provide support and advice for children and young people who are experiencing difficulties with practical skills and this is affecting how they participate in everyday activities. The resources should be used as a pre-referral problem solving tool to ensure that strategies have been tried before a referral to Occupational Therapy is made.
These resources packs and video series are intended as a guide only and a referral to the Occupational Therapy service should be considered if:
Click here to download the Occupational Therapy Resource Pack for Primary Schools
Please find below our sensory video series made by SCFT Occupational Therapists covering a range of practical advice.
There are 18 short videos on different topics:
We recommend that the videos are watched in sequence. In total, it should take around an hour and a half to watch all the videos.
After watching the videos please use the Sensory Resource Pack linked below. This includes lots of activity ideas to support your child / student and answers some FAQs.
Click here to download the SCFT Sensory Resource Pack
The following resources may also be helpful. Education settings may wish to outline strategies which have been implemented when referring. Strategies may include universally available programmes such as handwriting programmes, Jump Ahead, Zones of Regulation or Sensory Circuits. Some education setting related resources are available via the links below:
The Children’s Occupational Therapy Service accept referrals from healthcare and education professionals. Parents can “re-refer” if the child or young person has previously been seen by an SCFT Occupational Therapist within the last two years by contacting the service directly.
School aged referrals should include evidence of universal strategies already tried at home and within the education setting to address the areas of concern. Universal support should be implemented for a period of at least 3 months (or one school term) prior to a referral being made. Please refer to the Resources – Universal support and advice section above. Exceptions to this may include children with more complex physical needs or identified neurological conditions.
We accept referrals for the following:
Making a referral
Referrals will not be accepted if:
We are unable to accept referrals for the following:
Additional support to address social, emotional and mental health difficulties is available via the following local services:
Contact Details and Referral Forms
Please use the following links and email or post the completed referral form to the West Sussex Children’s Occupational Therapy service. You will find the contact details for your local team below.
Central Area Children’s Occupational Therapy services
Nightingale Primary Care Centre
Mid Sussex Child Development Centre - 2nd Floor
Butlers Green Road
Tel: 01444 414100
Crawley Child Development Centre
West Green Drive
Tel: 01293 600300 Ext. 3682
Hilltop Children’s Unit
Tel: 01403 227000
Referral Form: OT Referral Form - Crawley and Horsham
Coastal Area Children’s Occupational Therapy services
Worthing Child Development Centre
Tel: 01903 286716
Referral Form: OT Referral Form - Worthing
Chichester Child Development Centre
28-29 Westhampnett Road
Tel: 01243 793641
Referral Form: OT Referral Form - Chichester
Additional information and services
Additional impartial advice and support is available here:
Additional advice to support Emotional Based School Avoidance is available to schools via the EBSA toolkit: