Children's Occupational Therapy

We are a team of specialist occupational therapists, often referred to as ‘OTs’ and occupational therapy assistants (OTAs). We work with children, young people and their families who have difficulty with functional activities due to illness, disability or with coordination skills.

We work with children and young people from birth up to 19 years of age who have difficulties or a disability which affects their ability to carry out functional, everyday tasks with the aim of improving their level of independence and quality of life. Functional activities of daily living (or ‘occupations’) for children and young people may include self-care (for example dressing, eating a meal or bathing), being productive (joining in at nursery or school), and leisure (playing or hobbies).

We work alongside other professions such as teachers, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, nurses and paediatricians. We have a team of experienced, qualified OTs who are specialists in working with children and understand the particular challenges children face. Our OTAs support the OTs and work directly with children and families under the guidance of an OT.

Physical Disabilities and Illness

Children who are having difficulties with functional activities because of a physical disability or illness are seen by an occupational therapist in the location most suited to the difficulties experienced.
For example, if a child is having difficulty eating their tea at home because they cannot sit up without support, we would usually come and see them at home. This allows us to see the actual difficulties they are having, as sometimes, minor changes can make a big difference to how they are able to complete an activity.
We will often need to see these children in more than one place to get a full picture of their needs. Other children with a physical disability may be seen in a clinic setting to allow us to complete certain assessments or to have access to specialist equipment and resources.

Coordination and Fine Motor Difficulties

Children who are having difficulties with coordination or with their hand skills and functional activities are seen in a clinic setting. This allows us to complete standardised assessments if necessary in a suitable environment and means we are able to discuss your concerns away from the distractions of home or school. Before we will accept a referral for school age children with these difficulties, you will need to demonstrate that you have tried to resolve the difficulties at home and school. Full details of how you can do this can be found her in our Pre-Referral Pack. Pre-school children may be referred without completing this programme but may benefit from completing activities from it whilst waiting for their appointment.


If your child has been seen by us before and still meets the referral criteria, you may a request a review without going back to your doctor or other medical profession.
We work in ‘episodes of care’ which means that we will help resolve the current concerns and then complete that episode with you. When a new issue arises, for example your child has grown and their specialist equipment needs adjusting or your child is now ready to try learning a new skill, you will need to contact us to request a review.

Reviews for children with a physical disability or illness and for pre-school children

We understand that things can change suddenly for your child and because of that we will accept a request for a review at any time. If specialist equipment which your child relies on breaks down please phone us immediately on 01603 506 535.

Reviews for children with coordination, hand skill or functional difficulties

We will accept a request to review your child if they are having functional difficulties and it has been at least 12 months since their most recent appointment with the service. This is because children need time to practise and consolidate their skills. The standardised assessments which may be completed at an initial assessment are not repeated at review appointments. Please note, we are not commissioned to see children for their handwriting difficulties. We are able to offer handwriting assessments and intervention packages as one of our not-for-profit traded services.


Our referral criteria are as follows:

  • Children must be registered with a GP in Norwich, North Norfolk or South Norfolk CCGs (children registered with Thetford GP practices are seen by the OT team based in Bury St Edmunds). Children registered with a GP in West Norfolk CCG will only be seen by this OT team if referred with suspected developmental coordination disorder (DCD). Other conditions and difficulties are addressed by the OT team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kings Lynn.
  • Referrals for Developmental Coordination Difficulties (DCD) are accepted for children aged 4 – 8 or in the academic year before transition to high school.
  • Referrals for children who have a functional difficulty related to a physical disability or illness are accepted for children 0-18yrs.
  • First referrals must be made by a medical professional who knows the child, however, families and schools may request subsequent reviews.
  • Referrals should be made on the SPOR form and sent to our Children’s Single Point of Referral team, this is a single point of entry to all of NCHC’s children’s services.

Follow these links to find out more:

Pre-Referral Pack


For more information please contact:

Mail: Children’s Occupational Therapy
Norwich Community Hospital
Bowthorpe Road


Tel: 01603 506 535