Our Services A-Z

Children's Occupational Therapy

The occupational therapists are part of the Integrated Children’s Additional Needs (ICAN) Service.

Our mission is to support children and young people with disabilities to participate in everyday activities and situations at home, school and in the community.

 We are committed to working in partnership with children, young people and families. We want to help children and young people do the things that are important to them, like doing leisure activities with friends and family, taking care of themselves and joining in and learning in school. We believe that supporting children and young people to participate in everyday life is an important part of their health and well-being.


Who is the service for?

 The service is used by children and young people with conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism or developmental co-ordination disorder. However, many of the children and young people we support do not have a medical diagnosis. Our occupational therapy colleagues in Leeds Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust support children and young people with neuromuscular conditions, juvenile arthritis and brain injuries.

 Children and young people who live in Leeds, go to nursery or school in Leeds and/or have a Leeds GP can access the service. We are sometimes asked to support children and young people who attend a Leeds school but live in a different town such as Bradford (or vice versa). In these situations, we decide with the family, school and local services how we can best organise occupational therapy support.


What can you expect from us?

  • We will listen to you and your child about your concerns and what is important to you
  • We will set goals with you and, if possible, your child about what you want to achieve. We can also get school involved if that’s important to your goals and concern
  • We will talk through your usual daily routines and all the things you do. This helps us to come up with recommendations and an action plan that fits with your day-to-day life
  • We might watch your child doing things in real life, for example at home or in school. This helps us to understand what might need to change to help your child achieve his or her goals
  • We will make a plan about what will happen next to help you and your child achieve the goals
  •  Your child’s plan might include:

- Techniques to practice at home

- Coaching you or your child’s teacher to use a different approach

- Coming to a group or individual sessions to practice things with other children and a therapist

- Adapting the environment e.g. using equipment to make it easier to do things

- We will work closely with your child’s physiotherapist, speech and language therapist, teacher or any other practitioner supporting your child#


How can you access the service?

  • If your child is in nursery or younger (pre-school), you can access the service through a team assessment at the Child Development Centre. If you have concerns about your pre-school child you can ask your GP, health visitor or any other health professional who knows you and your family about a referral to the Child Development Centre
  • If your child is in Reception or older (school-aged), you can access the service through your GP or paediatrician. You are also welcome to contact us directly if you would like to discuss whether we can support your child
  • Young people access the service up to the age of 19 years, as long as they are still in school
  • If you and your child have accessed the service in the past, you can contact us directly to discuss whether you need another appointment. You can also ask another health or social care professional or the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator at your child’s school to contact us on your behalf
  • When accessing the service, we ask that you complete our referral form so we can make sure we have up-to-date details about your child. This is included in the Useful Documents section.

Where can you access the service?

  • The ICAN teams are based in the Child Development Centres at St George’s Centre in Middleton, Wortley Beck Health Centre and St James’s Hospital. 
  • We provide support to children and young people in some local health centres.
  • We may also see your child at home, in nursery or school or in the community e.g. the local leisure centre
  • We will try our best to be flexible in where you access us, to suit your needs
  • All our clinic bases are accessible for people who use wheelchairs
  • If you have questions about access for yourself or your child, or any other questions or concerns, please contact the office before your child’s appointment
  • We regularly use interpreters and we can book one for appointments if that’s what your family needs

Who works in the team?

We are a team of occupational therapists, a support worker and an administrator. All our occupational therapists are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). We have student occupational therapists working in our service for most of the year. A student therapist may be present at your appointment, but please do tell us if you would prefer not to have a student present.


What do we need to know about your child?

We need to know your child’s name, date of birth, address, and nursery or school; your name and contact details as the parent or main carer; and the names and contact details of any other carers. We also need to know you and your child’s language or method of communication. It helps us to know the names of other professionals supporting you and your child


How long will you wait to access the service?

If you are accessing the service through a team assessment at the Child Development Centre, you will wait no longer than 18 weeks from when the team receive your child’s referral

If you are accessing the school-age service, you will wait no longer than 12 weeks from when the team receive your child’s referral


What hours is the service open?

Our core hours are 8:30am-5pm. We know it is important to be flexible for families and we will be flexible whenever we can


How long will occupational therapy be involved with your child?

We will stay involved with your child until:

  • They have achieved their goals orthe plan for working on their goals is in place
  • You and your child no longer want to have occupational therapy input
  • You and your child have not attended appointments or contacted the service

What do people say about us?

“It is quite obvious the amount of time and effort that goes into each appointment that your service gives and the appointments themselves are of a very high quality. I would have no hesitation in recommending your service to anyone who might benefit from it”

“Setting goals identified areas that both [child’s name] and us as parents thought would cause worry and problems at high school. This also helped to address the problem areas before they became an issue.”

If you have used this service in the past, and would like to provide us with feedback as part of the NHS โ€œFriends and Family Testโ€ (FFT) please select one of the links below:

To access and complete the FFT click here >

To access and complete the FFT Easy read version click here >

If you are a parent carer you can access and complete the FFT by click here >

The information you provide will be used to inform how better we can deliver the service.