Occupational Therapy

The Children’s Occupational Therapy service specialises in working with children and young people from birth to 18 years. We support children and young people with physical, sensory, developmental, cognitive and social needs that affect their functional abilities and impact on their daily life.

Children & Family Health Devon provides the NHS Children’s Occupational Therapy service in North, South and Eastern Devon. Our occupational therapists also assess and make recommendations for the provision of adaptations and equipment on behalf of Devon County Council.

Support available:

  • Play
  • Coordination and Movement
  • Hand Skills
  • Using your senses
  • Toileting
  • Dressing

About the Occupational Therapy Service

All children and young people have a very important job to do. They have to grow, learn, socialise and play. Children do this every day by exploring the boundaries of their abilities. When they are successful, children and young people develop and thrive and the sense of achievement they get usually makes them happy.

Children and young people with learning, physical, sensory, developmental, cognitive and social needs difficulties can have their ability to grow, learn, socialise and play hindered and find it difficult to cope with basic activities like getting dressed or brushing their teeth. At school, they may struggle concentrating in class or their difficulties may mean they lack the confidence to take part in playground games in turn affecting their ability to learn and make friends.

This can be very difficult for children and young people to to cope with since ‘fitting in’ can be so important to their self-esteem and happiness.

How can we help?

Occupational Therapists work with children and young people, parents/carer(s) and teachers to find solutions to minimise the difficulties they face and help them to get the most from life.  We support children and young people with physical, sensory, developmental, cognitive and social needs that affect their functional abilities and have an impact on their daily life. When a child or young person is referred to us we work in partnership with parents and with other healthcare and education professionals with whom the child or young person has a relationship, because we recognise that parents and carers know their child or young person best.

We’ll help to identify a child or young person’s difficulties in their daily life by assessing their needs, using play and purposeful activities to help them achieve their goals and become as independent as possible. We’ll also assess for and provide equipment and adaptions to maximise children and young people’s independence.

Guidance and helpful information

There are tools and strategies that can be used at home to help and support children and young people who have difficulties which might require help from Occupational Therapists. We ask that these tools and strategies are used for two to three months before making a Request for Service unless you are requesting equipment or adaptations.

You will need to submit evidence that the appropriate strategies and activities have been completed, according to need, with your request. You can access these toolkits yourself by picking a service from the drop down menu above, or below.

Please also check see the specific pages relating to the difficulties we can help children and young people with. If after you have concerns about your child or young person you should complete the toolkit and strategies for the period recommended. If you are still concerned that your child has not achieved the goals set out then you should make a referral to Children and Family Health Devon.

What happens next?

Once we receive a referral, we will contact you if we require more information about the child or young person who has been referred to us. AsChildren and Family Health Devon are not the only Occupational Therapy provider in Devon, and depending on the difficulties your child is experiencing, we may need to arrange that the request is forwarded to another provider. We will only refer you to other NHS providers.

If we accept the request for service and you have not already implemented the strategies on the website for your child’s specific difficulty we may suggest you implement the strategies for a period of time so that you can monitor the outcome and let us know if your concerns continue.

If we accept your child’s referral we will aim to see them within 18 weeks, but there may be variations to this timeline associated with urgency, prioritisation of risk, staffing levels, demand and other factors. While you wait to be seen continuing to implement the strategies in the toolkits and continuing to keep a record of progress will benefit your child or young person  as you can share these results with us during your assessment.

What is the process?


Children and Family Health Devon

Single Point of Access Team
1a Capital Court
Bittern Road
Sowton Industrial Estate
Exeter EX2 7FW

Email: CFHD.DevonSPA@nhs.net

t: 0330 024 5321