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CCHP Occupational Therapy Referral

A Referral Guide for the Community Paediatric Occupational Therapy Service


The specialist paediatric Occupational Therapy service is designed to provide assessment and a range of therapeutic interventions for a wide range of children who have a complex, severe or enduring physical and or developmental condition that is significantly affecting their ability to achieve their potential in terms of activities of daily living. 

Age range


Specialist Occupational Therapy services will accept referrals of children and young people up until their 19th birthday, or if in full time education during their 19th year of age.

Type of problem

The types of problems presented by children include those who have functional difficulties due to a:

·       Complex;

·       Severe;

·       Or enduring physical and/or a developmental condition, which is significantly affecting their ability to achieve their potential in terms of daily living activities. 

Referral Allocation

Referrals are allocated depending on perceived priorities and managed as per the appropriate protocols. Urgent priority will be given to infants needing early motor and neurological assessments (Motor Assessment Programme, MAP referrals).

How to Refer

- New Referrals

All new referrals must be made via a Single Point of Entry (SPE) form and sent to the address on the form. From there it goes to the Paediatric Occupational Therapy service, if the referral does not meet with the referral criteria, or more information is required, it will be sent back to the referrer and SPE clerk will be advised.

- Re-referrals

Children previously known to the service can be re-referred directly by someone working with the child, a parent or via the previous referrer within 12 months of the last contact.

The Occupational Therapy team on receipt of the re-referral, will complete the registration process via SPE. 

- Transfers from one OT locality team to another

When a child that is already active on the Occupational Therapy caseload moves localities within the partnership a transfer to the new locality Occupational Therapy team will receive priority.

A transfer is sent to the new locality Occupational Therapy team by letter with copies of relevant notes and history. 

Who can refer

The following bodies can make a referral:

·       Community Paediatricians

·       GP’s

·       School health nurses

·       Physiotherapists, Speech & language Therapists & other Health professionals 

The Referral Decision Process

The criteria outlined below describes; the process of how a decision is made, on who is appropriate to refer and who is not appropriate.

- Appropriate Referral Criteria

·       Where there is evidence of significant and severe functional impairment; and where this functional impairment is significantly out of line with the perceived potential of the child;

·       Where a child meets DSM4 criteria for Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) /Motor co-ordination difficulties and their level of difficulty falls within the low 5% as compared to their peers;

·       A child who requires hand splints to prevent contracture, deformity and to aid function;

·       A child with a newly acquired condition, or who is being discharged from hospital with specific ongoing functional needs. 

- Not Appropriate Referral Criteria

·       When a child is managing activities of daily living regardless of their diagnosis and difficulties;

·       Where a child’s functional difficulties are expected and in line with their global developmental pathway, in this case there maybe limited effect from an Occupational Therapy therapeutic intervention. 

What work needs to be done before making a referral

·       An investigation of which other professionals are involved with the child concerned and what interventions have been tried (this information should be shared in the referral);

·       For referrals relating to coordination difficulties; The motor coordination pathway describes checklists that need to be completed before referral for children with coordination difficulties.

What information is needed when you make a referral

·       Relevant history of the child concerned and description of present needs;

·       A description of how any medical or developmental condition is affecting the daily function of the child concerned;

·       A description of what the referrer hopes to gain from intervention from the OT service;

·       Information about other professionals and agencies involved with the referred child. 



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