Children's occupational therapy and physiotherapy

Our children’s occupational therapy and physiotherapy teams provide a specialist service to children and young people in Derby and Southern Derbyshire who experience difficulties with movement and with daily activities at home and school.

Paediatric occupational therapists help children and young people to live life their way.

Occupational therapists can suggest alternative ways of doing activities, providing advice on learning new approaches and helping children and young people to get the most from life. For example, an occupational therapist can help with the following activities: 

Self care Getting dressed, using the toilet, preparing and eating meals
Productivity Participating in school work, going to work, volunteering, studying, or caring for others
Leisure Playing sports, going out with friends, doing hobbies


If you would like more information about Occupational Therapy with children, visit the website of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists.

Physiotherapy aims to help and treat children and young people with physical problems as well as providing support to their families and carers.

Physiotherapists support children and young people who have difficulty with movement, and treat short and long-term conditions that impact on physical development, activity and their ability to participate in play, learning and socialising.

Following an assessment, physiotherapy programmes are devised in collaboration with both the child/young person and their family/carer. Treatment is incorporated into simple everyday activities. Advice and training are provided so that the family can help and encourage the child to practise their physiotherapy programmes.

We work with the child/young person, their family and Health and Educational colleagues to encourage each child to get the most out of their life and fully develop their potential, from birth to the time they transition to adult services.

Movement difficulties may be due to a range of conditions, which include but are not limited to:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Development Delay
  • Developmental Co-ordination Disorder
  • Neuromuscular Conditions
  • Acquired Brain Injury
  • Down's Syndrome.

Both qualified Physiotherapists (PTs) and Technical Instructors work within the service.  Initial assessments are always carried out by a qualified PT.  You may receive further assessment and intervention by a PT or Technical Instructor depending on your need. 

If you would like more information about Physiotherapy with children, visit the Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists website.

What quality standards do you meet?

Every therapist is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. Therapists work within, and abide by, the codes of practice of their professional bodies: the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and British Association of Occupational Therapists (BAOT).

Every staff member will also work with and abide by Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust's Vision and Values.

What support can you offer?

Following assessment and analysis, our teams will offer support by:

  • Improving physical abilities through developing gross motor skills (larger movements like rolling, crawling, walking, running, jumping and climbing) and fine motor skills (upper limb and hand skills such as dressing, eating and handwriting skills)

  • Working closely with parents, teachers and other carers, and providing appropriate support
  • Advising on and arranging for a range of equipment or specialist aids. These will help your child/young person to complete tasks more easily and become more independent.

Learn more about the services provided by the teams by clicking on the drop-down accordions below.

Early years

The Early Years team is based at the Ronnie Mackeith Centre at Royal Derby Hospital. Team members see children from nought to four years old (or when they go into a permanent educational placement). 

For appointments at the Ronnie Mackeith Centre, please allow plenty of time for parking as queues are likely. 

School-aged children

For children that are in permanent education the team works in geographical patches and will see children from 0-19 years, as long as they are in full-time education.  

Referrals to the service

Find details about the referral process on our referrals page

Early years 

The Early Years team is based at the Ronnie Mackeith Centre at Royal Derby Hospital. Team members see children from nought to two years old.  

For appointments at the Ronnie Mackeith Centre, please allow plenty of time for parking as queues are likely. 


For children and young people from two to 16 years old. Young people can be transferred to the Young Adult Team who support those aged 16 – 25 years. 

Special schools 

For children and young people from two to 19 years old. Children and young people in special schools will transfer to the adult Learning Disability team (from the age of 18).  

Referrals to the service

Find details about the referral process on our referrals page

The Young Adults team works with young people from the age of 14 to 16 years old who require further physiotherapy input and support up to the age of 25.

This service is provided to bridge the gap between paediatric and adult services. Our aim is to support you as much as possible throughout your time in the service to promote independence and self-management of your disability. 

How will you support me?

The team will…

  • Work with you to help you to achieve the lifestyle you want by encouraging self-management of your health needs
  • Help to maintain and improve your physical abilities with an exercise programme
  • Help you to access leisure and sports facilities
  • Help you recover after surgery
  • Advise on any physiotherapy equipment necessary to help you to become independent
  • Liaise with and refer to other professionals and agencies to ensure you receive appropriate support/treatment, such as referrals to orthotics and occupational therapy.
 How do you work?
  • We are a community based service covering Derby City and South Derbyshire
  • We offer clinic appointments at Royal Derby Hospital / London Road Community Hospital and community health centres
  • Working as part of a team, we will assess you and provide you with advice and/or treatment to meet your needs
  • We work closely with other services that support and advise you in all areas of your lifestyle including accommodation, independent living, leisure, work and college.                            
Transition into the Young Adults service  

If you are being supported by the paediatric team and attend a mainstream school, discussions will begin when you are 14 about what further services you need after leaving school. The transition into the Young Adults team is a gradual process involving joint working between therapists until you are 16 years old. At the age of 16, your care will transfer over to the Young Adult Team, who will continue to support you until you are 25 years old.

Referrals into the service

Referrals are accepted from GPs, consultants, paediatricians, paediatric therapists and social care professionals for young people with a physical disability. For young people with both a physical disability and a learning disability, the Learning Disability Team may be a more appropriate service.

Referrals can be made via either a letter or the service specific referral form. All sections must be completed and returned to: Community Therapy Team – Admin Team, St Pauls House, Jubilee Business Park, Enterprise Way, Derby, DE21 4BB.

Tel: 0300 123 4586 (Option 2, option 5)

How can I support the work of my therapist?

After assessment, your therapist will agree a joint plan of therapy with you. They will enter into a joint therapy agreement which defines the roles of the therapist, parents and school.  Family members will be asked to participate actively in the therapy programme. You are free to contact us if you have any queries or concerns about your involvement. It is important that we work together.

Which other professional groups do you work with? 

We may work with...

  • Acute hospital physiotherapy and occupational therapy services
  • Education staff
  • Short breaks services
  • Social care occupational therapists 
  • Social care staff including social workers and family support workers
  • Specialist health visitors
  • Speech therapists
  • Orthopaedic surgeons
  • Paediatricians and GPs
  • Voluntary sector staff working with your child
  • Wheelchair services
  • Leisure Services 

Information about you and your child/young person is treated in a strictly confidential manner.

It is good practice to discuss the clinical needs of your child/young person and share information with other appropriately involved professionals. In this way we can co-ordinate care to offer the best service to your child/young person and yourself.

You will be asked to sign a consent form for the sharing of information where you can identify those you do and do not wish us to share information with.  This will be completed before any therapy commences.


We are often involved in the training of therapy and medical students. All students have undergone full DBS checks.  If you do not wish for a student to be present at your appointment please let us know.

Information for health professionals about referring children and young people into the service

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