Therapies

About us

Our services include:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy

All children are different and develop at different speeds. Some children find learning certain skills more difficult than others and they may need specialist assessment and advice from one of our therapists.

Our Children’s Therapy Service team works closely together to support children and young people who need specialist help from one or more of our therapy services. These include Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy.

Our vision is that all children and young people are provided with the skills they need to take part, as effectively as possible, in everyday situations and are supported to reach their full potential.

How do we work?

We undertake a specialist assessment to understand what your child’s strengths and difficulties are, and if further support is needed. This helps us to provide the best quality care and most appropriate support for you and your child.

We always work in partnership with you to ensure you and your child are at the heart of everything we do. We also work very closely with other professionals, such as nursery key workers, learning support assistants, teachers and our own therapy technicians and assistants.

The support we provide to your child is based on their needs; it is individual to them. We aim to offer support in the most appropriate setting for your child. This may be in a health centre or a children’s centre. Depending on their needs, we may also visit your child at their pre-school, school or at home.

What areas do we cover?

We support children and young people who:

  • are registered with a GP in Hampshire, Southampton or Portsmouth.
  • attend a school in Hampshire, Southampton or Portsmouth

Referrals

Who can refer?

Our Children’s Therapy Service has an open referral system, which means we accept referrals from anyone including:

  • Parents / Carers
  • paediatricians
  • GPs
  • health visitors or other health care professionals, including audiologists
  • pre-school or school staff.
Self referral

As a parent, you can refer your child directly to the Children’s Therapy Service. If you would like to refer your child, please fill out our referral form which you can find below or contact us. A member of our team will ask you a few questions to get some background information before advising you on what will happen next and what to expect at your first appointment.

Please contact us if you have any other queries about how to refer your child. You can call to discuss any concerns with our team of professionals. A speech and language therapist, occupational therapist or physiotherapist will be on hand to help out.

Who should be referred?

We accept referrals for children and young people, who are registered with a GP or attend a school in Hampshire, Southampton or Portsmouth, with one or more of the following difficulties:

  • speech, language or communication
  • stammering
  • voice problems, e.g. hoarse / husky voice (referral to Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) is suggested prior to assessment by our team)
  • movement and coordination
  • balance
  • walking, sitting or standing
  • self-help skills, eg dressing and eating
  • school activities, eg handwriting
  • eating, drinking and swallowing (this means the physical process and mechanics of feeding, rather than children who choose what they eat i.e. don't like to eat certain foods). Please note that children with feeding or swallowing difficulties may require additional medical information which should be included on the referral form.
How do I refer?

Before making a referral to our service you may be required to have tried local support resources/interventions before the referral will be accepted.

You can download our integrated referral form here

We have an integrated referral form offering the choice of service you require. You can refer to more than one service if needed, in which case a fully integrated assessment will take place.

Referral forms must be completed in full with a parent / guardian signature.

Please return the completed form via post or email.

Speech and Language

What do we do?

The speech and language therapy team supports children with speech, language and communication needs and those with feeding and swallowing difficulties. Speaking and eating uses the same muscles and speech and language therapists are specially trained to help with specific difficulties with feeding and swallowing. Some children we see may have a medical condition or diagnosis or learning difficulty, but many do not. We provide support to children across the whole of Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth.

Who do we help?

Speech and language therapists provide support and advice for children from birth to 19 years old. No types of difficulty or disability are excluded as we provide support based on need, not diagnosis.

We support children with one or more of the following difficulties:

  • unclear speech (speech sounds)
  • not understanding what is being said (understanding of spoken language)
  • vocabulary and putting words together into sentences (spoken language)
  • mixing with other children and adults (social communication skills)
  • only speaking in certain situations (selectively mute)
  • stammering or stuttering
  • hoarse or husky sounding voice
  • hearing impairment / deafness.

How do we help?

Speech and language therapists assess children to build up a picture of their skills and find out their exact abilities, difficulties and needs. This may include one or more of the following:

  • formal assessments or tests
  • informal based play assessments
  • watching the child at nursery, school or home to see how they communicate or eat / drink
  • talking with those who know them best and speaking to other professionals involved in their care.

After your first appointment, if further support is needed, we may suggest one or more of the following.

  • advice and coaching to parents, carers and other professionals to help them apply practical ideas to support your child
  • training and advice for parents and other professionals involved in your child’s care
  • direct therapy, either individually or in groups
  • activities and programmes for home and pre-school or school
  • discussion and liaison with other agencies to allow us to work together to meet your child’s needs
  • onward referral to other agencies or professionals who may be able to help
  • advice from another member of the Children’s Therapy team.

You will be involved in the decision-making process about your child's care at all stages. We will always review your child's progress with you.

Links

Occupational Therapy

What do we do?

The occupational therapy team supports children with specific difficulties which affect their ability to plan and carry out the movements required for everyday tasks. These difficulties may affect their awareness of their surroundings and self-care skills, which may impact on the child performing independently. We provide support to children across the whole of Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth.

Who do we help?

Occupational therapists provide support and advice for children to from birth to 19 years. No types of difficulty or disability are excluded as we give support based on need, not diagnosis.

We support children with one or more of the following difficulties:

  • sitting and positioning
  • handwriting and using a pen / scissors
  • co-ordination affecting self-care skills (dressing, eating, toileting)
  • co-ordination affecting independence (riding a bike, social games, physical education (PE)).

How can we help?

Occupational therapists assess children to build up a picture of their skills and find out their exact abilities, difficulties and needs. This may include one or more of the following:

  • formal assessments or tests
  • informal play-based assessment
  • watching the child at nursery, school or home to see how they move
  • talking with those who know them best and speaking to other professionals involved in their care.

After your first appointment, if further support is needed, we may suggest one or more of the following.

  • advice and coaching to parents, carers and other professionals to help them apply practical ideas to support your child
  • training and advice for parents and other professionals involved in your child’s care
  • direct therapy, either individually or in groups
  • activities and programmes for home and pre-school or school
  • advice on specialist equipment that may be needed to help with seating
  • advice on specialist activities to help handwriting
  • discussion and liaison with other agencies to allow us to work together to meet your child’s needs
  • onward referral to other agencies or professionals who may be able to help
  • advice from another member of the Children’s Therapy team.

You will be involved in the decision-making process about your child's care at all stages. We will always review your child's progress with you.

Links

Physiotherapy

What do we do?

The physiotherapy team supports children with specific developmental difficulties and/or conditions which affect their physical development. These difficulties may affect their ability to move or reach their physical potential. We help develop their physical skills through play, specific exercises and activities. We also advise on how best to position and move your child to help support their progress. We provide support to children across the whole of Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth.

Who do we help?

Our physiotherapists provide support and advice for children from birth to 19 years. No types of difficulty or disability are excluded as we give support based on need, not diagnosis.

We support children with one or more of the following difficulties:

  • movement
  • posture and balance
  • reduced muscle strength and coordination
  • reduced quality of movement or restricted movements.
How do we help?

A physiotherapist will assess your child to build up a picture of their skills and find out their exact abilities, difficulties and needs. The assessment may include one or more of the following:

  • formal assessments or tests
  • informal play-based assessments
  • watching your child at nursery, school or home to see how they move
  • talking with those who know your child and speaking to other professionals involved in their care.

After your first appointment, if further support is needed, we may suggest one or more of the following:

  • advice and coaching to parents, carers and other professionals to help them apply practical ideas to support your child
  • training and advice for parents and other professionals involved in your child’s care
  • direct therapy, either individually or in groups
  • activities and programmes for home and pre-school or school
  • advice on specialist equipment that may be needed
  • discussion and liaison with other people involved in your child's care to allow us to work together to meet your child’s needs
  • onward referral to other agencies or professionals who may be able to help
  • advice from another member of the Children’s Therapy Service team.

You will be involved in the decision-making process about your child's care at all stages. We will always review your child's progress with you.

Links

Scope: About disability Charity

Bliss - for babies born premature or sick

The Dyspraxia Foundation

HemiHelp - for Children and Young People with Hemiplegia

Change 4 Life - Fun ideas to help your kids stay healthy

British Heart Foundation (BHF)

The Association of Chartered Paediatric Physiotherapists - Information for Parents

Your first appointment

Where will it be?

Your child’s first appointment may take place at one of the following places, but will be decided with you:

  • your local health centre
  • your local Children's Centre or Family Hub
  • your child’s pre-school or school
  • your home

What will happen?

Your first appointment will usually last between 30 and 60 minutes.

The therapist will discuss and write down your concerns and find out more about your child and the difficulties they are having.

The therapist will ask for some background information including birth details, health issues, and talk about your child's general progress and family history.

There will be opportunities for your child to play while you chat to the therapist. Older children may be involved in discussions.

After discussions, the therapist may need to assess your child in more detail to find out their specific needs and to see if further support is needed.

How will they assess my child?

The therapist may use one or more of the following ways to assess your child:

  • watching your child playing and looking / listening to what they can do
  • playing with your child to informally check their skills
  • undertake formal assessments or tests which will give more information about their skills.

The therapist may also need talk to your child's nursery/playgroup or school teacher to get more information about their strengths and difficulties.

What happens after the assessment?
  • The therapist will talk to you about their findings and decide if further support is needed.
  • All recommendations and findings will be clearly explained to you.
  • You will have the opportunity to ask any other questions you may have.
  • The therapist may need to talk to other professionals, for example pre-school or school staff, and explain the assessments and what they need to do to support your child. This might include what targets or activities are needed and who will carry them out.
  • At the end of the appointment your therapist will talk to you about what happens next and what the arrangements for this will be.
  • A report will be written, and with your consent, shared with other professionals eg GP and school staff so everyone is aware of what the plan is. The report will include advice and recommendations for supporting your child's development.
  • You will be actively involved in managing your child's care alongside your child’s therapist and other professionals.

Questions

How long do I have to wait for an appointment?

Once your referral has been received, a member of our clinical team will look at your referral and may contact you to gather further information and offer advice, for some referrals you would then be placed on the waiting list based on the needs identified. If you live in Portsmouth or Southampton, we will aim to see you within 18 weeks. If you live in the rest of Hampshire, we will aim to see you within 12 weeks. If an appointment date and time is not suitable, please contact the team who will help to re-arrange this for you.

Is there a waiting list for therapy?

Some clinics and settings can be busier than others at times, so waiting times may vary, your child's therapy should begin within 18 weeks. You may have to wait a little longer for some types of group therapy or more specialist support. We will discuss the number of appointments your child will need and how often they will be seen when we first see you.

Where can therapy take place?

Therapy may take place in a clinic setting or children's centre / family hub, within the pre school or school setting. This will be decided with you.

Can I be re-referred?

Children may be discharged for a number of reasons. If your child has been seen and discharged from our team before, but you have on-going concerns about them and would like them to be seen again, please contact us. A member of the admin team will take some details and a therapist will contact you to speak with you about the concerns you have. Further advice may be given and another appointment can be easily arranged if required.

What do I do if I’m not happy with the service?

We really value your feedback and views. These help us to maintain our high standards and improve our services. We strive to provide a quality service which provides you and your child with the best experience. However, at times you may not be happy with the service you receive. If you don’t feel comfortable discussing your concerns with your therapists, please contact us. Alternatively, you can contact the Trust's Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) who will support you in raising your concerns.

Will I have to pay for any treatment?

All assessments and treatment are free. You may be asked to pay a small fee for some parent training courses and specialist equipment required to help your child. This will always be discussed with you when required. We will also explain the options available to you.

What do I do if I want to speak to my child's therapist?

If you would like to contact your child’s therapist, make or cancel/rearrange an appointment, please call us. You can also use this number if you have any other questions about our service. Our admin team are in the office between 8am and 6pm to take your calls. Your therapist will get back to you as soon as possible.

Contact us

You can call us 0300 300 2019 to:

  • make or rearrange an appointment
  • cancel an appointment
  • discuss any questions or concerns you have about our service
  • make a complaint or tell us about something that we did well.

Alternatively, you can contact us via email at SNHS.Solentchildrenstherapyservice@nhs.net or write to us using the address below:

Better Care Centre, Adelaide Health Centre, William McLeod Way, Millbrook, Southampton. SO16 4XE.

Telephone advice line

Our telephone advice line is for parents and professionals who would like advice directly from a therapist. In order to use this service, the child or young person you wish to discuss must be under the age of 19 years, live in or go to school in Hampshire, Southampton, Portsmouth or be registered with a Hampshire, Southampton or Portsmouth GP. This includes children who have not currently been referred to the therapy team.

Our advice line can:

  • offer reassurance
  • give you tips on ways to help
  • give you activities to improve your child's skills
  • decide if your child needs to be referred to us for a more detailed assessment
  • suggest others who can offer you more advice, e.g. health visitor or children's centre.

If you would like to use this service, please call 0300 300 2019.

Our therapists will be available Monday to Friday to offer advice. They will get back to you within 1 working day of your call.