Welcome to the Children's Occupational Therapy Service for North Derbyshire.


Occupational therapists work with:

  • The person: interests, motivation, physical and cognitive skills
  • The occupation: self-care, productivity, leisure
  • The environment: home, school, nursery, outdoors, social, cultural, equipment

If these three things do not work well together it can be hard for children to do the things they need to do to develop, learn and be healthy. 


It is an occupational therapist’s role to work with the child, family and relevant professionals from health, education and social care settings to maximise a child's participation, performance and enjoyment in everyday life.

These may be in areas such as:

  • Self-care: washing, dressing, using cutlery, using the toilet
  • Productivity: learning, handwriting, activities in the classroom or home
  • Leisure: play, sports, hobbies


Our team work with children who are aged 0-19 and have a physical disability resulting in a functional difficulty.

This involves particular attention to fine motor skills to perform functional tasks. The occupational therapist’s assessment skills offer a unique opportunity to combine knowledge of physical disabilities with understanding of activity analysis to perform everyday functional tasks.

We endeavour to support the family and the wider team of carers understand the child's physical difficulties and how to enable them to achieve their best. We aim to empower the child and their carers to feel equipped to build skills that promote independence.  We also aim to enhance the quality of life for children with long –term conditions.



Children on an outpatient caseload have less complex needs. Most commonly these children have fine motor difficulties such as handwriting, tying shoelaces or cutlery.

After the referral is triaged, an initial telephone call consultation may take place with parents to clarify the child's difficulties and agree what matters the most to both child and parent. In the clinic appointment, the occupational therapist will assess the child's difficulties. After the appointment, the occupational therapist will write up an individualised report with advice and recommendations which is sent to the family, referrer and school. Depending on the child's needs, they may be discharged, or referred for practical skills, 2-3 therapy sessions, or a follow-up appointment.


Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) clinic

DCD clinic is part of a diagnostic pathway for children who may meet the criteria for a diagnosis for developmental coordination disorder (gross and fine motor difficulties). This requires involvement from a medical doctor and therapist. In the therapy assessment, children receive a thorough two hour standardised assessment of both fine and gross motor skills. This assessment is undertaken by both an occupational therapist and a physiotherapist. 

Following assessment and a written report, families and school are invited to a feedback session to discuss the therapy recommendations. The report is shared with the medical referrer and the child is discharged from our therapy services.



Children on a community caseload are those with a defined physical disability or developmental delay who will require longer term input to support skill development, postural and equipment needs. Most commonly these are children with a diagnosis of cerbral palsy. While children with very complex needs will remain on a community caseload for the duration of their childhood, most children will have episodic occupational therapy input. This may include targeted programmes tailored to the child's needs. These might be implemented at home and nursery or school. Once therapy goals are met, they may be discharged but can be re-referred at a later date.   


Practical skills workshops

Some children also access practical skills group workshops which support parents with helping their child develop their skills in dressing, bottom wiping, cutlery and handwriting. Please note the workshops are currently on hold due to COVID-19. Input may be offered 1:1 on video as an alternative.


Online training

We offer regular online training workshops for parents and education staff. These include workshops on practical strategies to manage sensory processing difficulties in daily life and handwriting for schools.


Other health professionals

Many children on occupational therapy caselaods access different health services, therefore we work closely with Physiotherapy, Nursing and Speech and Language Therapy teams. We may offer joint appointments where appropriate. 

Referral Criteria

The Children’s Occupational Therapy Service accepts referrals for children and young people:

  • Aged 0-18
  • Registered with a North Derbyshire GP, and/or a North Derbyshire home address
  • For young people in the transition process.  We will discuss and agree the most appropriate arrangements for service provision.
  • With consent for referral from person with parental responsibility, or from young person where appropriate.
  • Have a functional difficulty, e.g:
    • Self-care skills such as toileting, feeding and dressing
    • Fine motor skills, particularly in relation to play, school and independence
    • Perceptual difficulties
    • In need of assessment for equipment due to their physical disability


Children may have difficulties arising from:

  • Neurological conditions
  • Neurodevelopment conditions
  • Deteriorating and life limiting conditions
  • Neuro-muscular conditions
  • Congenital disorders and syndromes
  • Developmental delay where therapeutic intervention can be effective
  • Pre-term infants at high risk of developmental conditions
  • Pre-term infants at high risk of developmental conditions
  • Learning disabilities where there are functional difficulties
  • Developmental Coordination Disorder​​​​​​.* ​​


Who can refer to Occupational Therapy?

New referrals are accepted from:

  • Consultants
  • GPs
  • Other medical staff
  • Allied Health Professionals
  • School Health

*please refer to information pack for more information regarding referral to DCD.

NB: We are currently trialling SENCO referrals for functional difficulties between September 2022- April 2023 

Referrals we cannot accept:

Referrals will not be accepted for children whose:

  • Self-care skill level is in line with their overall developmental level or their chronological age
  • Fine motor skills are in line with their overall developmental level or their chronological age
  • Difficulties arise primarily from their behaviour
  • Difficulties arise primarily from sensory issues
  • Referrals will not be accepted for the provision of a buggy or wheelchair.  All referrals for wheelchairs should be made directly to AJM Healthcare who are the providers for Derbyshire Wheelchair Services. Please visit their website for more information: https://derbyshire.wheelchair.services/ 

Referral Forms:

Please click below to see our updated referral forms and referral information:

Occupational Therapy: 

Health Professional Referrals: Supporting Information / Referral Form

Re-referrals from parents: Supporting Information / Referral form

SENCO referrals: Supporting InformationReferral form 

DCD clinic:

information pack for more information regarding referral to DCD.

DCD Referral Form

School Questionnaire 

Parent Questionnaire

***Please note DCD referrals must come from a medical doctor (e.g. paediatrician, GP or school doctor)***

Please email completed referral forms to: crhft.childrens.therapies@nhs.net

Contact Us

Children's Occupational Therapy Department

1st ​​​​Floor
The Den
Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
S44 5BL

Telephone: 01246 514 553

Email: crhft.childrens.therapies@nhs.net

For parents:


Understanding and Managing Sensory Processing Differences webinar- next webinar Friday 2nd December

For parents and carers with children who have sensory differences. The training aims to give knowledge, ideas and strategies for helping children and young people with sensory difficulties and difference participate in activities in their everyday life.

sign up link: 



For schools:

Pre-writing training- Aiming to support school staff by considering what foundation skills are important and explore activities that can be used to support development of physical pre writing skills. 

sign up link:

4th October 22 


14th March 23 



Primary Writers-- Aiming to support school staff by considering different types of handwriting difficuties that may be seen in a primary classroom and explore practical strategies that can be used to support and improve physical writing skills.

sign up link:

22nd November 22  https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspxid=slTDN7CF9UeyIge0jXdO48IPQvlkraBHmHupzxyFPC1UMlcwSk1JM08yS0EzMVRGRFZFUDVFUVU5TS4u

23rd May 23