Occupational Therapy and Interventions

Enabling your child to participate in self-care, play & leisure and education.

Click on the sections below for quick access to each area or scroll down the page to see all the content.


Occupational Therapists believe that participation in occupation can have a positive impact on wellbeing.  We talk about occupational performance as a way of describing participation in occupation that supports you to live a safe, healthy and happy life.

We understand that for a person to participate fully there is a connection between 'the person', 'the occupation' and 'the environment'.  Each of these elements can have a positive or negative affect on occupational performance and therefore on wellbeing.

We believe that by making changes to any of these elements we can influence participation and wellbeing.

That is how we as a profession think and talk about occupational therapy but what does this mean for children, young people, their families and other professionals that are part of the team around the child?

When we think about 'occupation' we think about the person's job so what does 'occupation' mean for a child or young person?  Occupational therapists think about 'occupation' as a wider concept which includes all the activities that you do on a daily basis which keep you safe, healthy and happy.

We talk about 3 different types of occupation

  • Self Care
  • Work
  • Play and Leisure

As children grow and develop they need to learn the skills required to look after themselves as adults.  A child's work is learning about the world, so instead of talking about work we talk about education.  Children learn best through play and play can have an impact on both safety, health and happiness.  So under the occupational therapy section the information is organised under the banners of Self Care, Education and Play & Leisure.  If your are looking for help with a particular activity of daily living then this is probably the best place to start.

Paediatric Occupational Therapy

This video explains the role of Occupational Therapy for children with additional support needs.  This will give you an idea of what to expect if your child has been referred to Occupational Therapy. 


There will be a local version available shortly however in the meantime watch this video for more information.


For a child participating in the Activities of Daily Living (ADL) means being able to take part in Self Care, Play & Leisure, and Education.


Learning to wash, dress, eat and toilet independently are important milestones in a child's development.


For More Information


A child's main occupation is play.  It is through play that children learn and practice new skills, make friends and find a sense of self.


For More Information


Participation in education is a key occupation for children and young people.


For More Information


As mentioned above we believe that there is a connection between 'the person', 'the occupation' and 'the environment' and that by making changes to any of these elements you can improve participation and wellbeing.

Occupational Therapists consider the everyday activities a child has to complete to keep them safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included.  They then consider the factors of the child/young person, the occupation and the environment which support or hinder participation and well-being.  Having identified the strengths and vulnerabilities, occupational therapists then support the child/young person, their family and/or other professionals working with the child/young person to make changes to support participation and well-being.



The key principles for each of the elements are detailed in the following pages.

  • Person
  • Occupation
  • Environment

For More Information


For Occupational Therapy Children’s Service
NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

The core PURPOSE of the Occupational Therapy Service for Children is to empower and enable children, young people and their families to live their lives as independently and easily as possible.  We collaborate with the individual, their family and the wider team around the child to identify their strengths and explore how they can overcome their challenges to achieve their full potential. 

As Occupational Therapists we are trained to use a holistic approach that enables us to analyse the physical, psychological, social, and emotional barriers that impact on the child’s ability to participate in self-care, play and education.  Keeping the child’s wishes at the centre of the decision making process we facilitate them, and those around them, to set meaningful goals to address these functional difficulties.

We enable the child to gain and maintain life skills through the use of meaningful graded activities, and empower their carers and professionals working with them to find alternative/adaptive ways of maximising the child’s involvement in daily life; thus breaking through the barriers that prevent participation. 

Referral Criteria

Referrals are received from the following groups provided referral criteria are met:

  • Parents/Guardians

  • Medical Practitioners e.g. Paediatricians, GPs

  • Allied Health Professionals e.g. Speech & Language Therapists (SLT), Dieticians, Physiotherapists

  • Nursing staff e.g. Community Children Nurses (CCNs)/Health Visitors/Looked After and Accommodated (LAAC) Nurse

  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) team & Clinical Psychologists

  • Social Workers

  • Educational Psychologists

  • Education Staff (including Private/Partnership Nurseries & Schools)

Children and young people who are eligible for referral for Occupational Therapy assessment must be:

  • Aged 0-19yrs (if still receiving secondary or special education input) and have a significant difficulty impacting on daily living activities in one or more of the following areas:

  • Accessing their environment – home, nursery/school and community

  • Supportive seating/equipment

  • Positions for daily tasks such as play and sleep

  • Development of hand function

  • Feeding

  • Dressing

  • Toileting

  • Bathing/showering

  • Organisational skills including moving from task to task; class to class; and organising personal items

  • Organisational skills for school transitions, e.g. nursery to primary; primary to secondary

  • Fine motor skills, e.g. development of hand function; use of scissors; development of pencil control; fine manipulative activities, e.g. playing with bricks, puzzles and beads

  • Visual perceptual skills, e.g. tracking across pages of work, and formation of shapes and letters

  • Handling toys
  • Learning to play new games and adapting to using new toys
  • Exploring the environment
  • Difficulties which have an impact on function e.g. balance and poor motor control affecting ability to do fine motor/manipulative tasks

  • Modulation issues which impact on concentration and attention

  • Tactile issues that impact on the acquisition and development of fine motor skills

  • Vestibular and proprioceptive difficulties which impact on co-ordination & balance

Occupational Therapy Interventions and Programmes

There are a number of interventions and programmes for children to use at home and school.