Occupational therapy at The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Contact details

Occupational therapists provide services to babies, children, adolescents and their families. A family-focused philosophy is followed to assist children and young people to participate in home, school, play and leisure activities.

All patients referred to Occupational Therapy are assessed. The whole child, family and the environment in which they live is considered in this assessment. Therapy may follow and is provided individually or in groups. Intervention may take place at the Hospital and be carried over into home/school programs.

Occupational Therapists consider the following interventions to assist children to participate in self-care, school/preschool, play and leisure activities:

  • developmental facilitation
  • sensory, perceptual and motor retraining
  • adapting or designing special equipment
  • seating and positioning
  • upper limb techniques including hand therapy and splinting
  • skills acquisition including handwriting and computer access
  • training in the use of artificial limbs
  • psycho-social groupwork
  • relaxation and anxiety management
  • information processing during everyday activities, eg. attention, planning, problem-solving
  • play therapy/medical play
  • home, preschool, school visits

The Occupational Therapists also provide:

  • education for parents, staff and community groups
  • information on equipment resources
  • information on community resources
  • liaison with preschools, schools and other children's services

The Occupational Therapy Department provides a service to inpatients and outpatients of the Hospital.

The Inpatient team sees children and young people referred from wards including Neonatal Intensive Care, Babies and Toddlers, Oncology, Neurology and Rehabilitation, Adolescent Medicine, Liver and Renal, and Orthopaedics. Children and young people from other wards are also seen by referral.

The outpatient team sees community outpatients, as well as children and young people from the Child Development Unit, Spina Bifida Clinic, Physical Disabilities Clinic, Neuromuscular Management Clinic, Limb Deficiency Clinic, Connective Tissue Dysplasia, Deafness Centre, Rett Syndrome Clinic and Rheumatology.

Occupational therapists are also based in other departments of the Hospital, including Kids Rehab and in the Department of Psychological Medicine.

Appointments and referrals

The Community Health Occupational Therapy service at CHW accepts referrals for children aged 0-8 years and living within the Parramatta and western portion of Cumberland Council LGA’s.

Referrals can be made by families, paediatricians and other health professionals. Referrals can be made by letter/written correspondence, direct telephone calls (02 9845 3369) or by downloading and completing the below referral form.

The following criteria apply to all referrals:

Inclusion criteria

  • 0 to 8 years of age.
  • Children who reside within the Parramatta and Western portion of the Cumberland Council Areas. This service is bound by a specific geographic area, corresponding to the Parramatta City Council and western portion of the Cumberland Council areas. The Division of Local Government’s website is used to identify the LGA of the child’s residence www.olg.nsw.gov.au. Council maps are also used to identify LGA boundaries.
  • Children whose intellectual ability is within the normal to borderline impaired range. Children whose intellectual functioning is within 2 standard deviations from the mean on a test of intelligence within the last 12 months. Children and adolescents with a mild, moderate to severe intellectual disability should be directed to NDIS funded services.

Exclusion criteria

  • Children over 8 years old
  • Children who reside outside the specified LGA
  • Children who are approved for NDIS funding
  • Children with moderate OR severe intellectual impairment, according to developmental or psychometric assessment
  • Children who require splinting, complex equipment (e.g. wheelchair, hoists) &/or home/school modifications where this is the only reason for referral
  • Children receiving occupational therapy services elsewhere.

Like to make a referral?

Download this form.