Occupational therapy at The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Contact details

Phone: (02) 9845 3369
Fax: (02) 9845 3685
Location: Outpatients Building, level 2

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

Inpatient referrals are accepted from staff within the Hospital.

Outpatient referrals are accepted from specialists associated with the Hospital. A written referral must be received. Appointments will be arranged according to the needs of the child and current waiting lists.



  • Georgette Danyal, Head of Department 
  • Kate Knight, Acting Deputy Head of Department & Neuro-Developmental Stream Leader
  • Nadia Vigna, Physical Disabilities Stream Leader
  • Gavin Harrison, Unit Stream Leader
  • Margaret Wallen, Research Coordinator
  • Miriam Cromie & Roxanne McLeod, Registered Music Therapists