I am presently employed as a Senior I Community Paediatric Occupational Therapist, within a Primary Care Trust. We have a small team of three Occupational Therapists, 2 at Senior I level and the recent, and welcome, additional of a Senior II post. The team are based within The Children’s Centre, where we share client care, office space, treatment rooms and all other resources with both the Paediatric Physiotherapy service and Paediatric Speech and Language Therapy service. We also have instant access to the two Community Paediatricians who are also based at The Children’s Centre.
Children on our caseload range in age from birth up to 18 years old, generally presenting with either a neurological, developmental or co-ordination disorder which may or may not be associated with an underlying condition. We are autonomous practitioners working in a wide range of community settings including nurseries, mainstream and special schools, and domiciliary situations. Our base of The Children’s Centre is used primarily for clinics, assessments and group therapy sessions.
Due to the nature of Community Paediatrics, we have very strong links and close working relationships with colleagues in education and social services, as well as health. Working as a member of a multi-disciplinary team enables us to provide a seamless multi agency approach to Paediatric care. From a learning and experience point of view, multi-disciplinary working is of a tremendous benefit to both therapists and students alike.
A placement within Community Paediatrics would be able to offer a student a wide variety of experiences with regard to conditions, assessment procedures, treatment techniques and involvement with other agencies. A sample of everyday activities that a student may gain experience of and be involved in is mentioned below: Developmental Co-ordination Disorder Clinics – run jointly between the O.T. and Physio service and a definite for students to gain knowledge of, and later experience implementing, a variety of Paediatric assessment procedures, both standardised and functional. Occupational Therapy Assessments – as above but looking purely at OT related activities, primarily handwriting and perceptual difficulties. Individual Treatment Sessions – generally take place within school/nursery or the child’s home. An opportunity for the student to take over the responsibility of planning and implementing all treatment sessions. Motor Therapy Group – a group to target children in mainstream education with motor co-ordination difficulties. This 13 week group is a favourite with both therapists and students. The nature of the group enables the student to plan and implement intervention techniques in a safe environment and then the opportunity to reflect and revise on them ready for subsequent weeks. Kinaesthetic Handwriting Group – an 8 week group for older children addressing handwriting difficulties. The initial warm up exercises remain the same each week and are a great way for the student to take on some immediate responsibility in the group after the initial observation week. Multi-sensory Group – run weekly within a special school with moderate to profoundly disabled children with varying cognitive levels. As a large percentage of our caseload, and therefore the student experience, consist of children in mainstream schools and nurseries, this weekly group highlights another area of O.T. and how the treatment approach needs to be dramatically altered to meet the needs of the group members. An excellent opportunity for the student to handle and understand the needs of children with complex needs. Specialist Equipment – enables the student to gain knowledge of what equipment is available, what is the purpose of each piece of equipment and the assessment procedure...