Multi-disciplinary teams - who's who?

Physiotherapist

Your first appointment

Where will it be?

Your child’s first appointment may take place at one of the following places, but will be decided with you:

  • your local health centre
  • your local Children's Centre or Family Hub
  • your child’s pre-school or school
  • your home

What will happen?

Your first appointment will usually last between 30 and 60 minutes.

The therapist will discuss and write down your concerns and find out more about your child and the difficulties they are having.

The therapist will ask for some background information including birth details, health issues, and talk about your child's general progress and family history.

There will be opportunities for your child to play while you chat to the therapist. Older children may be involved in discussions.

After discussions, the therapist may need to assess your child in more detail to find out their specific needs and to see if further support is needed.

How will they assess my child?

The therapist may use one or more of the following ways to assess your child:

  • watching your child playing and looking / listening to what they can do
  • playing with your child to informally check their skills
  • undertake formal assessments or tests which will give more information about their skills.

The therapist may also need talk to your child's nursery/playgroup or school teacher to get more information about their strengths and difficulties.

What happens after the assessment?
  • The therapist will talk to you about their findings and decide if further support is needed.
  • All recommendations and findings will be clearly explained to you.
  • You will have the opportunity to ask any other questions you may have.
  • The therapist may need to talk to other professionals, for example pre-school or school staff, and explain the assessments and what they need to do to support your child. This might include what targets or activities are needed and who will carry them out.
  • At the end of the appointment your therapist will talk to you about what happens next and what the arrangements for this will be.
  • A report will be written, and with your consent, shared with other professionals eg GP and school staff so everyone is aware of what the plan is. The report will include advice and recommendations for supporting your child's development.
  • You will be actively involved in managing your child's care alongside your child’s therapist and other professionals.

Occupational Therapist

What do we do?

The occupational therapy team supports children with specific difficulties which affect their ability to plan and carry out the movements required for everyday tasks. These difficulties may affect their awareness of their surroundings and self-care skills, which may impact on the child performing independently. We provide support to children across the whole of Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth.

Who do we help?

Occupational therapists provide support and advice for children to from birth to 19 years. No types of difficulty or disability are excluded as we give support based on need, not diagnosis.

We support children with one or more of the following difficulties:

  • sitting and positioning
  • handwriting and using a pen / scissors
  • co-ordination affecting self-care skills (dressing, eating, toileting)
  • co-ordination affecting independence (riding a bike, social games, physical education (PE)).

How can we help?

Occupational therapists assess children to build up a picture of their skills and find out their exact abilities, difficulties and needs. This may include one or more of the following:

  • formal assessments or tests
  • informal play-based assessment
  • watching the child at nursery, school or home to see how they move
  • talking with those who know them best and speaking to other professionals involved in their care.

After your first appointment, if further support is needed, we may suggest one or more of the following.

  • advice and coaching to parents, carers and other professionals to help them apply practical ideas to support your child
  • training and advice for parents and other professionals involved in your child’s care
  • direct therapy, either individually or in groups
  • activities and programmes for home and pre-school or school
  • advice on specialist equipment that may be needed to help with seating
  • advice on specialist activities to help handwriting
  • discussion and liaison with other agencies to allow us to work together to meet your child’s needs
  • onward referral to other agencies or professionals who may be able to help
  • advice from another member of the Children’s Therapy team.

You will be involved in the decision-making process about your child's care at all stages. We will always review your child's progress with you.

Links

Speech and language therapist

What do we do?

The speech and language therapy team supports children with speech, language and communication needs and those with feeding and swallowing difficulties. Speaking and eating uses the same muscles and speech and language therapists are specially trained to help with specific difficulties with feeding and swallowing. Some children we see may have a medical condition or diagnosis or learning difficulty, but many do not. We provide support to children across the whole of Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth.

Who do we help?

Speech and language therapists provide support and advice for children from birth to 19 years old. No types of difficulty or disability are excluded as we provide support based on need, not diagnosis.

We support children with one or more of the following difficulties:

  • unclear speech (speech sounds)
  • not understanding what is being said (understanding of spoken language)
  • vocabulary and putting words together into sentences (spoken language)
  • mixing with other children and adults (social communication skills)
  • only speaking in certain situations (selectively mute)
  • stammering or stuttering
  • hoarse or husky sounding voice
  • hearing impairment / deafness.

How do we help?

Speech and language therapists assess children to build up a picture of their skills and find out their exact abilities, difficulties and needs. This may include one or more of the following:

  • formal assessments or tests
  • informal based play assessments
  • watching the child at nursery, school or home to see how they communicate or eat / drink
  • talking with those who know them best and speaking to other professionals involved in their care.

After your first appointment, if further support is needed, we may suggest one or more of the following.

  • advice and coaching to parents, carers and other professionals to help them apply practical ideas to support your child
  • training and advice for parents and other professionals involved in your child’s care
  • direct therapy, either individually or in groups
  • activities and programmes for home and pre-school or school
  • discussion and liaison with other agencies to allow us to work together to meet your child’s needs
  • onward referral to other agencies or professionals who may be able to help
  • advice from another member of the Children’s Therapy team.

You will be involved in the decision-making process about your child's care at all stages. We will always review your child's progress with you.

Links

Psychiatrist

A doctor who works in psychiatry is called a psychiatrist . Psychiatry is a medical field concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental health conditions.

Unlike other mental health professionals, such as psychologists and counsellors, psychiatrists must be medically qualified doctors who have chosen to specialise in psychiatry. This means they can prescribe medication as well as recommend other forms of treatment.

Mental health conditions that may be diagnosed and treated by a psychiatrist include:

Psychiatrists may also provide psychological support for people with long-term, painful or terminal physical health conditions.

Dietitian

Dietitians are the only qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems at an individual and wider public-health level. Uniquely, dietitians use the most up-to-date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.

Dietitians work with healthy and sick people in a variety of settings. They often work as integral members of multi-disciplinary teams to treat complex clinical conditions such as diabetes, food allergy and intolerance, eating disorders, malnutrition, kidney failure and bowel disorders. A key role of a dietitian is to train and educate other health and social care workers. They cannot offer advice where there would personal financial benefit.

Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals to be regulated by law, and are governed by an ethical code to ensure that they always work to the highest standard. Only those registered with statutory regulator, the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) can use the title of 'dietitian'. The minimum requirement is a BSc Hons in Dietetics, or a related science degree with a postgraduate diploma or higher degree in Dietetics.

The term 'nutritionist' is not currently protected by the Health Professionals Council and so its use is less precise than 'dietitian'. Indeed, currently, anyone regardless of qualifications, experience and skills can call herself or himself a 'nutritionist'. Some nutritionists are also registered dietitians. Association for Nutrition (AfN) is the professional body for qualified nutritionists. The AfN maintains the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN), a competency-based register of individuals who are qualified and competent in nutritional science and practice.

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