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Occupational therapy for children with a disability

Occupational therapy can help children with practical daily skills to encourage them to be independent.

What an occupational therapist does

An occupational therapist (OT) works directly with your child and with you as their parent or carer. They may also work with teachers or other specialists.

The OT will assess your child to see what they can do well, and what they find hard. They will then put together a treatment programme based on your child's needs.

Learn more about occupational therapy from the Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland -

Treatment programme

The treatment programme will focus on skills your child may need help with.

Programmes can include:

  • parent education workshops
  • individual sessions
  • group sessions and sessions with other healthcare workers
  • recommending special equipment if they need it - such as sensory equipment or equipment to help their movement
  • advice about adaptations to your home or at school

Skills an occupational therapist may work on with your child

The skills can be used at home, in school and in the community.

Home skills

Your child may need help with skills at home, such as:

  • dressing
  • feeding
  • bathing
  • going to the toilet
  • playing
  • kitchen skills

School skills

The skills they may need help with at school include:

  • handwriting
  • play
  • physical education (PE)
  • computers
  • posture

Community skills

Other skills they may need help with include:

  • hobbies
  • sports
  • independence
  • shopping
  • travel

Referrals to an OT in the CDNT

Your GP can refer your child to the children's disability network team (CDNT) or you can make a referral yourself.

Make a referral to the CDNT

You cannot refer to a specific health professional. The team will decide which service suits your child best.

Page last reviewed: 1 April 2023
Next review due: 1 April 2026