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Inclusion and Special Educational Needs Support

Children & Family Health Devon

The Children's Occupational Therapy service specialises in working with children and young people from birth to 18 years. We support children and young people with physical, sensory, developmental, cognitive and social needs that affect their functional abilities and impact on their daily life.

Occupational Therapists work with children and young people, parents/carer(s) and teachers to find solutions to minimise the difficulties they face and help them to get the most from life.  We support children and young people with physical, sensory, developmental, cognitive and social needs that affect their functional abilities and have an impact on their daily life. When a child or young person is referred to us we work in partnership with parents and with other healthcare and education professionals with whom the child or young person has a relationship, because we recognise that parents and carers know their child or young person best.

We’ll help to identify a child or young person’s difficulties in their daily life by assessing their needs, using play and purposeful activities to help them achieve their goals and become as independent as possible. We’ll also assess for and provide equipment and adaptions to maximise children and young people’s independence.

Making Sense of Sensory Behaviour - A Practical Approach at Home for Parents and Carers

Occupational Therapists are often asked to explore the sensory issues that can limit an individual's ability to interact with others,

their environment and perform meaningful activities. Much of the time we give advice/raise about awareness of how sensory issues can help individuals engage. Any strategies given are taken on by they young person’s main carer. This booklet has been designed so that this information can be shared allowing those who care for a young person with sensory issues to plan for their day.

ROVIC Service - Supporting children with Visual and Sensory Impairment

We can support children and young people (up to 18 years old) who have a:

  • vision impairment
  • dual sensory impairment (vision and hearing impairments)
  • multisensory impairment (vision, hearing, additional sensory processing and or disabilities)
  • deafblind impairment
  • registration status of sight impaired or severely sight impaired

If you would like to talk about your child’s needs or discuss making a referral then please contact us.

Sensory Processing Resource Pack: Early Years

For those working within an Early Years setting or Health Visitors who work with families who may have young children showing signs of sensory processing differences. This resource pack will assist with the identification of possible difficulties and support the implementation of strategies. This resource pack is the result of collaboration between Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, Leicestershire County Council, Leicester City Council, Rutland County Council and the Leicestershire Parent Carer Forum.

Speaking and Listening 

Encouraging and supporting speaking and listening is an important part of developing positive communication skills. Spending time with your children playing and talking is a great way to help them learn and develop these skills. This list of resources offers information, support and a range of fun activities and games to try at home....get creative, have fun and enjoy.



1. SpeechLink Parent Portal: SpeechLink is the program our school uses to support speech and language needs. Parent Portal has recently been launched as part of this program and is currently accessible for everyone. It provides a range of activities, information and advice to help you support your children with speech and language at home. The activities and interactive games are a great way to encourage speaking and listening skills with your children and can easily be done at home. Click here for the link to SpeechLink Parent Portal.


2. Speech and Language Therapy Advice Line (Children and Family Health Devon & NHS): 0333 321 9448

For advice about typical speech and language development, speech, language and communication difficulties, encouraging development of speech and language, implementing therapy advice etc. Currently available Monday – Friday between the approximate hours of 9am – 5pm. (There is also an option to leave a message if needed and someone should be able to get back to you.)


3. Children and Family Health Devon website: This site is regularly updated with information, support and resources for parents. It includes some useful resources including timetable visuals, now and next board, widget symbols and a social story. Click here for the link to their website.


4. Words for Life: This site offers a range of activities and ideas that will help and encourage speaking and listening skills with your children. They are easily accessible and split up into different age groups. There is something for everyone from 0 – 11 years. Lots of fun and creative ideas to do together that all offer opportunity to develop these skills. Click here for the link to their website. 


Other activity ideas to encourage speaking and listening:


1. Musical Moment: Listen to some music. Think about the following questions and then talk about it with your child or someone in your family:

  • Could you hear any instruments, what were they?
  • Was the music fast or slow?
  • How did the music make you feel?


2. Hide and Seek: hide some objects around the house and challenge your child to find one at a time

  • Once found spend time talking about the object for example ‘yes it’s a wooden spoon, we use this when we are cooking and baking’.
  • You could then give your child a clue as to where they might find the next object


3. I spy: Pictures are a great way to get children talking. Whether it be from a book, magazine or photos, whatever you have to hand will do.

  • Take it in turns to spy something from the picture and talk about it
  • Is it a person? A place? A favourite colour? ….there will be lots of things that could be spied and talked about!


4. Guess What: Collect some small objects from around the house and place them in a box or pillowcase.  

  • Sit back to back
  • Take it in turns to take an item out and describe it without telling the other person what it is!

Eg. ‘It’s a sphere shape and we throw it when playing sport games’

  • The other person must correctly guess the item from your description. Eg ball


5. Mirror Mirror: This activity will help your child understand about sound production.....and it’s great fun too!

  • Find a mirror and make sure you can see your face in it
  • Start with some facial warmups (massage your cheeks, open your mouth wide then small, stick your tongue out, pull faces.... you can really have fun with this bit!)
  • Now start to say some simple sounds or words
  • Watch carefully in the mirror..... can you explain what parts of your mouth you used to make those sounds. (eg was it your tongue, your teeth?)


6. Clap the rhythm: This is a fun and easy listening activity that all the family can enjoy

  • Take it in turns to clap a rhythm...who can clap it back correctly?
  • Start off with something simple and then progress to make it a little more challenging


7. Once Upon A Time: Who doesn’t love story telling? This activity is a great way for children to get creative, use their imagination and develop those speaking skills

  • Create a story scene using whatever you may have to hand. The possibilities are endless....Lego, teddies, drawings, pictures, puppets, boxes.
  • Use the scene to create your very own story.
  • Enjoy talking about things along the way (eg what's happening, the characters, feelings)
  • You could even put on a show for the rest of your family to enjoy