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Occupational therapy and physiotherapy

Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy helps children with disabilities and developmental concerns become as independent as possible. Therapists can help a child with self-care (ie dressing and feeding), school skills and play.

The therapist may recommend activities or programmes to do at home, group treatment at clinics, programmes and advice for schools or equipment, according to a child’s needs.


Physiotherapy helps children with disabilities, slow development and problems with joints, bone and muscles. Physiotherapists assess movement, mobility, posture, muscle strength and flexibility. They treat children mainly through exercise, movement and positioning through play activities.

Children are referred by doctors, hospitals and other health professionals, social workers, schools and portage. If your child needs help to improve their functional ability, motor skills development and posture improvement, the service will assess and provide practical solutions, advice and suggestions, including motor co-ordination, specialist positioning equipment and wheelchairs, orthopaedic problems in feet or hips and physical disabilities.

Child and Family Centre

79 Axe Street, Barking IG11 7LZ

020 8522 9664

Speech and language therapy

The Speech and Language Therapy Team will support your child if they have speech, language or communication needs and/or difficulties with eating or drinking (including those who stammer). It also offers training and support for parents.

Children are seen in their home, early years settings and children’s centres. When your child transfers to school the speech and language therapists will work closely with the school staff to identify targets and activities to develop your child’s language and communication skills at school.

The level of support and frequency of visits may change as your child moves through school and their needs change. Stammering and feeding clinics are run from Julia Engwell Health Centre (Dagenham) and the Child and Family Centre (Barking).

This service is for children and young people under 19 years old. Contact the Child and Family Centre to refer your child.

Speech and Language Therapy Team

The Child and Family Centre, Axe Street , Barking IG11 7LY

0300 300 1754

Audiology - hearing and balance  

The consultant-led audiology service for children provides assessment, investigation and treatment of children with temporary and permanent hearing and balance problems. It supports babies, children and young people including those with complex needs from birth to 19 years of age. Referrals can be made by GPs and other healthcare professionals.

Services include newborn hearing screening, balance testing, diagnostic testing programme, a walk-in service for ear moulds and medical management, hearing aid fitting and rehabilitation. 

NHS audiology

The Child and Family Centre

Axe Street, Barking, IG11 7LZ   

Telephone - 0300 300 1753

Email -

Health support in schools

School nursing

School nurses work in partnership with schools to create an environment that promotes healthy living, as well as responding to the needs of individual children. They also have a public health role, addressing the needs of the local school-age population as a whole.

You or your child can ask to see the school nurse, or your doctor or healthcare professional can refer your child by emailing

Health advisors

Health advisors offer children and young people health advice on personal, social, and health education (PSHE) and sex and relationship education (SRE) in primary and secondary school settings and provide regular drop-in support sessions in school settings and children’s centres. This service works closely with the teenage pregnancy unit, drug and alcohol action team, looked after children’s team, child and adolescent mental health services and the young offending team.

The service is open referral for children and young people aged 5 to 18 years. 

Health advisors are based at the following schools:


Robert Clack School

Gosfield Road , Dagenham RM8 1JU

020 8270 4200


Eastbury School

Hulse Avenue, Barking IG11 9UW

020 8507 4500


Dagenham Park School

School Road, Dagenham RM9 5QT

020 8270 4400


Eastbrook Comprehensive School

Dagenham Road, Dagenham RM10 7UR

020 8270 4567


Jo Richardson School

Gale Street, Dagenham RM9 4UN

020 8270 6281


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Health services

General health services

Health services for children

Health services for SEND children aged 0 to 5 years

If your child has SEN or is disabled, healthcare is particularly important and can improve your child’s quality of life. Local children’s centres offer a variety of health services.

Health visiting

Within 2 weeks of birth, all children should be visited by a health visitor, who can advise on and support:

  • breastfeeding
  • immunisation
  • teenage pregnancy
  • obesity
  • sexual health
  • substance misuse
  • smoking

You will be given information on local children’s centre services and you can talk to your health visitor about any concerns.

If your health visitor, doctor or pre-school setting thinks your child has a special need, they will refer them for assessment. Your child may then be referred to a specialist clinic, which would prepare a report on your child’s special needs and what needs to be done to help them. Examples include:

  • mobility or practical aids
  • support at home
  • advice to your child’s educational setting
  • referral for a statutory assessment, which could lead to an education, health and care (EHC) plan (previously a statement of SEN)

Special needs

If your health visitor, doctor or pre-school setting thinks your child has a special need, they will refer your child to the community medical paediatric service for assessment. Your child might then be referred to a specialist clinic that looks at particular special needs. The clinic will prepare a report on your child’s special needs and what the next steps should be, for example:

  • appointments with health professionals
  • mobility aids or other practical aids
  • referral for support at home
  • advice to your child’s educational setting
  • referral for an assessment which could lead to an education, health and care (EHC) plan, in the case of complex needs

Community medical paediatric services (CMPS)

The CMPS promotes children and young people’s development and is key in early detection and provision, and support for those who need it.

The child development team

The child development team assesses and provides support if your child has problems in two or more areas of development. It includes:

  • paediatricians
  • a psychologist
  • a specialist health visitor
  • a speech and language therapist
  • a nursery nurse

They work in partnership with hospitals, education, children’s services and the voluntary sector. They will talk to you and may liaise with your child’s early years setting or school to ensure their needs are met. If your child attends special groups, a specialist early years teacher may also be involved. Most clinic referrals are from family doctors and community nurses.

The special advisory clinic

The special advisory clinic assesses needs and advises on treatment if your child has problems in one area of development. It works in partnership with:

  • hospital paediatricians
  • child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
  • specialist community public health nurses
  • community nursery nurses
  • speech and language therapists
  • occupational therapists
  • physiotherapists

The neurodevelopment clinic

The neurodevelopment clinic screens high-risk premature babies born at less than 32 weeks for developmental problems at 3 months, 10 months and 2 years of age. It works in partnership with hospital paediatricians, speech and language therapists and physiotherapists. Babies identified with specific difficulties are referred to the appropriate clinic.

The social communication and play review clinic

This specialised multi-agency team comprises health, education and children’s services specialising in supporting children with autism or autism-related syndromes. Referral is via:

  • doctors
  • health visitors
  • education services
  • portage
  • children’s services
  • nurseries
  • schools
  • hospitals
  • other healthcare professionals

The Child and Family Centre

Axe Street, Barking IG11 7LZ

020 8522 9635 / 020 8522 9637

Equipment and adaptations

If your child needs equipment or adaptations at home, they will be assessed by an occupational therapist who will look at access in and around the home. They will work with you and your child to find solutions to make life easier. This might involve assessing their self-care skills such as dressing and brushing teeth and school skills such as using a pencil and scissors, as well as participation in play.

They will also assess your child’s equipment needs and can make recommendations for provision of adaptations or equipment, and support with re-housing to more suitable accommodation.

Referrals are made by doctors, health care professionals and schools to the paediatric physiotherapy and occupational therapy team. Talk to your doctor or your child’s school special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) if you would like a referral for your child.