Our small team of occupational therapists work with children or young people and their families to overcome barriers to accessing their home environment. For example, wheelchair access which requires ramping or bathroom adaptations to facilitate hoisted transfers. They also work closely with the local authority to identify adaptations in schools to help children with disabilities access their education.
Our service aims to support the safety and independence of children in their own home where alterations or adaptations are assessed as being required to meet essential needs.
The children’s adaptation occupational therapists (OTs) are part of East Sussex Childrens’ Integrated Therapy and Equipment Service (ESCITES). The team work closely with the other professionals who may be involved in your child’s care such as physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, paediatricians and the social work team for children with disabilities.
Who do we see?
- Children from birth up to 19 years.
- Children whose main residence is in East Sussex.
- Children who have a permanent and confirmed medical diagnosis.
How can we support you and your child?
Our main role is to assess both the child and their carers’ needs for safety and independence and to make recommendations as to what environmental adaptations are necessary and appropriate to meet those needs.
This could include:
- making access in and out of the home easier, such as ramps or lifts
- making it easier or safer to access sleeping and hygiene facilities, such as through floor lifts, bathroom adaptations and ceiling track hoisting
- making the home safe and secure for children with challenging behaviours, such as safety sensors, front door and window security, room padding
- making it easier to prepare and cook snacks and drinks (where age appropriate)
We can also help with minor adaptations such as rails, or with equipment such as bath seats, bath lifts and toilet equipment. We can also offer families advice and information.
Funding for adaptations
If the recommended work costs less than £1,000 then ESCITES may be able to fund this.
However, most adaptations cost more than £1,000, so if you are private tenant or owner occupier, once the recommendations are agreed, the OT will make a referral to the local council to help you apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant.
If you live in a housing association or council owned property, the adaptations OT will liaise with the relevant agency to request funding. Your local council will decide if the work recommended by the OT is reasonable and practical.
The council can decline approval of a grant if the works are considered to be unreasonable or impractical.
The adaptations OT can also give advice on the long-term suitability of your current home in meeting your child’s needs into the future and can support you to look at rehousing options, if required.
Children's Integrated Therapy Service
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Five-year-old Sarah has cerebral palsy and was referred to the adaptations team by her community physiotherapist.
She was being carried up and down stairs by her parents due to her mobility difficulties. The physiotherapist was concerned about the high risk of back injury to Sarah’s parents and the limited independence for Sarah.
The adaptations OT completed an assessment and recommended that with through floor lift, level access shower and ramping to the home, Sarah could be safer and more independent in and around her home and the risks to her carers would decrease.
Jamie’s mum rang the Children’s Integrated Therapy Team direct to make a referral.
Jamie needed a home assessment to be kept safe due to his challenging behaviours caused by his autism spectrum disorder. The OT worked with the family to identify their concerns, which included risks to siblings.
The OT recommended the least restrictive provision of bedroom wall padding, a video monitor and safety alarms, as well as working with the community OT to identify sensory strategies to help Jamie and his family.
Jamie is now safe and feels more secure, which has helped him and his family to manage at home.