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Physiotherapy - Community (South Sefton)

Izzy Mckee21208 - CopyWe’ve put together some useful information for parents about our services for younger people.

Please call 0151 252 5729 with any further enquiries.


Your child may be referred for a SPOT assessment if there are concerns about how their development is progressing. Health visitors, GPs or hospital consultants can refer to SPOT.

The SPOT is team is made up of therapists, who work closely together to provide assessment and treatment for children up to the age of 3 years old who may have developmental problems. They will also monitor progress and provide advice which you may find helpful.

This includes conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, or Down syndrome. Your child may not have a diagnosis, but may be delayed in one or more areas of their development.

The physiotherapists who work in SPOT are specially trained and very experienced in treating babies and toddlers. In the SPOT team there is also a Speech and Language Therapist who looks at communication and feeding and an Occupational Therapist who looks at play, hand function and equipment needs.

Our physiotherapist will assess your child’s gross motor skills i.e. ability to sit, stand, walk and move. We will work with you to provide ongoing treatment or we may monitor progress and provide advice that we think will help your child.

New SPOT clinics

These usually take place on Mondays at Netherton Health Centre. Newly referred children between the ages of 0-3 years old can be seen at this clinic

Our aim is to provide a co-ordinated informal clinic appointment, which gives each therapist the chance to meet you and your child and gain an understanding of your child’s needs.

This assessment includes the use of the Bayley Infant Neurodevelopmental Screener, which helps us to check if your child has any neurological problems or developmental delay. This involves us using a range of play based activities.

At this appointment we are happy to discuss any concerns or worries you may have regarding your child’s development, and will agree with you a clear plan to meet your child’s therapy needs for the next 6 months.
With your permission we may also refer your child onto other services such as the Community Paediatrician or Portage; we will always discuss this with you and explain why we think that this may be helpful for you and your child.
We will write a short report outlining our findings and confirming our discussion and plan; this is sent to yourselves and (with your consent) those involved in your child’s care.

SPOT review assessment

  • We may invite you and your child back to a SPOT review clinic in approximately 6 months time to check on how your child is progressing and if you are happy with the input they are getting
  • We like to work closely with the other people involved in your child’s care, e.g. health visitor or portage worker. We usually invite them to this appointment so that we can try to ensure that we are all working together to make sure that your child gets the best possible care
  • Again we will write a short report outlining your child’s progress and updated plan and send a copy to yourselves and those involved in your child’s care

What happens when my child reaches 3 years of age?

Harry Corness 301011 (29)Your child will be discharged from SPOT at 3 years of age, but will continue to receive any therapies they still require. Review appointments may still take place if needed, but these will be held in your child’s nursery.

My baby was born too early, does he/she need physiotherapy?

Many babies born early make wonderful progress in their development and do not need much, if any, physiotherapy. A few babies do have difficulties with their early development, and early physiotherapy intervention has been shown to be helpful.

What is early intervention?

  • Your baby may be referred to physiotherapy as soon as they are discharged from hospital. This is nothing to be concerned about and does not necessarily mean that you child will have problems with their gross motor skills as they grow up.
  • It may be that your baby had medical problems whilst they were in the neonatal unit, such as a bleed in their brain, or hydrocephalus. Premature babies are at more risk of such problems, and early intervention can be helpful in monitoring your baby to see if the problems they had in the neonatal unit have affected their development.
  • To begin with your baby will need to be assessed. The physiotherapist who will see your child will be specially trained and experienced in working with premature babies.
  • They may use a standardised assessment called the Alberta Infant Measurement Scale (AIMS) which checks your child’s physical development.
  • If your baby is at risk from developmental delay, early intervention physiotherapy will be started to help with their motor development. This may be something as simple as how you hold your baby or how you play with them.
  • Early intervention physiotherapy has been shown to be very helpful to premature babies. Short-term research shows that about three quarters of parents of premature babies feel that early intervention has been helpful to their families. Long-term research is still being done, but early studies show that children who have had early intervention do better in school, are held back less often in school, and have higher IQs.
  • Your physiotherapist will also be there to support you and your family, and may refer onto other services (with your permission) should they be considered necessary e.g. a speech and language therapist who can help you to help your baby’s feeding if you are having difficulties with this.
  • If your child has ongoing therapy needs from 2 or more therapists your physiotherapist will refer them to SPOT to ensure that their therapies are coordinated

Pre-school Pool Sessions

Sessions are currently being held at Everton Nursery School and Family Centre, on Wednesday mornings.

  • The aim of these sessions is to provide you and your child with practical and therapeutic dressing advice, also to provide you with the confidence to be able to take your child to a swimming pool
  • The centre also has a café and a sensory room that you can access before or after your session
  • Referral for these sessions can be made by your child’s physiotherapist or occupational therapist
  • If you would like further details please speak to your physiotherapist or occupational therapist

ssphysiojswJake’s Sensory World at Nertherton Activity Centre

We offer 2 regular group sessions at Jake’s Sensory World for pre-school children who are known to physiotherapy. These are our Baby Sensory Session and our Toddler Motor Session.

There are 2 areas within Jake’s:

  • A sensory room with a ball pool, fibre -optic lights, a floor light display, and bubble tubes
  • A soft play area where your child can move, climb and explore in a safe environment

Our families really enjoy meeting at Jake’s. It’s a great opportunity to meet your physiotherapist who will provide advice on how to make the most of the facilities for your child. (It’s so good that the Speech and Occupational Therapists have started to pop along too!)

Parents and children love getting together in a relaxing but stimulating environment. Some of our families visit Jake’s for Stay and Play sessions run by Aiming Higher or arrange to go along with friends independently. You can even book Birthday Parties there!

Starting nursery school

If your child is already known to our service, their physiotherapy care will soon be transferred from the pre-school team to therapists who work in the mainstream primary schools in South Sefton and in Rowan Park School. Don’t worry, we will talk to you about this and make sure that your family get to meet your new physio before it’s time to change.

We work closely with SAIS (Specialist Advisory and Inclusion Service) and your Occupational Therapist to set up Access Visits in the year before your child is due to start school. By doing this we hope to anticipate and iron out any obvious barriers to inclusion.

What will my school physio do?

Your physiotherapist aims to protect your child’s body shape and structures and to develop gross motor skills and mobility, working towards maximum independence and inclusion in all areas of education and leisure.

Your physiotherapist will usually visit your child in school, however it is important that you’re involved and can participate in their physio . Sometimes we will ask to meet you in school, or we can arrange to see you at home or at our treatment base, whichever is more suitable.

We’ll work with the teacher and classroom assistant on the kinds of activities which will be helpful in school. We may also provide exercises and advice for PE. We support and train school staff in postural management, treatment programmes and the use of any equipment that may be needed.

Your child may be provided with specialist equipment such as standing frames and walking frames, specialist footwear and splints.

Often the Physio will work with the OT to ensure that therapy includes all areas of life and development.

As part of the multidisciplinary team the physiotherapist may also be asked to write a report as part of statutory assessment which is then used to draw up your child’s Statement of Special Educational Needs. This is usually for when your child is attending a special school if your child has any physical problems which impact on his/her ability to access the curriculum. At other times we will attend school reviews to contribute to Individual Education Plans and provide information and advice to schools.

Moving onto secondary school

In the year before your child is due to move from primary into secondary, we get together with SAIS to set up Access Visits, Life in secondary school is very different, this is a great opportunity for you to visit the school with us and identify any problems that may need addressing. By doing this we hope to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.

The visit usually involves a walk around the school so that any changes can be put in place to meet the needs of your child before they are due to start. Some examples may include leaving class earlier to avoid crowded corridors, or having a lunch pass to avoid having to stand in a queue.

What will my physio do?

Secondary age students with cerebral palsy are offered a review of their needs at the physiotherapy department, our base at the Sterrix Centre. The session includes:

  • A physical examination e.g. range of movement and muscle strength.
  • Discussion of any concerns.
  • Agreement of goals at the end of the session, discussed with student, parents and physiotherapist
  • Written report for parents, school, doctors and any other relevant professionals e.g. occupational therapist

If treatment is needed, appointments are offered at either the physiotherapy department at the Sterrix Centre, or in school if preferred (if there are adequate facilities for treatment).

The following secondary schools have a physiotherapy room:

  • Crosby High
  • Hillside High (no overhead tracking)
  • Holy Family Catholic High
  • Litherland High
  • Maghull High 
  • St Michael’s CE High

These are equipped with:

  • Overhead tracking 
  • Physiotherapy plinth
  • Mats
  • Physiotherapy equipment required for individual students

If you have any concerns between reviews, you can always contact your physiotherapist who will arrange to see you.

Development Conditional Disorder (DCD)

Developmental Coordination Disorder is a condition when children may have difficulties with balance, motor planning, gross motor skills(e.g. hopping, jumping) and fine motor skills(e.g. dressing, writing). When a child is referred to the service, they will be given an appointment for assessment at the physiotherapy department at the Sterrix Centre.

The assessment will include:

  • A history of the child’s development e.g. did they crawl before walking, how old were they when they walked?
  • Functional abilities e.g. can they ride a bicycle, use a scooter, go up and down a slide?
  • Child’s concerns
  • Parent’s concerns
  • School concerns
  • Assessment of muscle strength
  • Assessment of balance skills e.g. balance on one leg, walking heel to toe along a line
  • Assessment of gross motor skills e.g. jumping, hopping
  • Assessment of eye hand coordination e.g. throwing and catching
  • Assessment of bilateral integration – ability to move both sides of the body at the same time e.g. march on the spot and tap knee with opposite hand

Advice will be provided if needed, and may include

  • A home exercise programme to follow
  • Liaison with leisure services e.g. aiming high team
  • A block of physiotherapy treatment
  • Review date

A written report of the assessment will be sent to the referrer, parent/carer, G.P., school and any other professionals that may find it useful e.g. Paediatrician, O.T.

Physio and occupational therapy together

When a child is referred for a physio and occupational therapy assessment, they may be assessed in a joint clinic based at Netherton Health Centre. Children who are receiving treatment from the physiotherapist and occupational therapist may also be offered a joint review based at Netherton Health Centre.

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