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Children’s therapies

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About us


Airedale Children’s Therapies is an integrated team of Speech and Language therapists, Physiotherapists and Occupational therapists who, together with Assistant practitioners, Therapy Assistants and administration team, provide an evidence-based service across our local area.

The team work with children, young people and their families and carers to maximise their health, function, participation and independence

Please click  for more information about other Therapy services and our Allied Health Professions.

Talking Bradford Speech, Language and Communication Support for the Bradford District.
The  Talking Bradford Speech and Language Pathway has now launched to support Children and Young people across the Bradford District .

Please take a look at the videos below ( English and BSL – more languages available in 2024) and the pathway and resources.

Talking Bradford Speech and Language Pathway – Practitioners

Talking Bradford Speech and Language Pathway – Parents and carers

Who we work with

Our service pathways are for children and young people aged 0-18 (19 in some circumstances). We liaise closely with other teams for those with complex needs and with adult neurorehabilitation services and others to enable smooth transition to adult services.

For young people aged 19-25 with SEND where there is no identified adult service, assessment of needs and support is considered and delivered on a case-by-case basis if appropriate.

We work closely with our health, social care colleagues at the Trust and across Bradford and Craven including Allied Health Professionals (AHPs), paediatricians, nursing, dietetics, mobility services, audiology, health visiting and school nursing. We also have links with the private and voluntary sector and children’s hospitals in Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester.

Where we work

Our staff are based across several locations including:

  • Airedale Child Development Centre (Airedale General Hospital)
  • Keighley Health Centre
  • Bingley Canalside Healthcare Centre
  • Ilkley Coronation Hospital
  • Skipton General Hospital.

Our teams provide outpatient appointments at the above and at Settle Health Centre, make community visits to patient homes, nurseries and schools and provide a limited service to inpatients on the neonatal and children’s wards at Airedale General Hospital.

The team also carry out telephone and virtual (video) appointments, meetings and parent and professional training/intervention groups.

Services are provided Monday to Friday, mostly between 8:30am and 5pm (excluding Bank holidays).

How to contact us

We have a central, single point of contact for our Children’s Therapies administration team, service manager and team leads:

Location – Building 15, Child Development Centre, Airedale General Hospital, Steeton BD20 6TD

Telephone – 01535 292821


Your Feedback

We welcome your feedback about our services. Please click on the link or scan the QR code to complete our short form

Our teams

Speech and Language therapy (SALT)

Our SALT teams (including our therapy assistants and assistant practitioners) work in partnership with children and young people, their families and other professionals to reduce the impact of speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) using evidence-based pathways  that focus on activity, wellbeing and participation as well as the impairment.

Outcomes in these four domains are measured using Therapy Outcome Measures (TOMS).

Our Child Development Centre Team includes:

  • Our Early Identification Team for children under 3years  with the highest  clinical/ social needs including those with safeguarding needs and low engagement with services.
  • Our Dysphagia team for children and young people with eating, drinking and swallowing needs.
  • Our complex communication needs team for children with long-term significant needs, including those requiring alternative and augmentative communication (AAC)  and those with significant communication difficulties relating to: Physical difficulties (e.g. Cerebral Palsy, Cleft Palate, craniofacial abnormalities), Social communication difficulties (including Autism) and Chromosomal and genetic conditions (e.g. Down Syndrome).

Our Community Team includes:

  • Our under 6s advice service – a telephone appointment and triage service for parents with concerns about their child’s communication development.
  • Our outpatient community clinic service – for further assessment and interventions for children under 6 and assessment and intervention for children and young people age 6 –  18, primarily with Developmental Language  Disorder/Speech Disorder/Dysfluency
  • Our training programme for professionals and parent/carers.
  • Members of this team include those with specialisms/special interests including stammering, hearing impairment, selective mutism and bilingualism.

Physiotherapy (PT)

Our Paediatric Physiotherapy team (including our therapy assistant and assistant practitioner)  work in partnership with children and young people aged 0-19, their families and other  professionals to maximise movement and function using evidence-based pathways that focus on activity, wellbeing and participation as well as the impairment.

The team see children and young people with difficulties affecting movement, coordination or breathing as outpatients at the Child Development Centre, at home  and/or in nursery or educational settings, depending on individual needs. They work closely with the occupational therapy team and colleagues in education and local authority.

Our therapists have expertise in child development, how patterns of movement develop from birth onwards and a range of clinical conditions and specialist equipment required to support, including:

  • Moderate to severe developmental delay of gross motor skills
  • Chromosomal and genetic conditions e.g Down Syndrome, Cystic Fybrosis
  • Congenital conditions such as clubfoot (talipes equinovarus)
  • Neurodisabilities such as cerebral palsy (CP)
  • Neuromuscular conditions such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Myopathies
  • Coordination difficulties/Developmental coordination Disorder (DCD)
  •  Abnormal walking or movement patterns
  •  Poor balance in sitting or standing
  •  Musculoskeletal; conditions specific to childhood
  • Orthopaedic conditions specific to childhood
  •  Functional Neurological Disorder impacting on gross motor skills

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy focusses on improving the health and wellbeing of children and young people by enabling them to participate in occupations that are important to them.

The child or young person’s ability to perform these necessary activities and tasks (Occupational performance) is a consequence of a complex interaction between personal factors, the activity, and the environment.

The role of the occupational therapy team is to provide assessment and recommendations, to enable children and young people to maximise their occupational performance and participation in activities that are important to them in all aspects of daily life at home, school, and in the community.

Our  Paediatric Occupational Therapy  team  (including our therapy assistant and assistant practitioner) work in partnership with children and young people aged 0-19, their families and other  professionals  to  maximise participation and function in daily activities using evidence-based  pathways  that  focus on  activity, wellbeing and participation as well as presenting impairment.

The team see children and young people as outpatients at the Child Development Centre, at home  and/or in nursery or educational settings depending on the individual needs. They work closely with both the physiotherapy and speech and language therapy team and colleagues in education.

Our therapists have expertise in child development, how patterns of fine motor movement develop from birth onwards and  a range of clinical conditions  and the equipment required to support, such as:

  • Moderate to severe developmental delay/impairment of fine motor skills impacting on  activities of daily living including dressing, eating, ability to record or communicate  (handwriting/access keyboard/switches etc), self care (washing, bathing, using toilet)    and independence, seating/positioning, sleeping
  • Neurological  conditions e.g. Muscular dystrophy, Cerebral palsy
  •  Chromosomal and genetic conditions
  • Motor planning and Coordination difficulties/Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)
  • Perceptual motor difficulties
  • Sensory  processing difficulties/preferences with identified impact on  functional/occupational performance 
  •  Poor balance in sitting or standing
  •  Musculoskeletal conditions specific to childhood requiring postural management
  • Orthopaedic conditions specific to childhood

Neurodevelopmental Assessment team

Our Therapies team, along with Clinical psychology and Consultant Paediatrician colleagues provide the Airedale Neurodevelopmental Assessment team (NDAT) pathway for children aged 2 – 7 years.

This service provides differential diagnostic assessment for Autism, Developmental Language Disorder and other developmental conditions as part of the Bradford and Craven pathway.

The current longest waiting time for commencement of assessment is between 18 months to 2 years (from acceptance of referral to the team).

Contact the team on 01535 292821 for further information

To refer to the team please complete all three forms below and email them to

Developmental History

Autism Referral form

Autism Assessment

Meet the Children's Therapies leadership team

Portrait of Alison Rohatynskyj

Alison Rohatynskyj

Speech and Language Therapy Professional Lead and Therapy services manager

Portrait of Ann Colleran Welsh

Ann Colleran Welsh

Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Team lead

Portrait of Kate Tole

Kate Tole

CDC Speech and Language Therapy Team Lead and AAC Clinical lead

Portrait of Claire Summan

Claire Summan

CDC Speech and Language Therapy team lead Dysphagia Clinical lead

Portrait of Debby Marshall

Debby Marshall

Community Speech and Language Therapy Team lead and Autism Clinical lead

Portrait of Bridget Thompson

Bridget Thompson

Physiotherapy Clinical lead

Portrait of Kathryn Hamblett

Kathryn Hamblett

Occupational Therapy Clinical lead

Portrait of Steph Burgess

Steph Burgess

Stammering Clinical lead

Our service offer

We have uni-disciplinary therapy pathways as well as multidisciplinary pathways with other health colleagues (eg., paediatricians, dietitians, orthotics). There are well-established  multidisciplinary clinics for some of our shared  patient groups.

The speech and language and occupational therapy teams are an integral component of the  neurodevelopmental assessment (0-7 years) pathway, together with  paediatricians and psychologists providing differential diagnosis of Autism, DLD and other developmental diagnoses where appropriate).

We work in close partnership with our Health colleagues in Bradford District Care Trust and  Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust.

We also work closely with nurseries, schools and local authorities (North Yorkshire and Bradford) and are involved at all levels in supporting SEND (Special Educational Needs and disabilities).

We aim to:

  • Provide assessment and intervention in the right place, with the right people, at the right time.
  • Involve children, young people and their families in decisions about their care and their desired outcomes.
  • Be equitable and accessible across the population and geographical area served.
  • Comply with statutory frameworks (e.g. SEND, NICE).
  • Comply with HCPC and professional body guidance and frameworks.
  • Provide quality, evidence-based interventions.
  • Work in partnership with stakeholders in all organisations.
  • Be progressive, creative and innovative  –  testing out new ways of working and evaluating.

We work at three levels:

Universal level

  • Ensuring families, school staff and other agencies understand the specialist expertise of each of the therapy teams, the service offer and referral criteria/mechanisms.
  • Ensuring appropriate information and resources to support families, school staff and other  agencies is available.
  • Ensuring a traded offer is available to support settings and professionals to identify children and young people of concern and provide appropriate and nurturing environments.

Targeted level

As above plus:

  • Ensuring clinical pathways and information include reference and signpost to targeted  levels and support setting to deliver activities, know when and how to access/re-access  specialist therapy support.
  • Ensuring a traded  service is available to support and train settings to deliver targeted interventions relating to children and young people’s physical and communication development.

Specialist level

As above plus:

  • Ensuring direct and indirect therapy input is delivered as part of evidence-based pathways  according to individual needs  and desired outcomes.
  • Ensuring traded therapy services are available to settings to support interventions above core service offer (this may include educational provision identified in individual children’s Education Health and Care Plans).

Each episodic pathway may include some or all of the following:

  • Triage of referral/concern
  • Case history
  • Assessment (formal and informal)
  • Diagnosis (if appropriate)
  • Identification and agreement of desired outcomes (jointly with child, young person and family)
  • Identification and agreement of short term targets
  • Direct or indirect therapy (individual/group)
  • Training and support
  •  Liaising with other professionals/agencies
  • Signposting to other sources of support
  • Provision and/or recommendation of equipment/resources
  • Review of progress against targets and desired outcomes

An episode is closed when advice/support and recommendations are in place and progress is being made/is expected – with clear information regarding other sources of support and criteria/methods of re-access provided.

How to access our services

Current position  – over 90% of referrals  have an initial appointment within 18 weeks.

Referrals are accepted for children and young people whose home address and GP Practice are  within the Airedale NHS Trust catchment.

There is some overlap with our partners at BDCT and BTHFT and an agreement is in place over who should be referred to which organisation and communication between services takes place where appropriate.

There are some children and young people (CYP) with an Airedale GP who reside or go to school out of area. In these cases, a ‘best needs, child-centred decision is used to make the decision of whether to accept a referral. Prioritisation criteria are used for each team to ensure those CYP with the highest clinical needs are seen soonest.

Speech and Language therapy

Referrals are accepted directly from parents or from a range of health and education professionals.

Pathways differ according to age of the child and the type of difficulty (e.g. speech, stammering, receptive language).

Physiotherapy and occupational therapy

These require a GP or consultant to refer or another therapist who already knows the child/young person unless a priority re -access pathway is in place.

Multidisciplinary team

Referrals to the multidisciplinary team (including Community paediatricians) are triaged and decisions are made as to whether uni or multidisciplinary pathways will be most appropriate.

The team aim to offer all accepted new referrals an initial appointment (telephone/virtual/face-to-face) within 18 weeks, with those at highest clinical risk  seen earliest. Our responsive pathways are all based on an episodic model with  priority re-access for those children and young people with the highest clinical needs.

Referral information and criteria

Speech and Language Therapy

Under 6s advice service

For children under six years of age, we offer a telephone appointment with parents to discuss their concerns about their child’s Speech, language and communication development and to  give guidance on whether further Speech and Language Therapy assessment is indicated.

No referral form is required for this service.

Limited face to face appointments are available on request. Please telephone 01535 292821 and speak to our administration team to book an appointment.

Early Identification Service

This service is for children under three years of age with the highest clinical support needs or with safeguarding needs. Referral is via health visiting teams.

Community SALT service

Children under six years old will be seen for further assessment by this team following their telephone appointment.

For children over six years, please complete the referral form below and send to Health practitioners are able to refer electronically using SystmOne. Referrals are clinically triaged to ensure they meet the criteria or whether they are best assessed by the CDC team or needs can be met by other services.

SALT Referral form and checklist

Please look at our referral criteria  to  help you decide whether  the child / young persons needs should be met initially by other services . If so please look at the  useful links section  or go to Talking Bradford Speech and Language Pathway

Referral criteria :

CDC SALT service

Please complete our SALT referral form as above or  refer electronically by SystmOne. All referrals are clinically triaged to ensure they meet our CDC team criteria  – if not appropriate, the referral is passed on to either Community or EIT SALT teams

Eating Drinking and Swallowing concerns

If there are concerns about a child’s functional ability to eat, drink or swallow, please complete the same form, and also the below checklist:

Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy

GPs, consultants and therapists are able to refer electronically by SystmOne.

A detailed clinic letter or the MDT referral form describing the difficulties observed and the request can be sent to

All referrals are clinically triaged against the service criteria.

OT referral criteria

PT criteria

MDT Children's Therapy and Community

Multidisciplinary Team

GPs or consultants can refer using SystmOne to each of the disciplines above, as well as to Community Paediatricians if appropriate.

Please indicate in the description/request that you are making multiple referrals as we do not yet have a single electronic referral and give evidence according to the referral criteria.

Alternatively, please use the form below, clearly indicating which services you feel are required:

MDT Children's Therapy and Community

Rejected referrals

If a referral does not meet our criteria, we will endeavour to redirect you to another service and  signpost to alternative sources of support.

Leaflets and further information

These are just a few of our many advice sheets to support you before a referral or whilst waiting for an appointment.

We have lots more available that our therapists will share once a child/young person has been assessed.

Speech and Language Therapy (SALT)

Occupational Therapy


General information