How to refer a child to the service

 Your child can be referred by:

  • yourself (parents or carer)
  • a teacher
  • a health visitor
  • a nursery
  • a GP, or
  • another professional.

Please ensure you read our inclusion criteria and requirements for additional information detailed below before you submit your referral.

Sometimes we may decide on receiving a referral for your child that it is not appropriate or necessary for your child to be seen by our service. A letter will be sent explaining our reasons to the referrer.

Please prepare any relevant additional information prior to completing the on line form.  

If you have any enquiries about referrals, please telephone your local base at the numbers given on the Contact us page.

Our team will go through the form and the information you have given and choose the best way to help you and your child.

You will receive a letter or a phone call where you will be offered a time and date of a video or telephone first appointment. If your child needs a joint assessment with more than one therapist this will be arranged. Sometimes we may even suggest another service that we think can help you better.

For Professionals

When a child is referred to the service, they may need to be assessed by only one therapy or a combination of two or three. Our therapy staff will triage the referral and at that point will accept or reject the referral according to the therapy criteria. They will also decide who needs to see the child at their first appointment and the details of this are included in the appointment letter. Referrals that are identified as particularly urgent are fast-tracked while all other referrals are offered an appointment as soon as possible.

All referrals are made using the Children and Young People's Therapy Service on line referral form which can be found at the bottom of this page.  

Additional information is required with most referrals see list below. If there is insufficient information on the referral form to make a clinical decision on the appropriate route to the service, the referral will be rejected with a request for more information.

Prior requirements to making a referral to OT/PT/SLT

Please check the inclusion criteria plus:

Occupational Therapy:

Children with mild to moderate motor coordination difficulties affecting school progress are required to have participated in a structured motor programme (FIZZY, Jump Ahead) at school for a minimum of 50 sessions. Referrals will be returned where this is not the case. This must be evidenced on the additional information form - see below.

Speech and Language Therapy:

Nursery school staff are asked to complete the Nursery Communication Screening Assessment Form and attach it to their referral. Please identify the areas of difficulties and the additional strategies in place and evidence the impact of these strategies for two terms prior to the referral.  

Primary school staff are asked to carry out:

  • Language for Learning Quick Observation Based Assessment:  Speech, Language and Communication,

  • Speech and/or Language Link screening assessments. Schools should discuss the speech link screen results with their Link Therapist before referral 

School staff should use these assessments to identify areas of difficulty and implement relevant Language for Learning strategies or targeted interventions (e.g. Speech Link or Language Link groups) for two terms prior to referral. These strategies or interventions should be additional to the standard good practice described in the Mainstream Core Standards

If referral is still required, repeat the assessments and upload both before and after assessments (including the child’s responses on the Speech and/or Language Link assessments) to the online referral form.  Information about the additional strategies or interventions carried out over the two terms, and the child’s response to these, is required on the referral form.  Referrers should also identify the outcome they would like from therapy, which means what they would like the child to be able to do following therapy (for example, to be able to ask for what they need at home, or explain what’s wrong when upset).


If the school do not subscribe to Speech/Language Link, please indicate this on the referral form.

Secondary Schools are asked to screen using the Secondary Communication checklist, put strategies in place and evidence the impact of these strategies on the referral form.

Paediatricians and GPs are asked to describe the concerns in as much detail as possible on the referral form and what impact this is having on the child and family. We need information on the child's understanding, expressive language, speech production and social skills.   


Please check the inclusion criteria.

Inclusion Criteria

The following criteria are taken into account when considering referrals into the therapy service:

Speech and Language Therapy

  • Where a child needs speech and language support over and above the Mainstream Core Standards or Best Practice Guidance for Early Years 
  • Where a child has received additional targeted support in school or pre-school with limited progress and further specialist advice is required. Please note a minimum of 2 terms intervention must be provided prior to a referral being made. We know that many children make progress once they start in full time education so  two terms intervention within school must take place using targeted resources such as Speech Link and Language Link. 
  •  Where the child's speech, language and communication needs are having a significant impact on learning and social participation, and these aren't explained by already identified needs (e.g. ASD/ADHD/specific learning needs).    
  • Where the child presents as a selective communicator.
  • Where the child has no functional communication.
  • Where a child has feeding difficulties and is at risk of aspiration.
  • Where a child has oro-motor based feeding difficulties. This does not include children with behaviour based feeding difficulties.  
  • Where the child has a significant hearing loss which is impacting on their speech. language and communication development.

Support for Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) should be the current priority for support. It may be that support needs to be in place for the following, before support for SLCN is appropriate:

  • Concerns focused on literacy difficulties as primary need
  • Concerns focused on SEMH
  • Main concerns relate to EAL where there are no concerns in the first language
  • Concerns focused on issues with social skills
  • SLCN responding to current interventions


Occupational Therapy

  • Motor coordination difficulties with evidence of participation in a structured motor programme, e.g. Fizzy, Clever hands.
  • Concerns re: handwriting with the exception of secondary referrals specifically related to special circumstances for exams which will not be accepted
  • Evidence of impact of physical or neurodevelopmental issues on everyday activities.


A Physiotherapist will see children whose gross motor skills are affected by a number of different causes, including

  • Neuromuscular disorders e.g. muscular dystrophies
  • Neurological conditions e.g. cerebral palsy and head injuries excepting those requiring intensive rehabilitation for newly acquired/acute neurological conditions
  • Respiratory conditions e.g. cystic fibrosis
  • Rheumatological conditions e.g. juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Congenital disorders e.g. spina bifida, limb deficiencies
  • Orthopaedic and musculoskeletal conditions with a complex presentation impacting on access to education/ participation in daily function. 
  • Musculoskeletal pain concerns in pre-school children or children with Special Educational Needs. Other children need to be referred to Paediatric MSK. It is important to have ruled out any under lying medical condition which should be discussed with the child's GP prior to referral. 
  • Intensive rehabilitation following Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR)- this is only delivered where there is an individual contract in place with the Tertiary Centre. 
  • Delayed movement development where this is significantly greater than any other area of developmental delay or where the child has an uneven profile of development.
  •  Conditions where mobility is affected e.g. oncology
  • Congenital syndromes where gross motor development is delayed significantly more than any other area of developmental delay or where the child has an uneven profile of development. Children with DCD (Developmental Co-ordination Difficulties) are assessed by Occupational Therapy
  • Children with motor difficulties excluding those solely related to obesity.  

Additional Information Required:

If you are a Health Visitor, teacher, a GP or another professional, please note which additional information is required. As a paediatrician or GP, if you are unable to provide this please state reasons on the referral providing as much information as possible. Without the appropriate additional information the referral will not be accepted which will result in a delay in the child being seen.

Health Visitor: Health Visitor referring a pre-school child, please include the Ages and Stages Questionnaire and upload within the on line referral form as part of the report/clinic letter.


If you are referring a child for Physiotherapy: Physiotherapy will not be asking for any additional information over and above the referral form but the service does need a clinic letter/report to accompany referral where one is available.

Occupational Therapy

If you are referring a child for Occupational Therapy assessment, please attach the Occupational Therapy Additional Information form (download from this link).

Speech & Language Therapy

If you are in a school and referring a child with speech, language and/or communication needs, you will need to attach the following:

Nursery: If you are in a pre-school and referring a child with speech, language, and/or communication needs, you will need to attach a completed Nursery Communication Screening Assessment Nursery Communication Screening Assessment Pictures  Speech Screen Photos Picture Set - Farm Pictures

Primary School: Quick Observation-Based Assessment Speech and Language and Communication Skills from the book Language for Learning in the Primary School. Sue Hayden and Emma Jordan available from: www.languageforlearning.co.uk (you cannot download this from this website), plus Speech Link and/or Language Link assessment results. 

Secondary School: Secondary Communication Checklist. Expressive Language Sample and Comprehension Screen 

Feeding and Drinking: If you are referring a child specifically for a feeding or drinking related concern then please attach a completed Feeding, Eating, Drinking and Swallowing Additional Information form

Hearing Impairment: If you are referring a child with a recognised hearing loss please include with the referral form: A recent report including details of their hearing loss, eg Audiogram / ABR; Also include an indication on the referral form how the hearing loss is impacting their speech, language and communication skills.

Completing the relevant forms will provide the therapist(s) with valuable information for planning the assessment.

We thank you for your time in completing these. If you have any queries relating to these forms please contact your local service for advice

Please note children and young people with a Canterbury, Faversham or Thanet GP need to refer to Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust https://ww.kentcht.nhs.uk


For referrals to Kent Portage Service please complete the Portage referral form

Children's Care Co-ordination Team  (NHSCCCT)

When you feel that a pre- child would benefit from support from more than one health professional (including key workers, Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and community Paediatrician), use this form to refer children to the NHS Children's Care Co-ordination Team (formerly known as Early Support).