Private OT or NHS OT – what is better?

Private OT Vs NHS OT – What is better for your child?

When you have a child who has special needs you are always asking yourself– ‘what can I do extra to help them more?’ I know I am not unique in my thinking and I am sure that many of you can relate to countless appointments and check-ups that are all happening to monitor development.

My daughter has seen a number of therapists- Physiotherapists, Speech and Language and Occupational Therapists.  The one she has seen the least is an Occupational Therapist – and this type of therapy might actually have been the one she needed most and from the earliest time.

Research has shown that stimulating the sensory system plays a MASSIVE part in all areas of development.  If our child’s sensory system is impacted then all areas of development are impacted. To read more on the senses check out the sensory guide.

As my daughter has visual , hearing and eye impairments at least three of the major senses are impacted which will affect her physical, social and communication development.

So armed with my current information and goal to get my daughter tolerating more things (Textures) , I have welcomed yet another therapist into the fold!

I purposely sought an Occupational Therapist who is qualified with Sensory Integration and found a lady who is trained up to level 3. Her name is Diane White a South African OT who has been practising for over 10 years.  She was recommended to me by her Physiotherapist Sam (Also South African!) from Therapy 4 Kids.

NHS V Private


NHS Private
Price FREE* £80 PHR (including travel)
Time 1 hour – a Block of 6 then 6-8 week break.(6hrs in 12 – 14 weeks)Place: Clinic


1hr – On going.Place of visit: At Home
Activities done with my daughter Use of a gym ball – bounce, roll, tilt.
Focus was on hand strength, Arm strength, practical activities – Threading, pencil grip, Midline crossing, bending and picking, throwing, drawing, mark making.Inclusion of Vestibular Swing to build of tolerance to movement processing.
More of a focus on body parts, deep pressure massage, vestibular activities – lifting and turning, body brushing, different texture play, bouncing on a trampoline.Joint compressions.

Squeezing activities


Texture play – Rough textures, fluffy, slimy,


What IS Best?

Both therapists are great with my daughter, but the down side to the NHS Physio is that we only see them for a 6 week block and then in theory we should have a 6 week break and see them again but that never happens and is more like 6- 9 weeks later we get appointments.  It is crucial that input is regular and varied and that is not the case with NHS.

So the winner for me is private therapy. However the big down side is the price – it makes my purse weep to hand over £80 for an hour of play. With my intention to try and do a session every week that amounts to £320 a month – C-R-A-Z-Y.

With the NHS physio there is also less emphasis on Sensory Integration and although elements are included I wish the sensory side was more of a major part of it. This NEEDS to be offered to parents as soon as they know their child might have difficulties – as the earlier intervention is put in place the better the outcome for the child. I am certain my daughter would have walked a lot quicker had we been incorporating sensory stimulation and not just straight physiotherapy in to her regime. Check out some of the great activities my daughter has been doing to get her stronger.

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