Children’s Community Physiotherapy

The Community Physiotherapy Department is made up of a team of physiotherapists and technical instructors who work with children and young people aged 0-19.

We are a specialist neuro-disability service and see children with specific motor delay or disability associated with conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. Our key focus is to develop a child or young person’s ability to reach their full physical potential.

We see children at Kaleidoscope Centre, in their own homes, in early year’s settings and schools, and also within community settings such as local leisure facilities and gyms. We also run a number of specialist clinics for foot, lower limb and gait problems (orthotics) and postural management, as well as supporting clinics, such as the Complex Needs Clinic, Joint Initial Assessment Clinic and Complex Coordination Clinic.

Essential information


The Children's Physiotherapy Team hold clinic appointments and group therapy sessions at Kaleidoscope, Lewisham Centre for Children and Young People, in addition to working in a variety of settings across the borough such as:

  • Homes
  • Nurseries
  • Special Needs Schools
  • Mainstream Schools
  • Hydrotherapy facilities
  • Local Gym Centres


T: 020 3049 1310/1452

What we do

Physiotherapists work with children who have a physical disability or condition that impacts on their development and daily activities.  The Children’s Community Physiotherapy service sees children and young people with motor disabilities and/or motor delay (difficulty moving).

Children’s physiotherapists can help your child:

• develop their gross motor skills (their ability to control the larger movements needed for moving)

• maximise your child’s ability to participate in motor activities, such as play, sport and leisure

• trial and use equipment to protect their posture or enhance their mobility

Activities suggested by a physiotherapist will work best if done little and often and form part of your child’s day. We will show you how to do activities/exercises regularly with your child and may ask to go into your child’s nursery/ school to advise staff working with your child how to do these activities/exercises as well.

We may suggest your child takes part in leisure/sports activities to help with their movement.

It is important that you:

  • Try the activities your physiotherapist has suggested with your child
  • Contact your physiotherapist if you have any concerns about your child’s posture or movements.
  • Be involved in the planning of your child’s physiotherapy goals.

The services provided by the Physiotherapy Team are summarised in the table below:

Under 5s

 Over 5s

Specialist Clinics & Services

Baby clinic for Erb's Palsy

Review Clinic

Orthotics Clinic for 0 - 19 years

First Steps Clinic

After School Hydrotherapy

Ability, Balance and Coordination (ABC) Clinic and Group

Little Stars Group for children diagnosed with Downs Syndrome

Gym exercise groups for 6 -12 years

Transition support for young adults moving into Adult Services

Baby Swim Group

Physiotherapist's individual caseload

Gym groups at local leisure centres from 12 years plus

Rainbow Multi-disciplinary Group for complex pre-nursery children


Seating Clinic Assessments for all ages

Toddler & Rising High Groups



Physiotherapist's individual caseload



Referral information

Who can be referred?

We will see children or young people, aged 0-19, who are resident in Lewisham or in full-time education in Lewisham who meet our criteria. We also accept referrals for children whose GP is in Lewisham.

If a child lives in Lewisham but their GP is in a different borough, please ask for a referral to the equivalent service in that borough.

Who can refer?

We accept referrals from various health practitioners. Your GP or Health Visitor can refer to us. Please make an appointment with them to discuss your concerns. If your child is known to other professionals, such as Occupational Therapy or Speech and Language Therapy, or is currently in hospital and requires ongoing physiotherapy, the health professionals there can also refer directly to us.

When to see your GP to discuss a referral

  • If you are concerned that your child has a delay in developing their motor skills or this has been highlighted on the Ages and Stages questionnaire carried out by your Health Visitor at the 7-12 month check.
  • You are concerned your child has some motor patterns which are different from their peers which are persistent and ongoing. These can include moving or using one side of their body more than the other.
  • You notice a deterioration in your child’s motor skills.

For professionals

Please use this referral leaflet for:

  • Concerns regarding motor skill development (either as the main concern or secondary to another diagnosis e.g genetic syndrome, prematurity, hypermobility)
  • Children with a neurological diagnosis (acute or long-term) which affects their movement or motor skill development.
  • Idiopathic toe-walking

Please check the following information and request a referral to the following departments if your concern does not fit the criteria mentioned above.

Children’s Physiotherapy Team at University Hospital Lewisham (UHL)

T: 020 8333 3148


  • Orthopaedic concerns e.g. torticollis, talipes, poor foot posture (in-toeing), bow-legs, knee pain, back pain.
  • Post fracture mobilisation/rehabilitation
  • Hypermobility
  • Rheumatology conditions, such as arthritis and hypermobility

Foot Health  services

T: 020 3192 6790

All other musculoskeletal foot related problems without an underlying neurological condition such as flat feet/over-pronation and in-toeing are seen by Foot Health Services at UHL.

Occupational Therapy:

T: 020 7138 1337

Concerns regarding co-ordination and fine motor skills, advice on participation at school or with self-care.

Please contact the physiotherapy department on 020 3049 1452 to discuss a referral if you are unsure which department to refer to.


Initial Assessment Clinic

  • When your child is referred to our physiotherapy department, the referral will be reviewed by a senior physiotherapist. If the referral is appropriate for our service, your child will be allocated to our waiting list. You will receive a letter to let you know the referral was received.
  • When your child is due an appointment you will be contacted to arrange an appointment in our Initial Assessment Clinic. The aim of this appointment is to gather further information and also carry out a physical assessment which involves looking at your child’s movement patterns and skills, assessing their muscle tone and joint range of movement.
  • After this appointment the physiotherapist can let you know if physiotherapy is needed and will decide which type of intervention will be most appropriate.


Joint Initial Assessment Clinic

Some children may have complex needs and may need assessments from various health professionals in our community services. If this is evident from the referral you will be contacted and permission will be requested to discuss the referral with other members of our community team.


What else do you need to know?

  • Please ensure that your child dresses appropriately for physiotherapy sessions, this means wearing clothes that are easy to move in and where possible shorts to enable us to assess them fully
  • Parking at Kaleidoscope is strictly limited to those patients with Blue Badges.  Please note that parking in the surrounding roads are mostly permit holders only, with only a few ‘pay at meter’ spaces.