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Tiered provision in the sensory service


The Sensory Service is tiered into 3 levels of provision to try to help us get the right support to as many families as possible. Please find more information here about our 3 provisions, and what you as a family can expect from us.

What should I expect from the sensory service?

Our service is tiered into 3 levels of provision to try to help us get the right support to as many families as possible.

Universal provision

This is the first level of provision for all families. Our virtual therapy service provides information about sensory processing and how to understand your child’s sensory needs and provides strategies that may help you and your child. (There is the option to access this information via a group workshop for families who are unable to access digital resources).

This resource is freely available to anyone, anywhere in the world, anytime.

Targeted and specialist provision

If you have specific questions about your child’s sensory needs that are not covered in the universal provision, you will have the option to contact our team to request further support. You can do this by completing the form at the bottom of our virtual therapy package.

The information you provide will help us to direct your request to the most appropriate pathway.

Targeted provision

Who is this pathway for?

Targeted provision is for parents and carers of children and young people who have significant sensory needs but are not at significant risk because of them.

What can I expect?

If your request comes to the targeted pathway, a therapist from the sensory team will contact you either via email or telephone to discuss your questions and to provide advice and signposting to resources.

If your child’s sensory differences affect their school life, you can expect us to contact your child’s school and signpost educational staff to resources about how to understand the sensory needs of children and help to make the school environment sensory accessible.

You can expect to receive a follow up appointment with the same therapist via email or telephone within 6 weeks of your initial contact, to find out how you have got on  with the advice provided. The therapist will answer any further questions you may have about your child’s sensory needs.

After this follow up appointment, your child will be discharged.

Specialist provision

Who is this pathway for?

Sometimes, despite putting in place sensory strategies at school and home, your child may need a more personalised approach. If your child is on a reduced timetable, spends significant time away from the classroom, is at risk of exclusion, or is unable to attend school at all, with sensory issues being a significant factor your request will come to the specialist pathway.

What can I expect?

You can expect a therapist from the sensory team to contact you either via email or telephone initially to discuss your child’s sensory needs.

If appropriate, the therapist will start the information gathering process. This involves gathering information about your child’s sensory needs. They will send a series of questionnaires for you, your child (where appropriate) and school to complete.

Once completed and returned to the therapist, they will work with you and your child to establish agreed goals. Then they will work with you, your child and school staff to help develop an individual plan for supporting your child’s sensory needs in school and at home to achieve the goals. This may involve one, some or all the following:

  • Face to face appointment at Ryegate
  • A home visit to observe your child’s sensory needs in the home environment and help you put a sensory plan in place at home
  • Observation of your child in the school environment
  • A meeting with you, your child and teachers or SENCo from your child’s school to support a sensory plan in school

Once a plan has been put in place for home or school or both, your child’s referral will remain open to the team for a further 3 months. During this time your child’s therapist can be contacted for further advice and support. At the end of this 3 months period, your child will be discharged.

What is my role in this process?

In all tiers of the sensory service, the sensory team will offer you ideas, advice and strategies to put in place to support your child’s sensory needs. It is unlikely that your child’s sensory needs will improve without your help, so it is important that you have the time and energy to commit to making some changes or introducing new things at home.

Be honest with the therapist. If now is not a good time for you, tell them, so that you can re-refer your child when you do have time and energy.

What is the role of my child’s school in this process?

Many children and young people with sensory needs find the school environment challenging, so we have created resources aimed at educational staff to help them understand and support your child in school.

On the targeted pathway, we will contact your child’s school (if needed) and direct them to these resources.

On the specialist pathway we will also advise your child’s school about strategies to meet your child’s specific sensory needs.

Just like you, the people supporting your child in school need to commit to making changes to support your child. With access to training and resources, and advice from the sensory team, we hope this will always be possible, but we know that sometimes, schools can struggle for time and resources. If this is the case for your child, it is worth considering delaying intervention until school are ready to offer support.

The targeted and specialist pathways of the sensory service are time limited. This allows us to keep on top of our referrals and offer a timely service to everyone. It does mean that you and school (where appropriate) need to be ready to put strategies in place when you refer your child to the team.

Is there a waiting list for this service?

There is no wait to access universal provision.

There is a waiting list for both the targeted and specialist pathways. The waiting time varies, depending on our referral rate and our staffing levels at the time.

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

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The Sensory Service is tiered into 3 levels of provision to try to help us get the right support to as many families as possible. Please find more information here about our 3 provisions, and what you as a family can expect from us.


Western Bank
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

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