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Brought to you by Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora – Southern and WellSouth primary health network

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What we do

Working together with you and your child
E mahi tahi ana me koe me  tamaiti

The Child Development Service (CDS)/Ratoka Whakapuāwai Tamaiti (RWT) offers support by a team of allied health professionals. We provide assessment and follow-up services to tamariki with developmental or ongoing disability needs. 

We see children aged from birth to their 16th birthday, with a focus on those under 5 years old.  

We provide a Monday to Friday Service; individual team members may have varying hours.  

When one of our team first meets with you, we will talk about your whānau and what challenges your child/tamaiti is having. This helps us understand you and the goals you might have for your child so that we can work together to decide on the best way to work towards those goals. This might mean you help to deliver therapy alongside us, which gives your tamaiti the best possible start to meeting those goals. 

Depending on your child’s needs they may be seen by one or more of the team members. We also work with other professionals such as Paediatricians, Orthopaedics and Ministry of Education.  

Raising a tamaiti with developmental differences has its own unique challenges. CDS/ RWT is here to be your partner and to support you and your taimaiti on your journey. Whenever possible we work alongside you at your home, in community settings such as early childhood centres, pre-schools etc as well as at the hospital-based clinic. 

Some common conditions we work with
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder  
  • Cerebral Palsy 
  • Developmental Delay 
  • Down's syndrome 
  • Global Developmental Delay 
  • Neuromuscular disorders and syndromes with developmental delays 
What our service can offer 
  • Developmental assessment including a written report. 

  • Specialised programmes with specific goal-directed activities to improve identified areas of difficulty, e.g. 

    • Gross and fine motor skills 

    • Play skills 

    • Self-care

  • These programmes can be set for home and/or for early childhood education centres. 

  • Therapy sessions can be done at home, or early childhood centres or in the Therapy Services Department. 

  • Regular reviews to assist ongoing goal setting that are appropriate for your child. 

  • Hydrotherapy sessions in our heated pool. 

  • Language engagement for under 3year olds.  

  • Feeding and swallowing clinic. 

  • Home equipment assessment. Such as modified bathing or car seats 

  • Wheelchair and seating assessments 

  • Assessment for housing modifications. 

  • Social work support. 

  • Link you to a Needs Assessment Service or other appropriate community services. 

  • Advocacy/Interpreters as required 


A child will be discharged from therapy for one or more of the following reasons: 

  • When the child’s needs and goals have been met. 

  • When a family are putting strategies into place and there on no further goals or interventions identified. 

  • The child is no longer benefiting from therapy. 

  • The child or family do not attend appointments. 

  • The family wish to take a break from therapy interventions.