Meet your therapist 

Roxanne Atkinson 

Roxanne holds an Honours degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Cape Town. She has a special interest in paediatrics and in neuro-developmental therapy. She has completed her Bobath-training.

Since graduating in 2006, Roxanne has worked at Milner Road Private Practice, Vista Nova School for children with Cerebral Palsy; Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Victoria Hospital Wynberg.

Her focus has been on early identification, educating and empowering caregivers and giving evidence-based intervention when necessary. 

Roxanne works mostly with families with children aged 0-7 years old who have developmental delays or trouble learning age-appropriate skills.

This can happen to babies who have had rough starts, for example:

  • multiples (twins/triplets etc)
  • babies with extreme low birth weight (below 1000g) or low birth weight (below 2500g);
  • babies born prematurely (before 37 weeks)
  • babies who have suffered a traumatic birth
  • babies with low Apgar scores (two scores out of 10 taken 1 minute and 5 minutes after birth).
  • those diagnosed with a genetic disorder (Down's Syndrome, Fragile X etc)
  • babies who require hospitalisation for poor health (failure to thrive, blood transfusions etc)
  • those with a disability (Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Down Syndrome etc...)

These babies often battle to develop and may have poor head control at their 6 week check-up. They often go on to have difficulty achieving their developmental milestones in the first year of life and may have a learning lag as they enter school. Traditionally, these babies are left unassisted until 2 years of age, and may only begin Occupational Therapy during their grade R year when their class teacher notes difficulties.

Post-graduate training:

  • Developmental Neurology by Prof Mijna Hadders-Algra
  • 8 week Basic Paediatric Neurodevelopmental Therapy Course
  • Advanced Neurodevelopmental Therapy Course: The Early Evaluation and Intervention and Treatment of Infants with Cerebral Motor Disturbances
  • Perinatal Neuroscience presented by Dr Nils Bergman
  • Griffith's Mental Developmental Scales (Infant Scales 0-2 years and Extension scales 2-8 years) by Lorna Jacklin (WITS University)
  • Advanced Professional Seating training completed at WCRC by Elna Scheffler

Why do you need an Occupational Therapy assessment?


Occupational Therapy assessment traditionally looks at three areas – the baby/child, its environment and its occupations/tasks. This can be a very short or very lengthy process depending on the purpose of the assessment, the age of the child and the child’s abilities. Typically, an older child will take a longer time to assess as they can perform more tasks in more environments such as home and school.

There are various reasons for a developmental assessment:

1. Some parents request a brief developmental assessment to confirm that their baby/child is developing normally. Others want to know what their baby/child’s areas of strength are or areas of difficulty are so that they can make informed decisions and bolster their development.

2. Your GP or Paediatrician may want an Occupational Therapist to assess if they suspect a diagnosis of Developmental Delay. There are many causes of Developmental Delay- prematurity, childhood illness, maternal ill-health, genetic disorders and/or lack of stimulation can all play a part. Sometime there is no known cause. Early diagnosis means early intervention can begin. And early intervention shows better long-term outcomes for your child and family.

3. Your child’s pre-school teacher may want your child to have an OT assessment as they may be concerned about their posture or handwriting or sensory needs. The OT will assess if there is any barrier to learning and offer guidance for you and their teacher.

4. Specialists may require a full assessment and report to work out which schooling option will be best for your child’s special needs. There are public and private special schools that provide pre-school learning to children with Developmental Delay from 3 years of age. These schools offer physical, occupational and speech therapy at the school.