Assessments and Therapies

The Croft uses a range of therapies and assessment strategies in supporting children and helping their development, including the following:

Behavioural therapy
This therapy uses techniques to encourage desired behavious and discourage undesired behaviours. It involves the use of carefully chosen rewards and consequences to help shape a child's behaviour.

Family therapy
This is an approach that tries to understand how a child's difficulties connect with the people in his/her life. These can include parents, carers, siblings, wider family, friends and school, etc. Understanding the ways in which the relationships connect can be helpful for all those involved. Family therapy usually involves children being seen with their parents together with their brothers and sisters.

Mellow parenting
Once a week parents meet to explore and understand their own past and current difficulties and how they may impact on their parenting. The group allows parents to feel supported by other parents who share their experience, and helps to make them feel less isolated.

Music therapy
The music therapist works at The Croft for two days a week. Individual sessions, group sessions and sessions for children and their families are offered as part of this service. The music therapist uses his/her musical skills and knowledge of music to establish musical interactions with children and families. These musical interactions may shed new light on the children’s and/or the families’ strengths and difficulties. Music therapy diagnostic assessments can assist the team in assessing children or families. Short-term music therapy treatment may be able to address some of the difficulties a child or a family may be experiencing.

The dramatherapist is on the ward for 13 hours per week. It is an activity-based therapy which uses various creative methods to explore issues.  It is also a strength-based method which enables children or their parents find helpful qualities in themselves that they may have forgotten about or that have been hidden.  A weekly parent group, individual sessions for children and parents and dyadic work is offered. The parent group is a space for parents to gather together and use creative activities offered by the dramatherapist to reflect on themselves.  Parents usually find the group helpful to build their resilience and sometimes to just have fun together.  The families at the Croft are often in crisis and the relationship between parent and child compromised.  The dramatherapist uses her specialist knowledge of play to plan interventions to work on exploring and improving the connection between parent and child through various dramatherapy tools and techniques. Often children can struggle to communicate. Dramatherapy interventions provide alternative ways for the child to relate and also help the parent understand their child’s presentation.  

Story stems
In this technique,children are presented with a range of different family scenarios as the beginnings of a story, using doll and animal figures as well as language. The child is then invited to complete the stories in whatever way they like. This allows assessment of the child's expectations and perceptions of family roles, attachments and relationships, without asking the child direct questions about their family which might cause them conflict and anxiety. It also has the advantage for younger children of allowing both verbal and non-verbal means of representation.


Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS)
The Croft uses ADOS to provide accurate assessment and diagnosis of autism and pervasive development disorders in children related to their age, development level and language skills.It consists of four modules each requiring 35 to 40 minutes to administer. The child being evaluated is given just one module depending on his or her expressive language level and chronological age.


Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI)
The Autism Diagnostic Interview is a structured interview conducted with the parents of children who have been referred for the evaluation of possible autism or autism spectrum disorders. The interview measures behavior in the areas of social interaction, communication and language, and patterns of behaviour. 


Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV)WISC is an individually administered intelligence test for children between the ages of 6 and 16 that can be completed without reading or writing. The WISC test takes 65–80 minutes to administer and generates an IQ score which represents a child’s general cognitive ability.

The page was last updated on 06 October 2020 by bdale.


Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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