Occupational Therapy

The occupational therapy team specialises in ensuring our children can access the curriculum at the optimum level in order to develop independence, interaction, cognitive processing and functional skills.  They may consider the physical needs of the child due to a specific disability or difficulty such as cerebral palsy or dyspraxia. They might also advise class teams on maximising the child’s ability to learn considering their sensory processing needs and implement programmes to support children maintain their attention levels or any difficulties a child may experience with regard to developmental and/or physical learning challenges. Some children may require specialist equipment and furniture such as seating in order to encourage good posture, increase levels of alertness and thus engage in learning for more prolonged periods. Some children develop skills linked independent mobility and independence out in the local community.

Our occupational therapists provide sensory processing programmes to support attention levels and help children to regulate their responses to sensory information.  We find innovative ways for children to access the curriculum using technology.  We provide specialist equipment and furniture such as seating to encourage good posture, increase levels of alertness and thus engage better with learning.  We also use the vocational rehab programme and the 5 P’s model to increase independence and life skills

Our therapists provide specialist programmes such as access to technology (including Eye Gaze), switching, independent mobility, specialist seating and postural management programmes. Our occupational therapy team offers advice and support for families with regard to issues in the home and work closely with community based colleagues.

Students with speech, language and communication disorders often present with other challenges such as difficulties with motor coordination (Developmental Coordination Disorder – DCD), organisational and perceptual problems. Sometimes students present with Sensory Processing Difficulties which can lead to problems with keeping themselves at the right level of alertness throughout the day. They may be overactive, particularly sensitive to certain sensory inputs (for example dislike being touched) or conversely they may be under-active and seem unaware of the sensory world around them.

We have specialist occupational therapists who are trained in sensory integration techniques provided by the nationally recognised organisation, Sensory Integration Network UK and Ireland. The therapist will carry out assessments and offer appropriate programmes to help the child to cope with the demands of the school and offer appropriate programmes to help them to cope with the demands of the school day. The therapist will advise the class team on the sensory diet the child needs in terms of everyday classroom input. Sensory experiences may be planned into lessons to enable the everyday classroom input. The environment may need to be changed to accommodate the needs of the student. For example the therapist may advise a low arousal classroom where distractions are kept to a minimum in order to help the student focus on learning.

Approaches offered include:

  • Life skills- promoting independence for daily living
  • Postural Management
  • Visual Perceptual skills
  • Fine Motor skills
  • Emotional regulation
  • Equipment provision
  • Sensory Integration and diets ( such as the Alert programme)
  • Movement groups
  • Computer access