Therapy and Wellbeing Lead

The Therapy and Wellbeing Lead is a Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist in the field of Autism Spectrum Conditions, who leads the team as a whole, and provides support at a clinical and strategic level within the school and residential services.

Occupational Therapy Team

‘Occupational therapy provides practical support to empower people to overcome the barriers preventing them from doing the occupations (activities) that matter to them. This support increases people’s independence and satisfaction in all aspects of their life (RCOT, 2019)’.

Occupational Therapists (OT) are specialists in activity and environmental analysis.  The OTs at APS work with the student, their parents, carers and teachers to design interventions that begin with an individual’s strengths and promote a “just right” challenge to enable a successful experience and foster self-confidence.

Following assessment, OT intervention may include:

  • Where appropriate, the provision of skill enhancement sessions on a 1:1 basis or in a group setting.
  • Provision of support and advice to staff for working and learning as well as daily activities e.g. dressing and eating.
  • Adaptation of the environment to improve functional performance and manage sensory needs.
  • Provision of equipment to support functional performance and meet student’s sensory profile.
  • Provision of training to staff and carers to enable them to integrate any recommendations and advice given.

 

Occupational Therapists support a variety of targets including:

  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Gross Motor Skills
  • Activities of Daily Living, such as self-care, productivity and leisure
  • Visual-Motor Integration Skills
  • Handwriting and ICT Skills
  • Seating and Posture
  • Planning and Sequencing Skills
  • Sensory Strategies and promotion of sensory awareness to support the student’s regulation throughout the school and care days.

Speech and Language Therapy Team

Acorn Park School recognises that “every individual has the right to communicate”. The inability to communicate impacts adversely on social, emotional, cognitive and language development as well as well-being.

The aim is for the Speech and Language Therapy Team is to work jointly within the Clinical Service and with the education and residential services to ensure that all pupils become autonomous, independent and functional communicators. In order for this to occur, communication strategies will need to be embedded throughout the school day in different lessons and across different environments.

The delivery of the Speech and Language service is underpinned by the 5 Good Communication Standards from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapy:

  • To promote independence choice inclusion and civil rights of the service users
  • To  make the delivery of services person-centred
  • To deliver services that are in line with local policies, resources  and priorities
  • To ensure that all types of communication are valued, respected and promoted
  • To maximises service user involvement
  • To use a collaborative approach to deliver a service across agencies, and professional groups that cover the lifespan

Total Communication Approach…

SALT PyramidAcorn Park School operates a ‘total communication approach’. This is a process that ensures that all forms of verbal and nonverbal communication are recognised, valued and actively promoted within an individual’s environment. Where appropriate, the speech and language therapist will ensure that pupils will have access to a range of Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) resources and approaches to support communication and building relationships including:

  • Makaton signing
  • Symbol based choice boards
  • Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
  • Speech generating devices such as an IPad with Proloquo2go and Grid 3 apps
  • Colourful Semantics
  • LEGO therapy
  • Attention Autism
  • Intensive Interaction

 

 

Our Therapy Team

WE BELIEVE THAT CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM BENEFIT FROM A RANGE OF THERAPEUTIC INTERVENTIONS. OUR MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAM CONSISTS OF:

  • Therapy and Wellbeing Lead
  • Speech Language and Communication Lead
  • Occupational Therapy Lead
  • Psychotherapy and Counselling Lead
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Speech and Language Therapist
  • Healthcare Assistant

In addition, we work with a range of private providers for services such as Play and Music Therapy as required to ensure that every aspect of a students Education and Health Care Plan is met.

How does the therapy team work?

pathways

 

Universal Provision

  • Support for students and staff with strategies and whole-school interventions to ensure that students have appropriate opportunities in their day to day teaching and living environments to develop their communication and interactions, occupations and activities and emotional health and well being.

At the Universal level, the input provided at Acorn Park School is:

  • Teaching, training and consultation with staff on best practice in autism led by specialist clinicians
  • Contributing to communication, activity and well-being environments
  • Supporting child-centred and autism informed thinking across the school and to equip staff through training, reflective practice and partnership working
  • Making specialist contributions to curriculum development and to support staff in delivering this into the classroom

Enhanced Provision

  • Time-limited specialist assessment which leads to an intervention programme designed by the Therapist or Clinician. These are shared and demonstrated to the staff teams in school and then delivered by the teaching staff for a recommended block of time. After this the clinician reviews this and further recommendations are given as to how these skills can be generalised to ensure that specific skills are generalised and embedded into the classroom environment.

At the Enhanced level, the input provided at Acorn Park School is:

  • Enhancing a classroom approach by running a group with school staff eg Attention Autism, Fine Motor skills, managing anxiety
  • Support with behavioural feeding needs
  • Specific programmes/groups relating to speech and language, self-esteem, life skills, gross motor, self-care, sensory regulation strategies, seating and posture.

Specialist Provision

  • Face to face contact with a Therapist or Clinician for a block of 8 weeks per term. Teaching staff would be required to observe the sessions and repeat the session either into everyday teaching situations and/or repeat the session as a one-off in class for the time allocated. Following each contact, the therapist and teaching staff would meet for a feedback session in order to integrate speech therapy aims into the classroom environment.

At the Specialist level, the input provided at Acorn Park School is:

In depth assessment of need

Individual therapy sessions to work directly with the specific need which can either be an individual or group dynamic

How young people are referred for assessment

  • Students may access intervention across the different provisions over time. Relevant clinicians within the team will discuss any changes to provision with the school and the parent/carer, and this will be managed through the EHCP planning process.
  • Any member of the school team can raise a ‘Cause for Concern’ and through this process the Clinical Service can offer advice. If required, the referral process to the Clinical Team can be facilitated in a timely way to reflect the changing needs of students who attend Acorn Park School.