Sensory Integration Occupational Therapy and Speech & language Therapy at Chiltern school
At Chiltern school we believe therapeutic support should be integral and embedded within the specialist curriculum, so that the most effective forms of intervention can be reinforced throughout the school day.
As Therapists we work together closely and are employed to work directly at the school with the teaching staff and leadership team. We also work with local NHS therapists and other services to support children and their families.
The speech and language therapy approach involves working within a shared communication framework developed from Communication and Cognition Framework (Latham and Miles 2001). The framework is developmental and looks at what the children want to communicate; the jobs they need their communication to do for them, how they meet those communication needs, and what we; communication partners, need to do to support their communication.
We use a Total Communication approach which means we support every method of communication to enable each child to find the most effective method of communication for them.
Sensory Integration Approach
The occupational therapy approach is focused on sensory integration theory this was pioneered by Jean Ayres who defined sensory integration as:
“The neurological process that organises sensation from one’s own body and from the environment and makes it possible to use the body effectively within the environment” (Ayres 1972)
Sensory integration is the foundation for us to be able to learn even the simplest things and to organise how we behave throughout our day. Sensations flow into our brain at every moment and provide us with information that we can use to help us understand what is happening around us, to know what we need to do and to plan how to do those things.
Most of our students at the school have difficulty processing and organising sensory information and performing the many complex tasks that are required for learning and functioning in their world. The Sensory Integration approach supports students in managing and developing their sensory systems to help them engage in their education and develop their essential skills so they can learn the things they need and want to do.
Levels of Therapeutic Intervention
Provision of support services in the school can be described in terms of three levels of intervention; Universal, Targeted and Specialist input. The level of input is related to assessed specific needs.
Universal All children have access to the universal provision. Key features of this include screening assessment by both therapists, therapeutic strategies recommended for use within the teaching approach, training for teachers, support to enhance the school environment to meet therapeutic needs.
Targeted This is for children who require additional support, above the universal provision, to meet their needs. Possible features of targeted therapeutic provision may include more specific assessments, some individual sessions, training for teachers tailored to the child’s needs, modelling of specific strategies by a therapist and specific advice or support for significant people in the child’s life.
Specialist –A few children require regular specialist intervention from a Therapist to support their needs. Key features of the specialist provision include regular direct therapeutic interventions with the therapist, regular liaison with families and education staff and bespoke programmes of intervention.
Targeted or Specialist support if needed, will be given for defined periods of time.
If you have any further questions about therapeutic support within the school, please do not hesitate to contact the school directly.
Rachel Sawford Registered Speech and Language Therapist (MRCSLT)
Karen Davies State Registered Occupational Therapist ( MRCOT Clasi certificate in Ayres Sensory Integration level 6 )
Gascoigne, M. (2006). Supporting Children with speech, language and communication needs within integrated children’s services. London: RCSLT.
RCOT (September 2019) “Occupational Therapy unlocking the potential of Children and young people Improving lives saving Money #valueOT
Kati Taunt, Clinical Social Worker, Trauma Therapist and ARC trainer
Kati has over 25 years experience of working in Child Mental Health and specialist trauma services, training and consulting in trauma.
Kati works at the school one day a week. She is part of the inclusion panel, thinking with the team and consults to the staff team around how to address the needs of pupils with more complex needs and particularly those with emotional health difficulties.
Kati also supports parents and staff providing consultation and support where needed. The school is working towards being fully trauma informed in it’s practice and Kati provides training in the ARC framework (Attachment, Regulation and Competency) and inputs into policy and the schools ethos.