How can Occupational Therapy help students?
Occupational Therapy aims to facilitate the development of students who have difficulties affecting their daily function and independence at home and at school. The focus is to improve functional performance for self-care, leisure and educational tasks.
Meet the Team
Mrs. J Stone - Paediatric Highly Specialist Occupational Therapist
Mrs. Stone qualified in July 1991 and has over sixteen years’ experience in Paediatric Occupational Therapy. Mrs. Stone has worked in a variety of settings i.e. special schools, primary and secondary mainstream schools and a Children’s Centre. She has worked at Broomhill Bank School for over eleven years.
The School employs Mrs. Stone to work on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Mrs S Dunbar – Paediatric Specialist Occupational Therapist
Mrs. Dunbar qualified as an OT in 2001. She has worked with adults in a variety of physical and mental health settings. For the last 10 years, Mrs. Dunbar has worked in the community with children who have a wide range of disabilities, including ASC, complex needs and challenging behaviours. Mrs. Dunbar joined the school OT team in October 2019.
Mrs. Dunbar works Monday to Thursday at the school (two days based at the West site and two days at the North site).
Mrs. R Fleet – Occupational Therapy Assistant
Mrs. Fleet is employed by the school as an Occupational Therapy Teaching Assistant. She has a Diploma in Occupational Therapy from Exeter University, qualifying in 1992. She has worked in a variety of settings as an Occupational Therapist but always in Special Needs. Work has been in various community units, hospitals and a crisis intervention service. She has experience in complex needs, ASC, social communication disorders and challenging behaviours. She also has previous experience as a teaching assistant in a school for students with complex needs.
Mrs. Fleet began working at Broomhill Bank School in 2010 and works Monday to Thursday.
How do the Occupational Therapists work at the school?
The Occupational Therapy service endeavours to work closely with parents/carers, educational staff and speech and language therapists in assessing, planning and carrying out interventions to maximise the effectiveness of treatment.
Students will be assessed depending on need and following consultation with professionals involved.
The Occupational Therapist uses standardised assessments, non-standardised assessments and observations in the various school settings i.e. classroom, dining hall and Therapy lesson.
This together with information from parents and teaching staff help the therapist to identify specific areas of difficulty and the effect on the student’s function.
Main assessment/intervention areas that Occupational Therapy covers are:
Self-care skills such as using cutlery, dressing and toileting
Seating and other areas where specialist equipment could be required
Visual motor and visual perceptual skills
Fine motor skills and handwriting
Planning and organisational skills
Occupational Therapy intervention:
- Students in Year 7, 8 and 9 on the West site attend a weekly Therapy class. The class provides an opportunity for the students to participate in a range of exercises/activities, within small groups. The class follows a structured program recommended by the school’s Occupational Therapist and a Physiotherapist. The program involves activities such as Theraband exercises, gym balls, scooter board, target toss, trampette, balance beam and speed stacking. The varied activities are aimed at improving gross and fine motor skills, balance, coordination and agility. These activities are recognised as being beneficial across many parts of the curriculum for example with sitting posture in the classroom and handwriting.
- Support and integrated working within the classroom i.e. sensory strategies, handwriting practice.
- Recommended strategies and activity programs for home and school i.e. for motor skills, visual perceptual skills, dressing skills.
- Recommendation and issuing of specialist equipment in the classroom and dining hall i.e. chairs, cushions, writing slopes, pens, pencil grips, cutlery. All classrooms have an OT box containing a variety of equipment and sensory tools.
- Recommendation, issuing and training in how to use sensory tools and sensory strategies i.e. movement breaks/sensory motor circuits, proprioceptive activities, Sensit chair, Movin’sit cushions, Busylegz/Fidgety Feet (to place feet on), hand fidget items/sensory tool box, weighted sensory belts/jackets, weighted lap pads, weighted wrist cuffs, therapeutic putty hand exercises and ear defenders.
- Input of specific programs used in class, group or individual session’s i.e. Sensory Motor Circuits, handwriting programs, the Alert Program and Quickshifts Listening Program.
- Blocks of individual therapy sessions (if deemed appropriate and agreed with the Head Teacher).
- Monitoring and reviewing student progress, with therapy input adjusted as deemed appropriate.
- Liaison with parents, staff and other therapists to provide information and offer support and advice.
The Occupational Therapist also works in conjunction with the School’s Senior Leadership Team to identify training needs and to provide in-house training to staff. All new members of staff attend induction training and a sensory session with the Occupational Therapy team.
Channels of Communication:
Coffee Morning for new parents
Parents of all new students entering Broomhill Bank School are invited to attend the Therapy Team (Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists) introductory morning. During this meeting, professionals explain the provision and content of therapy within the school. Types of assessment, resources and equipment are available to view, and therapy programmes are described.
School Contact Book / Phone calls
The Occupational Therapist will use the student’s school diary/planner book or will telephone to keep parents informed about any additional work that is going on and/ or to report on progress.
Reports and written contributions
Assessed students will receive an Occupational Therapy report or a written contribution, which will be included in their annual review paperwork.
How to contact the Occupational Therapist
The Occupational Therapy Team welcomes and encourages close liaison with parents. If parents have any questions or concerns regarding their child’s occupational therapy needs and intervention, they are encouraged to contact the therapist at the school or leave a message with the school office.