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
Tracy Deiton - Occupational Therapist
Tracy holds a BSc Hons degree in Occupational Therapy from Brunel University and has been working as an Occupational Therapist for over 18 years. Tracy has experience of working in adult mental health and forensic psychiatry, as well as experience of working with children who have cerebral palsy and brain injury. Tracy has been at Broomhill Bank school for 2.5 years working with students across both sites. Tracy is trained in quick shifts, a sound-based therapy program. Tracy offers yoga factory sessions, visual stress assessments and has introduced a sensory movement room for students to use as part of a sensory diet. Tracy has special interests, anxiety and mental health and sensory integration.
Ruth Fleet – Senior Occupational Therapy Assistant West .
Ruth studied at St Loyes School of Occupational Therapy and in 1992 gained a Diploma in Occupational Therapy from Exeter University. She has worked in various special needs settings for over twenty years, gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience in ASC, ADHD, complex needs and challenging behaviour.
After a career break to raise her family, Ruth returned to employment as a teaching assistant in a special school for students with complex needs. Ruth joined Broomhill Bank School as a teaching assistant in 2010. In 2013, we appointed Ruth to support the occupational therapist in school and help to develop provision as the school expanded.
In school, Ruth is the lead for sensory circuits for students on arrival at school, to help prepare them for learning. She was also the lead for delivering OT lessons in the school for many years. She is also responsible for organising OT boxes containing Movin’sit cushions, fidgety feet, writing slopes, weighted lap pads, ear defenders and hand fidgets in all the classrooms around school, for students to access, to aid learning. She has also completed a course on sensory integration run by the sensory integration network, to increase her knowledge of sensory processing and integration.
Ruth has experience delivering handwriting, gross and fine motor skills and visual perception interventions and working closely with both the speech and language, pastoral and teaching teams.
Ruth works Monday to Wednesday at the West site.
Zoe Willis - Occupational Therapy Assistant North
Zoe moved from her TA role within the school to the OT team in 2023. She brings with her a wealth of experience in supporting young people and an excellent understanding of the Occupational therapy vision in enabling young people and equipping them with skills for life. She has quickly become a valued member of the team.
Helen Lissenden – Occupational Therapy Assistant West
Helen joined Broomhill Bank and the OT the Team in 2023, instantly becoming an asset to the team. She has worked as a primary school teaching assistant for 5 years prior to this. Helen has experience supporting all students, including those with ASC and ADHD, and other needs. She is passionate about helping students develop skills to support independent learning.
How do the Occupational Therapists work at the school?
The Occupational Therapy service endeavours to work closely with parents/carers, educational staff, pastoral staff and speech and language therapists in assessing, planning and carrying out interventions to maximise the effectiveness of intervention.
The Occupational Therapy team screens all students starting at Broomhill Bank to identify needs that are over and above the core offer. The screening results are also used to inform further assessment and recommendations for sensory circuits.
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, helps 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
Self- regulation, tools and strategies
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:
- Support and integrated working within the classroom i.e. sensory strategies, handwriting practice
- Recommended strategies and activity programs for home and school i.e. self regulation, 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 Circuits and sensory diets, handwriting programs, life skills, zones of regulation, visual perceptual program, and Quickshifts Listening Program.
- 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:
The Occupational Therapist will inform parents about any additional work that is going on and/ or to report on progress.
Reports and written contributions
OT will contribute to 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.