Occupational Therapy (OT) in Westminster Special Schools focuses on enabling a child to access their optimal learning environment by providing occupational therapy in the school setting using an individual, group or consultation approach. Occupational therapy intervention develops goals for the child based on needs identified by school and/or home. Therapy may be provided within the classroom as a whole class approach, as an individual programme within the child's timetable or outside the regular classroom routine. Embedding occupational therapy within the child's timetable is a priority for daily practice of the required functional skills to achieve the set goals and requires implementation by school staff, including the class teacher and teaching assistants. Copies of programmes will be shared with home in order to report on progress and to share strategies to increase success by providing consistent approaches to teaching new skills in the school and home setting. Parents are encouraged to approach therapy staff if they would like to discuss their child's therapy.
Aims of the OT Special Schools Service (Westminster)
- To enable children attending school to access their learning environment while remaining calm and focus.
- To promote the development of functional fine motor skills in school
- To provide the opportunity to optimise the child's independent personal activities of daily living e.g. toileting, dressing, feeding, sleeping
- To provide advice and training to school staff and parents to be able to implement OT programmes in home and school
- To maintain, reduce deterioration and optimise function through the provision of upper limb splints and specialist seating systems in collaboration with Social Services OT
- Assess, prescribe and maintain specialist equipment, seating and mobility aids used in the school setting in collaboration with Social Services OT
- Contribute to a multidisciplinary approach to therapeutic intervention e.g. Paediatricians, Speech and Language therapy, Physiotherapy, and Psychology in the special school and community services.
- Annually review Education Healthcare Plans in conjunction with the child's annual education review.
Examples of OT provision in school
- Assessment (classroom, playground, lunch hall observations) and discussion with class staff to identify a child's sensory processing differences. Trial and implementation of specific sensory experiences to be imbedded throughout the school day to assist the child with regulating their response the sensory stimuli in order to feel organised and increase their ability to focus on the task at hand.
- Assessment of baseline skills (current abilities) to set target goals (skills to develop). Implementation of a half term block of weekly fine motor group sessions to encourage emerging skill development e.g. scissors and pre-writing skills. Class staff to carry over teaching strategies after group block completed to provide regular opportunities for continued skill development.
- Assessment of a child's fussy eating habits in the school setting, discussion with parents and staff. Implementation of structures mealtime strategies and opportunities to challenge aversion and work through the steps to eating with a variety of foods. Support provided for carry over in the home setting.
- 6-12 monthly or as requested reviews of upper limb splinting and monitoring for children with physical disabilities affecting their upper body.
- Advice to school staff and parents on strategies for developing independent self-care skills e.g. toileting, dressing, sleeping, feeding. Adapted equipment prescribed where required.
- Attendance at education review, community allied health meetings and parent evenings.
Please telephone the school office on 020 7221 3454 if you would like to make an appointment to discuss your child's therapy.