At Step by Step School, the Occupational Therapy Service is committed to providing specialised, child-centred and holistic therapy to all pupils.
Each pupil receives direct 1:1 input by a qualified occupational therapist who is trained in Sensory Integration and is experienced in working with individuals with Autism. The occupational therapy input at Step By Step School supports pupils to access class-based learning and to develop their skills and well-being.
The occupational therapist works with all of the pupils at the school to develop the following skills:
- Sensory processing
- Play skills
- Gross motor
- Fine motor
- Visual motor integration
- Visual perception skills
- Motor planning and sequencing
- Handwriting and typing
- Independent living skills
- Developing interests and hobbies
Every pupil receives ongoing assessment and review of their Occupational Therapy Programme throughout the year. The programme is delivered through direct 1:1 sessions with the occupational therapist. The class staff are present throughout the sessions to implement the strategies in the classroom and each class has a sensory champion. The pupils therefore receive ongoing indirect occupational therapy throughout the day at Step By Step School.
The Occupational Therapy Programme is integrated into the pupils’ Individual Education Plans and is developed in collaboration with parents. The occupational therapist contributes to all of the pupils’ Annual Reviews of their Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP). Where pupils have additional occupational therapy provision outlined in their EHCPs, the Occupational Therapist meets the need and collaborates with the multi-professional team and parents to update and amend the EHCP where appropriate.
The Occupational Therapist works closely with the pupils, class staff, parents and other professionals to support the implementation of recommended strategies. The Occupational Therapist provides staff and parent training.
The Occupational Therapy Service works with a number of programmes which support the pupils with different areas of need. Below are links to some of these programmes:
- Zones of Regulation: A Curriculum Designed to Foster Self-Regulation and Emotional Control. http://www.zonesofregulation.com/index.html
- The Alert Programme: Self-Regulation Made Easy! https://www.alertprogram.com/
- Handwriting Without Tears. https://www.lwtears.com/hwt/details
Speech and Language Therapy
Speech and Language Therapy at Step by Step School is embedded throughout the daily experience and learning opportunities of the students attending the school. The team is currently made up of three Speech and Language Therapists, one full time and two part time.
Speech Therapy at Step by Step School is tailored to the individual student’s needs and may be delivered through a combination of group and individual sessions as well as advice and training provided to staff. Therapists are dedicated to working with parents and provide training workshops throughout the year.
Step by Step School uses a Total Communication approach, where all forms of communication are valued and supported. Pupils may learn sign language (Signalong) or use picture symbols, photographs or real objects to support their communication. Some pupils with limited speech may find communication apps on iPad/iPod or other electronic Talkers helpful in expressing their preferences.
As part of our practice we use the Attention Autism Approach (www.ginadavies.co.uk) This approach provides an intrinsically motivating framework for students to develop and secure attention and communication skills. The framework supports the building of these skills through shared good times, which inspire engagement of the students.
Lego therapy provides activities where students can take on the role of: Engineer, Supplier, or Builder. These sessions encourage group working and interaction. The approach helps develop attention and listening skills, understanding and use of language, social communication skills such as asking for help/more information, non-verbal communication, offering support and celebrating others’ success. In addition, it works on visual perceptual skills.
Interactive Story groups support pupils in listening, participating in activities and interacting with their peers. The approach builds turn taking and anticipation and fosters positive interaction with books and stories at all levels.