One of the unique features about Highgate is that our therapy department is very much part of the school community. Our therapists are based on site and not only have sessions in our therapy rooms but join lessons, and also can go out in to the community and visit people at home. We can offer our pupils:
Specifically working with children and young people; Occupational therapy can help babies, infants, children and young people grow, learn, have fun, socialise and play so they can develop, thrive and reach their full potential.
Occupational therapy enables people to participate in daily life to improve their health and wellbeing. Daily life is made up of many activities (or occupations). Occupations for children or young people may include self-care (getting ready to go out, eating a meal, using the toilet), being productive (going to nursery or school, or volunteering) and leisure - playing with friends or doing hobbies.
Our Therapy lead and two Occupational Therapists work with the children either on a one to one basis or in a group setting – at school or in the child’s home. Some of the areas that they work with the children are as follow’s;
Individual independence programmes and self-care programmes, gross and fine motor exercises. However, they are also able to spend a lot of much needed time alongside the schools Therapy Assistant carrying out Sensory Play to support the “Just Right” feeling to enable the child to be able to access their individual education journey.
The sessions typically take place in a sensory-rich environment sometimes through fun activities that are subtly structured, so the child is constantly challenged but always successful. The goal is to foster appropriate responses to sensation in an active, meaningful, and fun way so that the child can behave in a more functional manner. Over time, the appropriate responses generalise to the environment beyond the therapy room including home, school, and the broader community.
This can be due to a child’s Autism’s symptoms often including difficulties with processing sensory information such as textures, sounds, smells, tastes, brightness and movement.
These difficulties can make ordinary situations feel overwhelming. As such, they can interfere with daily function and even isolate individuals and their families. Motor clumsiness, behavioural problems, anxiety, depression, school failure, and other impacts can result.
Sensory integration therapy uses play activities in ways designed to change how the brain reacts to touch, sound, sight and movement.
Play Therapy uses a variety of play and creative arts techniques (the Play Therapy Tool-Kit) to alleviate chronic, mild and moderate psychological and emotional conditions in children that are causing behavioural problems and/or are preventing children from realising their potential.
By achieving these aspects, it is the hope that they will then be more open and able to learn.
The Play Therapist works integratively using a wide range of play and creative arts techniques, mostly responding to the child's wishes. This distinguishes the Play Therapist from more specialised therapists (Art, Music, Drama etc.). The greater depth of skills and experience distinguishes the play therapist from those using therapeutic play skills.
Our Play Therapist works closely with the children on a one to one basis at school using a very much child led philosophy. Working in a safe space to process any thoughts (past and current) and trauma to develop coping strategies that will span their whole life time.
Speech and Language Therapy;
Speech and language therapy provides treatment, support and care for children and adults who have difficulties with communication, or with eating, drinking and swallowing.
A Speech and Language Therapist works closely with our children to support them with areas of social, functional and emotional communication as well as language development so that the child is able to access the curriculum individualised to their needs.
Our SaLT also supports the staff with regular training and is currently making the school a very visual resourced place to be – so what this space!
Our Assistant Therapist is very skilled in supporting all therapy staff (OT, SALT, RMN) with the children’s individual therapy plans, she works with all of the children building a supportive therapeutic relationship. Our Assistant Therapist is a link between the classroom and therapy linking learning with therapeutic activities, and also spends a lot of her time using LEGO as a therapeutic tool.
Mental Health Practitioner;
A mental health professional is a health care practitioner or community services provider who offers services for the purpose of improving an individual's mental health or to treat mental illness.
Our Mental Health Practitioner works closely with all of the therapy team in relation to supporting them to provide emotional support to the children at the school. She works with the children both on a one to one basis and in group basis to support not only their mental health but to promote their self-confidence and self-esteem and give them a tool box of strategies not only for now but for the future.
All our therapists work in close collaboration with our NHS and local authority colleagues to provide joined up working centered around the child. The Therapists as a team meet weekly to discuss pathways, goals and outcomes enabling the child’s therapy input to be changed or increased as needed, whilst we work both together as a team and individually to support the child to be in a place both (environmentally and emotionally) as stated previously which will mean they are more able to access learning and go on to reach their own individual potential.
Occupational Therapy www.rcot.co.uk
Speech and Language Therapy www.rcslt.co.uk
Play Therapy www.bapt.info
Mental Health Nursing www.rcn.org.uk