The Royal College of Occupational Therapy defines the Occupational Therapist as “providing practical support to empower people to facilitate recovery and overcome barriers preventing them from doing the activities (or occupations) that matter to them. This support increases people’s independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life.”
The Occupational Therapy team at St Joseph’s Specialist Trust work with an embedded therapy model where the occupational therapists are in class with the students. This is supported by a team of therapy assistants who reinforce and model strategies and interventions devised by the occupational therapists.
The team work closely with education, care staff and families to develop the skills of the students in a wide range of environments, so they can achieve as much as possible both independently and with help.
This involves formal and informal assessment by the Occupational Therapists on a variety of skills including fine motor skills, visual perceptual skills, co-ordination, sensory processing and self-help skills. A programme is then set up with achievable aims and objectives to enable the student to develop their skills. This may involve individual therapy, group or classroom activities.
Occupational therapists attend and contribute to EHCP, LAC, CIN and Annual Review meetings. Progress reports are sent regularly via the School, Occupational Therapy reports, CIN or Annual Review meetings. The Occupational Therapist is also available to discuss programme progress with parents.
Many of our students have sensory processing difficulties e.g. difficulty processing the sensory information they receive from their environment. The Occupational Therapy team continually assess students for these difficulties and work with school staff, care staff and home to help the students with these issues and the difficulties they can impose on the student’s everyday life.