The team of therapists at Seashell Trust work collaboratively alongside both education and residential care staff to provide strategies, targets and individual programmes to enable students to access learning opportunities across all settings.
Multi-disciplinary assessments infom sessions. This ensures therapy is embedded throughout the curriculum in order to support students to achieve
Input is provided into school, college, houses on site and home alongside parents, families and carers. This ensures consistency in approach across the waking hours curriculum.
Physiotherapy at Seashell Trust takes a ‘whole person’ approach to the health and wellbeing of children and young people with complex needs helping them to access education, maximise their functional independence and fulfil their full physical potential.
The Physiotherapists work collaboratively with the therapy team, teachers, learning support assistants and residential support. Some students may need regular and continuing input from a Physiotherapist while for others it may be appropriate for education and care services to deliver a physiotherapy programme under the guidance of the physiotherapist. Liaising with outside agencies including consultants, GPs, social workers and community therapists is also a significant part of their role
Physiotherapy provision includes:
Individual therapy programmes, including developmental rehabilitation, facilitation of normal movement, functional rehabilitation and strengthening and fitness training
Specialist equipment provision, including standing aids, sleep systems and specialist seating and walking aids
Group therapy sessions, including balance, coordination, motor skills and wheelchair Skills
Supporting students to access exercise and sporting opportunities
24-hour postural management in the protection of body shape
Our speech and language therapists provide assessment and direct therapy to the students as well as supporting and training staff with communication strategies and therapies that can be used in class and residence in order to facilitate each student’s individual communication need.
Therapy plans are devised for each student to enable them to reach their full potential and their individual strengths are assessed and nurtured so that their communication skills are functional and effective.
It is essential that each individual student is given opportunity to make choices in order to increase their independence and confidence in their communication.
Speech and Language Therapy provision includes:
Assessment of both communication and eating and drinking skills
Assessment for Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC)
Implementation of programmes with targets that support both expressive and receptive communication development, these are embedded within their Individual Education Plans.
Engage in on-going professional development, this includes attending external training and specialist meetings as well as keeping up to date with current evidenced based practise
Deliver training to staff across the Trust.
Provision of reports and attendance at meetings.
Eating and Drinking
Speech and language therapy provision also covers assessment and management of eating and drinking difficulties to make mealtimes safer and more enjoyable. This includes:
Mealtime observations, including Dysphagia
Provision of eating and drinking guidelines
Management of difficulties through techniques such as: changes to the environment, provision and use of specialist equipment, changing consistency of food and drink, and working alongside the physiotherapist to achieve optimum posture
Liaison with the Multi-disciplinary team to provide a holistic approach to eating and drinking
Training of staff across the Trust
A Total Communication approach is adopted and this involves Intensive Interaction, signing, objects of reference/tactile communication, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and hi-tech Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC) including iPads, switches or Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCA)
Occupational Therapists assist students to participate effectively in all areas of everyday life. They work within the multi-disciplinary team and support and train staff to facilitate student involvement in all activities that are important to the student, including:
Enjoyment, satisfaction and a sense of achievement in taking part in activities leads to learning and mastering new skills and developing positive self esteem
Physical wellbeing, for example improved stamina may be achieved through taking part in an enjoyable activity such as gardening
Activities are opportunities for shared experiences and promote communication and social interaction
For many of our students sensory processing difficulties present barriers to participation in activities, through sensory profiling, sensory assessment and by embedding sensory strategies and sensory diets into the curriculum students are able to lead more meaningful lives.
Occupational therapy provision includes:
Assessing for and providing adapted equipment to enable increased levels of independence e.g. angled spoon.
Assessing and treating sensory difficulties.
Advice and strategies to carers/staff for enabling students to manage sensory difficulties e.g. using a weighted blanket to reduce anxiety when travelling.
Providing advice and support in adapting activities for a variety of skill level e.g. using cooking as a way to explore the senses improve hand function or develop independence skills.
Providing advice and support regarding environmental adaptations to enable students to function effectively e.g. providing a low arousal setting within a classroom to assist the individual in concentrating.
Working holistically within the multi-disciplinary team to ensure students are supported in all areas to achieve maximum levels of participation and engagement.
Occupational therapy supports the activities which a person needs or wants to do in their everyday life
Self-Care - personal care, eating and drinking skills
Productivity - school and work skills, household management skills
Leisure - sports, creativity and relaxation
Occupational therapists work with individuals and groups to develop skills and abilities including:
Sensory awareness and promoting sensory processing skills
Ability to control toys and equipment through switch controls
Ability to problem solving in daily life
Activities of daily living
Assistive Technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them.
AT promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, develops communication and enhances learning experiences. Our Assistive Technologists constantly researches the latest innovative technologies and works within a Multi-Disciplinary team to implement these strategies with our students in order to promote independence and develop communication.
We have a state of the art audiology clinic onsite, with clinical audiologists who are experienced in working with children and young people with multi-sensory impairments, autism, and communication difficulties.
Our onsite audiologists have access to diagnostic technology that has been specifically modified for children and young people with complex needs, along with equipment that is widely used in NHS clinics. This allows us to carry out full hearing assessments on site and schedule regular appointment without the student going offsite. The audiologist can also routinely fit and manage hearing aids and preform follow up checks in the classroom to ensure it is working effectively.
Gayton House was one of our onsite residential homes occupied by two young men, both diagnosed with autism and additional needs including challenging behaviour, epilepsy and profound deafness. (We have transitioned into the new houses since this was written.) College and Care teams, including several 'hybrid' staff members, developed a close working relationship which helped best support the students to achieve good outcomes in areas like independence, daily living skills, emotional self-regulation and communication.
Key factors to this success are:
Multidisciplinary Team Meetings
Individual learning plans & Reviews
For more details about how each of these factors contributed to the sharing of good practice and the working relationship that developed between staff from Care and College, please see our Gayton House case study.