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An integrated therapy programme is one of the main pillars of our provision at Undershaw.
Effective, relevant and focussed therapeutic support is imperative for many of our students’ Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs).
Therapy underpins the ability to learn in a classroom-based environment and to develop autonomy alongside interdependence.
Katy Astles, Undershaw’s Head of Therapy and an associate member of the SLT, leads her team from a range of specialisms such as:
Speech and Language Therapy
Occupational Therapy (including Sensory Integration Therapy)
A Therapy Assistant
What is Occupational Therapy?
“Occupational therapy helps you live your best life at home, at work – and everywhere else. It’s about being able to do the things you want and have to do. That could mean helping you overcome challenges learning at school, going to work, playing sport or simply doing the dishes. Everything is focused on increasing independence and wellbeing. It’s also a science-based, health and social care profession that’s regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council”. (Royal College of Occupational Therapists, 2022)
What is Sensory Integration Therapy?
“Sensory integration therapy should only be carried out by a qualified SI Practitioner: this is a qualified occupational therapist, speech and language therapist or physiotherapist who has undertaken additional, rigorous postgraduate training in SI. This training involves developing a detailed understanding of the neuroscience and evidence base underpinning sensory integration as well as developing expertise in assessing and providing intervention for people with sensory integration problems. SI therapy (or SI interventions) include structured exposure to sensory input, movement therapy, balance treatments, carefully designed and customised physical activities and accommodations (eg, changes to the environment or routine).” (Sensory Integration Education, 2022).
What is Speech and Language Therapy (SaLT)?
“Speech and language therapy provides treatment, support and care for children and adults who have difficulties with communication, or with eating, drinking and swallowing. Speech and language therapists (SaLTs) are allied health professionals. They work with parents, carers and other professionals, such as teachers, nurses, occupational therapists and doctors.” (Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, 2022)
What is Dramatherapy?
“Dramatherapy is a form of Psychotherapy. Dramatherapists are both clinicians and artists that draw on their knowledge of theatre and therapy to use as a medium for psychological therapy that may include drama, story-making, music, movement, and art; to work with any issue that has presented itself.” (British Association of Dramatherapists, 2020)
The Undershaw Way
Undershaw provides a high quality and integrative therapy service to our students, guided by a three-tiered model of therapy (see link below for further details). Within this system, therapy is integrated into the whole school curriculum, for example therapy programmes, strategies and techniques, as well as individual one to one or small group therapy sessions. The level of input depends on the students’ EHCP, the needs assessed by the therapy team and the individual pathway that each student is following. The evidence and literature from a range of sources around the world increasingly promotes a collaborative and educationally relevant approach to this model of therapy, which is empowering for all students, staff and families.
Therapy underpins the ability to learn in a classroom-based environment and to develop autonomy alongside interdependence. The multidisciplinary approach at Undershaw ensures students are equipped to develop essential life skills, make and maintain friendships, develop social understanding and the functional independence necessary for their full and independent lives beyond the school gates.
Therapists: intrinsic to school life
Therapists work with students on a one-to-one basis, in small groups, and in the classroom. Therapy is an intrinsic part of everyday school life. The Therapy team work collaboratively with the staff team, providing specialist advice and support within a range of activities and lessons.
The Therapy Team is fully integrated into the Undershaw staff team and takes part in break time and lunch time duties providing structured play and role modelling.
The communication between Home and School is vital to the development of our students and to their therapy interventions. Therapists are heavily involved in the Annual Review process for each student and the weekly Multi-Disciplinary Team planning sessions. These ensure each lesson and Form Time is tailored to meet the needs of each child.
I absolutely have my trust in the leadership team, the wonderful staff and the vision for the school going forward.Current parent
The emotional support and advice has been wonderfulYear 4 parent
I’m thrilled both my children get to reap the benefits of such a high quality educationYear 4 parent
She’s made friends and really looks forward to coming to school.Post 16 parent
Our daughter commented to me after her first day that the difference in atmosphere was enormous.Post 16 parent
Whilst supporting the students with such a fantastic provision, we have certainly felt encouraged as parents tooYear 4 parent
J has felt able to put her trust in the school from her very first day.Post 16 parent
At all times our family felt supported.Post 16 parent
E has many years ahead of him at Undershaw and I am excited about the opportunities he is going to get.Year 4 parent