Careers and Work Related Learning
Occupational Therapy improves health and wellbeing through occupation. Daily life is made of many ‘occupations’ such as getting ready to go to school, dressing, preparing or having breakfast, playing, studying or working.
Occupational therapy (OT) provides practical support to enable people to overcome any barriers that prevent them from doing the occupations that matter to them. This helps to increase people's independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life. Client-Centred, occupation- centred collaboration and consultation is the best practice for OT.
How is Occupational Therapy provided in Parkwood Hall Academy?
The fundamental aim of the school occupational therapy team is to promote participation in school-based activities and everyday occupations and thus, promote achievement, health and wellbeing for all. In essence, it means making sure that all children and young people at Parkwood Hall have access to the same opportunities and services.
This includes their school work, self- help skills and leisure or free time. Occupational Therapists work collaboratively to enable participation of students in day to day occupation in self-care, e.g. using the toilet, dressing, washing, feeding; leisure e.g. playing, socialising, doing hobbies/sports, and school work including volunteering and transition to adult services and/or college, and school environment as part of occupational justice (WFOT, 2016).
The unique focus of OT, on the value of occupation, creates the opportunity for a collaborative contribution to school-based practice, and work towards inclusion, participation and wellbeing for all (WFOT, 2016)
In order to provide the best Occupational Therapy service to all students attending Parkwood Hall Co-operative Academy, in line with Occupational Therapy standards of best practice and recent recommendations for OT’s working with people with Autism and learning difficulties, a ‘Whole school’ approach, also known as Partnering for change model (P4C), is utilised. This consists on working collaboratively with the school staff and parents within 3 different tiers.
This approach integrates Occupational Therapy services throughout Parkwood Hall and its residential service. The level of Occupational Therapy input our students receive within this model depends on their level of need and not only on their EHCP provision.
It is a fluid model so the students will receive varying amounts of input throughout their time at Parkwood Hall to best meet their needs.
At Parkwood hall, the three model presented above are used to maximise the delivery of Occupational Therapy input. This is implemented as follows:
Tier 1: Whole population or universal approach (around 80% of OT time)
- Universal Design for Learning
- Collaborating with teachers and staff by providing relevant training e.g. INSET days, and consultation for whole Parkwood Hall (school and residential).
- Occupational therapists can advise on reasonable adjustments, support the school’s policies e.g. accessibility, handwriting, physical activities, lunch time, to give some examples, or ensure the playgrounds, toilets, and/or any other are within the school premises are inclusive.
Tier 2: Targeted ‘in-class’ or selective services
- Working with individuals or groups of children or young people on activities such as improving dressing or writing skills, keeping focused on a task, fine and gross motor and social skills.
- Group interventions integrated in school life and context e.g. Fine motor skills groups
Tier 3: Intensive, or specialist OT services
Individual interventions integrated in the school life and context.
Delivering direct working with the child, parents and school staff. This includes assessments, programmes, sessions and reports.
This is delivered at PHS as follows:
- The use of parent coaching approaches, for example to improve the participation of students on the autism spectrum in their chosen occupations.
- Individualised motor skills programmes.
- Therapy programmes that are tailored to the student’s interests and strengths to improve functional outcomes in areas of daily life (self-care, classroom activities etc) to access classroom leaning.
- Provision of equipment such as ear defenders for a specific child to use at school.
- Transitions to other education settings or adult services.
- Advice to adapt bathrooms and toilets for a specific student’s needs.
- Assessments of new referrals
- Advice on playground equipment to support specific students with disabilities.
- Placement Student Evaluation assessments
- Annual and joint reviews
- Student specific intervention (direct and indirect therapy)
- Equipment trials and provision (chair, writing slopes, move ‘n sit cushions etc) to access classroom based learning.
- The running programme carried out by our Instructor of Physical Activities.
Research supports inclusive education where all pupils benefit from the integrated approach. Under this model OT skills and strategies are cascaded throughout the school, and staff are able to update their skills and knowledge through ongoing training from the OT team.