The purpose of the Occupational Therapist at Frederick Hugh House is to help the children achieve or maintain their maximum level of independence and to develop practical life skills so that they can participate to their full potential in the classroom and at home. This occurs in partnership with the children’s parent’s, teaching, therapy and support staff to help the children overcome physical, sensory or other difficulties in order to achieve optimum function and participation in their everyday environment. Our occupational therapist is part of a multi-disciplinary team at Frederick Hugh House who works closely with students in both individual and group settings to develop sensory processing and self-regulation skills, attention and concentration, postural stability and balance, gross and fine motor skills, motor planning, bilateral coordination, self-care, visual perceptual skills, and handwriting skills.
The Occupational Therapist leads the Food Technology lesson facilitated by our speech and language therapist to promote fine motor skills, bilateral coordination and sensory development along with language and communication. Our Food Tech session is also a great way for the children to practice activities of daily living such as making a simple meal and using a knife and fork along with other kitchen utensils. The Occupational Therapist works closely with the class teacher to provide a sensory-motor approach to Literacy facilitating warm up activities which correspond to the phonics of the week while also preparing the body, particularly the upper extremities for handwriting. The children are provided with movement breaks to aid attention and facilitated to work in different positions to develop postural control.
The occupational therapist makes appropriate environmental adaptations in the school according to the children’s needs to make is accessible as possible to promote independence e.g. steps, handrails etc. The OT also provides various adaptive equipment and aids according to the children‘s individual needs to support independence in the school environment e.g. ICT equipment, seating. The occupational therapist ensures that each child has individualised seating in each classroom to meet their postural needs along with aids such as sensory cushions, sloped writing boards, adaptive scissors, writing aids and pencil grips. Students receive input from the occupational therapist throughout daily activities such as toileting and dressing along with snack/lunch times to ensure the children have appropriate individualised cutlery and aids for feeding themselves.
Our occupational therapist has completed post graduate training in Sensory Integration and specialises in this approach. At Frederick Hugh House we provide our students with opportunities to access and explore different types of sensory input throughout the school day to encourage optimum levels of attention, concentration and learning. The school is equipped with a resourceful sensory room which includes a range of suspended equipment (swings), scooter boards and ramp, balance boards, trampoline, gym & peanut balls for example for each child to access the sensory input they need facilitated by our trained therapist. The Occupational Therapist utilises ‘The Alert Program’ to facilitate a whole school approach to sensory integration and to promote self-regulation in the classroom to ensure the children are at a ‘just right’ state for learning throughout the day.
SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPY
At Frederick Hugh House our full time speech and language therapist works in partnership with all teachers, teaching assistants and therapists in order to integrate speech and language therapy into the classroom and throughout the whole school.
We know that communication is fundamental to learning, so our goal is to enable our pupils to develop and use functional communication skills in order to access learning opportunities.
Our speech and language therapist is part of a multi-disciplinary team who works closely with pupils in both individual and small group settings to develop student’s communication and attention abilities. Pupils receive input directly from our speech and language therapist throughout daily activities, including playtimes, to ensure ample opportunities to progress student’s social communication skills.
Our speech and language therapist uses a total communication approach to implement intervention programs such as PROMPT, Makaton, Cued Articulation, PECS and Hanen tailoring each programme to each child’s individual needs.
Frederick Hugh House offers a specialist Physiotherapy service administered by a Physiotherapist with extensive experience in working with children with a disability. The Physiotherapist at FHH focuses on mobility and gross motor skill development, aimed at improving the children’s functional capacity and independence levels, ranging from mobility around the classroom and community to high order gross motor tasks such as kicking, catching, throwing, jumping, hopping and skipping. In conjunction with an Occupational Therapist and a Speech and Language Therapist, the Physiotherapist at FHH forms a therapy team that employs a holistic approach to all of the pupils’ physical, emotional, intellectual and social development. This approach is aimed at development both within the school environment and outside the school environment, with prescription of home activities and exercise programmes to further extend all of the children’s learning.
Physiotherapy at Frederick Hugh House is delivered via one-to-one therapy sessions, joint therapy sessions with the other members of the therapy team, and construction and conduction of various curriculum subjects. At present the Physiotherapist at FHH is involved in the planning and implementation of Physical Education, Horse Riding, Dance and Swimming, as well as facilitating gross motor skill development during snack times, lunch times and school outings to the Park.