We are very lucky to have our own Hydrotherapy pool in school. Hydrotherapy is offered to pupils with significantly restricted movement, pupils with PMLD (Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities) and ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder). It allows pupils to move freely and have therapy in the water.
Hydrotherapy is aimed at pupils with limited mobility. They will benefit from a range of therapeutic methods that take advantage of the physical properties of water, such as temperature and pressure. Many pupils will complete their physiotherapy exercises in the hydrotherapy pool.
Speech and Language Therapy
Welcombe Hills School is committed to working in partnership with pupils, parents and other professionals to develop every individual’s communication skills, to respect each pupil’s preferred means of communication and to provide a communication friendly environment.
What is Total Communication?
Total communication is about communicating in any way you can;
It’s not just about talking, it’s about:
- Pointing to pictures.
- Symbols, photographs or objects of reference.
- Facial expression, eye pointing, gestures and body movement.
- Switches and Voice Operated Communication Aids (VOCAs)
- Sensory cues i.e. music and aromas
What Approaches Do We Use?
Our approaches include:
- Social Communication Skills Groups
- Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
- Intensive Interaction
- Makaton Signing
- Body Signing
- Communication books and Talking Mats
- Social Stories
- Low and High Tech communication systems.
We strive to provide a communication friendly environment by using different approaches such as a pictorial Menu Board and lots of visual and auditory cues placed around the building.
We work together with Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) to further communication for pupils as appropriate.
The school Physiotherapists are members of the Community Physiotherapy Team for South Warwickshire Foundation Trust. We consist of Chartered Physiotherapists and Technical Instructors. We also have student Physiotherapists on placement with us from University from time to time.
The school is committed to working in partnership with pupils, parents and other professionals to develop every individuals physical and functional potential. We all want to promote an environment of physical well-being.
Physiotherapy includes providing: exercises; daily functional activities; hydrotherapy programmes; stretching programmes and postural management advice using specialist equipment. Postural care is the constant promotion of good posture to enable children to participate in all activities thus enabling them to fulfil their potential and help learning. Regular changes of position will improve concentration and readiness to learn. There is a wide variety of equipment available to help with postural care. Equipment that children need to use to assist their posture and activity requirements, range from: standing frames; walkers; tripods/sticks; splints/gaiters; benches and wedges. Each child will require their own individual level of support.
“A comfortable child will achieve so much more.”
Regular, daily activities can help improve concentration, learning skills and self-esteem. Physiotherapy and education go hand-in-hand at special schools and it is at the heart of the educational approach to help maximise the potential of children. Therapy has to be integrated into their day to day learning and relies on a multidisciplinary approach between class teachers, assistants and parents. There is an emphasis on providing teaching staff with basic therapy skills, giving pupils the opportunity to learn through ongoing routines and encouraging them to develop physically within a class setting.
REFERRAL CRITERIA FOR A PHYSIOTHERAPY ASSESSMENT
The child should present with physical difficulties which are evident in their gross motor development, balance and stability or strength. Difficulties in these areas may impact on their ability to meet milestones or develop gross motor skills at home, in leisure activities or at school. The child should present with physical and /or mobility difficulties that impact on their gross motor skills within their environment.
They should be:
- Children and young people aged 0-19
- Children in permanent residence within Warwickshire and/or a Warwickshire GP.
- Children whose parents/carers pay council tax to Warwickshire where the main reason for referral relates to adaptations and equipment for the home environment
- Children not resident within Warwickshire, but attending a Warwickshire school and the main reason for referral relates to problems in physical education or with mobility problems accessing the school environment.
TEACHERS CAN DOWNLOAD A REFERRAL FORM FROM:
Email the referral form to firstname.lastname@example.org
When a child is referred, information is gathered about the child’s abilities. An assessment of the child takes place in school with consent from parents. A physiotherapy programme tailored to the child’s individual needs and aimed at specific goals, such as, enhancing skills development, function and ability to participate in everyday activities is incorporated into their daily activities and is integrated into all area of the curriculum. We involve the child, parents/carers and school to identify and agree goals that;
- Are age and developmentally appropriate
- Focus on body functions/structures, activities and participation and environmental factors
Teachers, class staff and parents/carers are supported and trained so that they can carry out the daily therapy. This training is vital because physiotherapy should not be something that just happens once a week, it should be every move and every opportunity and all the time. The teaching staff can provide pupils with daily opportunities to practise functional movements. Children need opportunities to experience the repetition of movement, in order for it to become a learned behaviour.
We also offer task-focused therapy in blocks over a short period of time to work on specific goals. The programme is reassessed at regular intervals to ensure that the goals are being achieved and that it remains appropriate to their needs.
In addition, we provide advice and 24 hour postural management programmes to school and home to help protect the children against contractures and deformities and allow them access to changes of positions throughout the day. It is a management programme that is developed and implemented in partnership with the child, their parents/carers, school and it is individualised and goal focused.
BENEFITS OF REGULAR EXERCISE
Getting children active doesn’t always have to involve structured activities, there are lots of other ways they can incorporate this into their days. Wearing the right clothing and footwear is very important. Getting children active can involve:
- Walks Riding a bike
- Swimming Going to the park
- Play equipment Ball skills
- Take the stairs Dancing
- Specialist sports classes
Motivate your child through sport, it improves fitness, mental health, physical health and allows for a better quality of life overall.
Related links: https://www.kids.org.uk/warwickshire-sendias-warwickshire-organisations-offering-support, http://www.leamingtondolphins.co.uk/, https://www.rda.org.uk/, https://www.kidsrunfree.co.uk/parkkids/leamington-park-kids/, https://www.kidsrunfree.co.uk/krf-location/st-nicholas-park-warwick/
We have a qualified Play Therapist working in school once a week. Play Therapy is all about building a therapeutic relationship using ‘play and creative arts’ to help the pupil to communicate and process difficult feelings and emotions. The aim of play therapy being to decrease any behavioural and emotional difficulties that interfere significantly with a child's normal functioning, Less obvious goals include improved verbal expression, ability for self-observation, improved impulse control, more adaptive ways of coping with anxiety and frustration, and improved capacity to trust and to relate to others.
Warwickshire County Music Service provide Music Therapy in school.
We have a music therapist come into school to work with pupils with complex needs. She comes in once a week on a Friday.
Music Therapy is a therapeutic treatment with the use of music as the non-verbal intervention. It is based on improvised music in which the children can express themselves, become aware of their feelings and interact more easily.
The aims of Music Therapy include:
- Increasing communication, interaction and self expression
- Developing an awareness of self and others
- Providing emotional support
- Developing listening skills, sharing and taking turns
- Developing co-ordination and motor control
- Increasing self confidence
- Building trust and meaningful relationships
Rebound Therapy is a method of using a trampoline with pupils with a range of special needs to encourage movement, promote balance, muscle tone, relaxation and sensory integration. PMLD pupils benefit from the sense of freedom of movement the experience from not being in a wheelchair. Pupils with limited movement or Autism also enjoy these sessions.
Lego Therapy is a collaborative, play and social skill therapy. Each child within Lego Therapy has a role of engineer supplier or builder and together they follow pictorial instructions to build a model. The assignment of roles enables each child the chance to improve social interaction skills within a safe and structured environment. Sessions also include a freestyle build to encourage imagination and working as a team.
Lego Therapy provides;
- Shared attention
- Joint problem solving
- Shared enjoyment
1-1 Therapeutic Art Provision
Specialist 1:1 art sessions run once a week with selected students. These sessions allow the students to safely express any worries, anxieties, or feelings that they have and may have difficulty expressing to others. By drawing freely feelings can be released to help the student. Being angry or hurt is not always easy to describe in words, but a child can put these emotions into a drawing. There is no wrong or right about the images produced, and the students are given the choice at the end of each session whether they want to talk about their drawing.
Drumming Therapy Sessions
The drum therapy sessions at Welcombe Hills are designed to give pupils an opportunity to express themselves through playing the drums. The sessions encourage pupils to push the boundaries and explore. Drumming allows pupils to express emotions, feelings and boosts self-esteem and confidence. Professional Drum Educator, Marty Fullard brings to the drum set over 35 years of drumming teaching experience having coached and mentored 1000’s of drummers. Marty first became aware of the positive and therapeutic side of drumming in 1999 when he created the Inner City Music Program in Compton, California.
At Welcombe Hills, pupils with a wide range of differing needs benefit from this experience. Marty says “the main focus of what I do is that the ‘drummer’ leaves one of my sessions having had a positive and uplifting experience. Case in point, he/she feels encouraged, built up and ultimately proud of themselves. Drums are an awesome instrument that enables communication giving a voice to those who, perhaps at times, feel unheard.”
Sherbourne movement can be used with a range of pupils from PMLD to Autism. It is aimed at helping all pupils to understand what is happening to their body when they move and then to learn to interact with others and build positive relationships through movement.
Pupils have the opportunity to access individual sessions with a mentor from Lifespace if appropriate.