What is Occupational Therapy (OT)?
Occupational Therapy supports children to participate in their daily activities more independently.
Children and young people with autism have a range of difficulties that may impact on their participation in activities at home, at school and in the community. As a result of their autism, individuals commonly have difficulties with sensory processing and motor skills. They may also have a restricted repertoire of activities and have difficulties accessing or be reluctant to participate in a range of tasks. This can affect their ability to complete all their necessary daily activities such as: toileting, dressing, using transport, moving around school, eating, doing school work and playing.
Occupational Therapists help children develop independence in their academic, leisure and self-care activities by adapting the task, the environment or by using specific equipment or activities to improve underlying difficulties.
Occupational Therapy at Queensmill School:
Occupational Therapists work with all students in a range of school activities including lessons in the classroom, lunchtimes, playtimes and swimming. Intervention includes:
- Observation and assessment of how individual students’ difficulties linked to their diagnosis impact on their participation in activities;
- Trialling strategies, adapting the environment and providing equipment;
- Creating, implementing and monitoring programmes for development of specific skills;
- Delivering individual and group therapy sessions, in collaboration with classroom staff;
- Using a range of approaches such as Sensory Integration and autism specific strategies such as SCERTS (A framework for supporting individuals with Autisim with a focus on Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Supports) and TEACCH (A structured way of adapting the task and environment and providing appropriate supports for teaching and supporting individuals with Autisim)
- Providing support, advice and training to Queensmill staff and parents;
- Joint working and goal-setting with teaching staff and other professionals (Speech and Language Therapists, Educational Psychologist, School Nurse);
- Liaison with and referrals to other professionals and services (Disabled Children’s Team, Housing, specialist transport, dietitians, consultants, CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services)
Meet the team:
Caroline (Assistant Head &Lead Occupational Therapist)
Anna (Occupational Therapist)
Louisa (Occupational Therapist)
Kate (Occupational Therapist)
Morgan (Occupational Therapy Assistant)
Occupational Therapy can help your child with:
- Increasing engagement in learning activities (for example using self-regulation and mutual regulation strategies to achieve a ‘calm-alert’ state for learning);
- Taking part in a wider range of school activities (for example providing anxiety management strategies, increasing tolerance of sensory input, providing graded supports);
- Increasing independence in school routines (for example developing skills in organising belongings, transitioning, planning for activities, mobility around school);
- Eating and drinking (for example by increasing tolerance of new foods, participating in mealtime routines, developing independence using cutlery and cups);
- Self-care skills (such as washing, brushing teeth, hair and nail care, dressing, using the toilet);
- Growing up and puberty (such as understanding of body changes, public and private behaviour, female sanitary care);
- Accessing the community (for example providing safety equipment and strategies, travel training);
- Developing handwriting (for example by improving fine and perceptual motor skills, developing core stability and shoulder strength);
- Widening repertoire of play activities (for example by addressing sensory seeking/avoiding behaviours, providing graded support for participation, developing motor planning skills);
- Improving participation in P.E., leisure and break time activities (for example through gross motor skill development and developing motor planning skills).
For more information, please contact Queensmill School and ask to be put through to the Occupational Therapy office
Sensory integration therapy and approaches are used throughout the school, led by the Occupational Therapy Department. Find out more here
The Occupational Therapy Department have compiled some information leaflets that parents may find helpful in supporting their child to access activities of daily living. These can be found here.