We have two speech and language therapists who work with the staff at Oaklands to support our children with their communication and language needs. Each term, they visit classes and assess pupils. They then spend time with the class teacher, discussing how we can support the pupils’ needs together. This advice is used by the teacher to build into daily, personalised planning for the pupils, to ensure that the speech and language needs of the child are addressed consistently. The speech and language therapist will observe regularly in the class throughout the term, and the teacher will seek additional advice where required. Strategies suggested will be used by the teacher across all areas of the curriculum to develop each child’s language skills as a pre-requisite for learning in other areas. For some pupils with specific speech and language issues, they may require focused 1:1 support with the Speech and Language Therapist.
We also have a Drama Therapist who works with some of our pupils at Oaklands. This builds on the work that teachers plan for our pupils in Literacy and Personal, Social Development. Specific goals for pupils are chosen relating to their ITP targets/to address specific areas of least progress. Some pupils may have sessions focused on their interaction with the drama therapist to develop their personal, social skills, whereas others may work with one or two peers as well. At the beginning of the term, any pupils identified for dramatherapy are assessed individually, to identify starting points for the drama therapist and ensure that it will be an appropriate therapy for them. The drama therapist used a thematic approach to work towards the learning outcomes. Pupils are accompanied by a member of the child’s staff team, to support them, and where possible, to use some of the techniques with the child at other times e.g., in play interaction sessions or in the soft play room. The drama therapist will liaise with the class teacher during the term. At the end of the period, the drama therapist will share outcomes with the class teacher to feed into assessments, and to plan next steps for learning.
Chesner, A 1995 Dramatherapy for people with learning disabilities: a world of difference
Our music therapist works with individual pupils one day a week at Oaklands. The therapists work includes free improvisation stimulated by any types of sounds or genres of music to offer appropriate, sensitive and meaningful musical interaction with the child.
The outcomes for the sessions depend on the individual needs of the child, for a child with autism, this could be helping them to find a way to communicate. The outcomes could be social or personal. The music therapist liaises with the Assessment Lead, and feeds back to class teachers, writing a report at the end of the period of work.