Wellbeing and Therapies

A summary of Wellbeing and Therapies provision at Alfriston

Wellbeing

At Alfriston School we provide a holistic approach to education, taking into account each pupil’s social and emotional needs and general wellbeing. This includes daily support, but also long term universal and targeted interventions.

Our whole school approach to pupils’ wellbeing includes providing a tailored social and emotional skills curriculum delivered to classes and small groups. In addition to this universal approach, pupils needing additional support receive this in the form of 1:1 or small group intervention, either long term or short term. The types of difficulties supported include anxiety, self-esteem, self-efficacy, anger, social and friendship difficulties, and low mood. The support provided is rooted in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy with the aim of providing pupils with the skills to support themselves with these difficulties in the future. Furthermore, parenting workshops and courses are available to support the pupils’ home environments and the challenges in caring for a child with SEN. Finally, we offer activity days for pupils during the school holidays, including cooking and swimming, in order to provide the opportunity for the pupils to socialise and see their friends in an environment which they are familiar with.

In addition to this targeted approach, the Wellbeing Team offer daily support to pupils in the form of someone to talk to, to help them problem solve and think through situations, and develop resilience. The team also support parents with concerns and enquiries, and maintain effective and regular communication with outside agencies also working with the family.

Occupational Therapy 

Occupational therapy provides practical support to enable pupils to overcome any barriers that prevent them from doing the activities that matter to them.  This helps to increase pupil's independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life.  

Occupational therapy at Alfriston School is incorporated into our school timetable because we believe it is important for our pupils to be able to recognise, adapt, and overcome their difficulties.  We identify their strengths and difficulties and help them work towards overcoming these barriers.  We work with pupils in groups or on a 1:1 basis for short or long-term periods of time depending on individual needs.  The work is goal focused which encourages pupils to identify areas they want help and support with and pupils feel good about themselves and a sense of achievement.  An example of some of the groups we run include shoelace tying, clothes buttoning, hair care and a cutlery group.  

In addition to working with the pupils, we offer parent workshops to help parents gain an insight into how they can support their children at home and reinforce the skills they have learnt at school.  We aim to provide a whole school approach to Occupational Therapy by incorporating it daily within lessons; examples include classroom equipment such as steps, cushions and slopes that aid the pupils’ posture, hand warm ups and stretches to ensure they are fully engaged in the lesson.

Speech & Language Therapy

What is SLT?

The Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) works with children who have speech, language, communication or swallowing difficulties. At Alfriston School, pupils are supported by the SLT department throughout their school years.  The Speech and Language Therapist attends the school for three days per week and the girls have additional input from a number of the school support assistants who have been trained by the therapist as SLT assistants. The SLT is registered with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and the Health and Care Professions Council.

All pupils who have a need for SLT on their statement are assessed in the first term of starting at the school.  The teachers are provided with a summary of the assessment and recommendations are made as appropriate.  A full report is prepared and distributed at the time of the child’s Annual Review.  The girl’s individual needs will be identified and the therapy input arranged accordingly.  Input could include regular one to one therapy, paired or grouped sessions and individual SLT programmes to be implemented by teaching staff or parents.  The girls’ progress is regularly reviewed and monitored.

What do the different therapy inputs involve?

  • One to One:  The child will be seen by the SLT or SLT assistant for an individual  session lasting up to 50 minutes.  Girls are selected for 1:1 therapy to work on a specific skill or if their needs are very individual and would not fit well into group therapy. Some girls will start with 1:1 and move onto a paired or grouped session as they progress.  Work conducted by the SLT assistant is devised and overseen by the SLT. 
  • Paired Sessions: Girls are paired by their language and communication needs and will be seen together for a session lasting up to 50 minutes by the SLT or SLT assistant. Many girls enjoy the opportunity to work with a classmate but have the additional benefit of getting the focused attention from the SLT as needed.
  • Group Sessions: No more than four girls will be seen in a group.  They are selected by their ability and therapy needs and are usually from the same year group.  Work may focus on specific language targets such as listening and expression of ideas. Girls also attend groups to work on their social communication and their social use of language skills. The groups will be run by the SLT or by an SLT assistant who will follow a programme devised and overseen by the SLT.
  • SLT Programmes: Some girls will be provided with a specific programme of work that will be completed by an assistant or sent home for completion by her family.  This is usually for particular speech sounds that need attention or for work that has been covered in SLT sessions and needs to be consolidated.

What is the difference between Speech, Language and Communication?

  • Speech: Speech refers to the ability to articulate the sounds such as /f/; /st/; /k/ and /d/ that make up the words in our language.  Our aim is to help the girls to achieve clear and intelligible speech. Therapy includes direct work on the production of specific sounds and improving the girl’s self monitoring and sound awareness.
  • Language:  Language is about understanding spoken language and the expression of words and putting them together to make meaningful sentences. We work on areas of language such as listening and following instructions, auditory memory, vocabulary, grammar and syntax. Work on language skills in SLT contributes to the girls’ ability to participate and learn in lessons.
  • Communication: Communication refers to our use of language in order to interact with other people and to develop relationships. Communication involves both verbal and non-verbal communication such as body language, eye contact, gesture and facial expression. Many people with communication difficulties have poor non-verbal communication skills and have difficulty in interpreting other people’s body language.  They may have difficulty in knowing what style of language to use in which situation, appearing rude or over friendly.  They may also have difficulty in understanding humour and take things too literally when people use phrases such as “pull your socks up” etc.  We help the girls to develop their confidence as well as their social competence.