Therapies

At The Loddon School® we adopt a holistic approach, therapy being central to the work we do. We provide a wide range of therapy led by qualified Therapists and professionals who work closely with all education and care staff throughout the waking day. Our therapy approaches are individualised to enhance all aspects of a child’s development.

Occupational Therapy

In Occupational Therapy we work closely with education and care staff to help the children become as independent as possible when completing daily activities. We assess the children completing various activities, such writing/drawing or mark making, participating in PE and balancing on equipment, dressing, preparing and eating meals, etc. We advise on equipment that may help them in everyday living tasks and we advise on activities that can be used to improve their underlying skills. We frequently assess, analyse and try to understand a person’s sensory processing needs in order to help them participate in daily activities and cope in different environments. As well as making changes to the environment or how we do a task, another way of helping people with sensory processing difficulties is to recommend a sensory diet – this is a specific programme of activities that provide intense sensory feedback. We also support staff in running Sensory Circuits – a programme to help children become more alert and focused using sensory-motor activities.

Aromatherapy 

Informal massage sessions (hands and feet) take place within the children’s houses on a daily basis. Individual massage sessions take place with our Aromatherapist, who will use oils and massage strokes that will assist with relaxation, anxiety and other sensory needs. The Aromatherapist works closely with the Occupational Therapist.

The school uses Story Massage (developed by Mary Atkinson and Sandra Hooper), both within houses and in more structured sessions lead by the Aromatherapist or Play Specialist. Group relaxation sessions (using the basic movements of pulsing) are initially led by the school Aromatherapist.

Music Therapy

Our Music Therapist uses the naturally appealing qualities of sound and music-making to connect and build trusting relationships with our children who may find person-to-person contact difficult through more conventional channels. Music therapy can be helpful for those who need particular support with communicative, social and emotional needs.

Osteopathy

Our Osteopath is interested in the connections between a tense body and poor digestion, and how this may lead to disturbances in behaviour. The general aim of the session is to relax the child by improving their posture through gentle rhythmic, articulatory movements. In addition the Osteopath introduces new, raw and unprocessed foods to the children’s diet using simple fruit and vegetable juicing guidelines in our Juice Bar to support digestion, open up restrictive diets and have a positive effect on mood.

The Holistic Approach

In order to draw together all aspects of therapy our weekly programme for all students includes the full range of performing arts (Drama, dance and music), relaxation through massage, yoga and Tacpac (sensory massage), outdoor environmental learning through animal care, horse riding, pony carting, and the natural trail, swimming and sensory baths, and a full range of physical activities. Visiting the school to further enhance these aspects of the curriculum are theatre groups, musical workshops and cultural dancers.

Speech & Language Therapy

The Speech & Language Therapist works closely with children and staff within their environment or through sessions in the therapy department to develop their communication skills. All children have therapy target(s) to work towards and progress is regularly reviewed by liaison. Personalized resources are produced by the therapy department to support these being achieved. All children have their own communication books, most of which contain photos. Staff are encouraged to use simple language alongside Makaton & photos to support the children’s understanding and use of language for a total communication approach. The SLT has an interest in Assistive and Augmentative Communication (AAC), exploring how AAC can be used more widely across the school.

Intensive Interaction

Intensive Interaction uses body language to tune into children who struggle to communicate. It involves ‘learning their language’ and responding, to ‘what’ they do and ‘how’ they do it. It is more than just copying or mirroring, it means entering their world and working from what it is that the child finds meaningful. The Therapies team support intensive interaction as a ‘whole school approach’ in order to develop a child’s interactions across their day.

Many of our children choose Lego to self-occupy. Lego Therapy is used with some children in individual or group sessions. These sessions aim to develop children’s emotions, understanding, attention & listening skills, concentration, turn taking, problem solving and working with others.

Play Therapy

Play provision within the PLLUSS curriculum ensures that every child has the opportunity to play, as well as learn valuable skills through ‘Learning through Play’ activities.

Play is a wonderful tool for helping children to move beyond autism’s self-absorption into real, shared interaction. Properly used, play can also allow children to explore their feelings, their environment and their relationships with others.

Staff Play training ensures all staff are equipped with information, resources and activities to support Play activities.

Forest School Sessions

Forest School Sessions at the Loddon School complement our PLLUSS curriculum and ‘whole school approach’ to learning and development, enhancing and supporting individuals’ education and wellbeing. The Forest School ethos and approach aim to provide regular opportunities and experiences for learning to take place outdoors, preferably in woodland (our Nature Trail area). This natural setting offers the ideal environment to support individuals to explore and learn about the world around them, develop new skills, whilst developing confidence and self-esteem through outdoor play.

Other Therapies offered

The Loddon School also has staff trained in Rebound Therapy, exercise therapy which uses trampolines to provide opportunities for movement, therapeutic exercise and recreation. Lego Therapy developing emotional intelligence and Assisted Animal Therapy providing communication, relaxation and sensory simulation. Each therapy and programme of study is carefully matched to the individual needs of the child/young person at a particular time and all are reviewed on a six monthly basis.

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