Support at school
Good attention and concentration, the ability to stay seated for the lesson, holding a pencil correctly and having legible handwriting are some of the skills that are needed to manage well at school.
Teachers are often the first to identify difficulties that your child might be having at school and suggest the support of an Occupational Therapist.
Occupational Therapists, or OT’s are specialists in helping with difficulties experienced in these areas:
- Attention and concentration
- Transitioning or changing from one activity to another
- Being able to sit for a sufficient time during the lessons
- Holding a pencil or pen correctly
- Developing handwriting skills and producing written work that is legible and produced at a sufficient speed
- Pain experienced during handwriting due to hypermobile joints
- Maintaining a good sitting posture
- Fine motor skills which might be affecting tasks, for example using scissors
- Gross motor skills, for instance catching or throwing a ball, skipping, jumping or cycling
- Sensory processing difficulties that might be affecting their ability to participate successfully in daily activities
- Selective eating, which might make it very difficult for the child or young person to have school lunches and eat with other students in a noisy, busy environment
The Occupational Therapy assessment can be completed at school, which will include an observation in the classroom during a lesson, with the standardised assessments and clinical observations completed in a quiet 1-1 setting. Teaching Assistants or Learning Support Assistants can be included in the assessment if it was felt that this would be appropriate.
The Occupational Therapy recommendations would form an important part of your child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), setting targets for the educational setting and offering a tailored programme and guidance for education staff to ensure that they are able to provide the best support for your child’s development.
Therapy provision can be offered at home or in school to address the difficulties identified and work towards achieving the targets set. Schools value the therapeutic intervention, as the results are visible in class and they are usually very supportive for the sessions to be completed during the school day.