Interventions and Therapies
Interventions that we offer at Merstone School
At Merstone School, we recognise that pupils require personalised interventions to ensure they can be the best that they can be. As well as highly staffed classrooms, we also offer the following:
Speech and Language Therapy
We work together with Speech and Language Therapists from the team for Solihull NHS.
We are committed to working in partnership with pupils, parents and other professionals to develop communication skills and to provide a communication friendly environment.
We aim to provide a total communication environment. Total communication is about communicating in any way you can, these may include:
· Pointing to pictures.
· Symbols, photographs or objects of reference.
· Facial expression, eye pointing, gestures and body movement.
· AAC devices
To achieve this, we use a variety of strategies to support pupils including;
· Communication boards
· Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
· Intensive Interaction
· Makaton Signing
· Tassels on body signing
· Communication books
· Social Stories
· Eye gaze
We employ our own full time and part time SALT support staff who work with pupils 1:1 and in small groups under the direction of a private SALT (1 day a week).
Physiotherapists from the team for Solihull NHS Trust visit pupils within our school on a regular basis.
Physiotherapy includes providing: exercises; daily functional activities; swimming programmes; stretching programmes and postural management advice using specialist equipment. Postural care is the constant promotion of good posture to enable children to participate in all activities thus enabling them to fulfil their potential and help learning. Regular changes of position will improve concentration and readiness to learn. There is a wide variety of equipment available to help with postural care. Equipment that children need to use to assist their posture and activity
Requirements, range from: standing frames; walkers; tripods/sticks; splints/gaiters; benches and wedges. Each child will require their own individual level of support.
Regular, daily activities can help improve concentration, learning skills and self-esteem. Therapy is integrated into pupil’s day to day learning and relies on a multidisciplinary approach between class staff and parents.
We employ our own full time physiotherapy support staff who liaise with the NHS physiotherapy team and support physiotherapy delivery within school throughout the week.
Rebound Therapy is a method of using a trampoline with pupils with a range of special needs to develop a number of skills.
· Body Awareness
· Social Awareness
· Muscle Tone
· Spatial Awareness
We have several staff trained in rebound therapy in School.
MATP – Motor Activity Training Programme
MATP is a unique programme specifically designed for athletes of all ages with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) or complex needs. The Motor Activity Training Program is designed to prepare athletes—including those with severe or profound intellectual disability and significant physical disabilities—for sport-specific activities appropriate for their ability levels. The emphasis in MATP is on training and participation rather than competition. The program develops core motor skills that are linked to Special Olympics official sports and places an emphasis on achieving an athlete’s personal best.
MOVE is an activity-based programme that teaches disabled children independent movement. It uses a combination of education, therapy and family to help children reach their potential.
Merstone supports families to set functional physical goals for our pupils which will enhance their quality of life.
All MOVE pupils attend a weekly MATP MOVE session along with their peers where they will work on the skills from their programmes in a fun environment with music and games. Class staff attend these groups so they can develop the practical skills needed to carry out these activities in class
Merstone’s physiotherapy team supports the MOVE programme and is committed to helping pupils achieve their MOVE goals. The team works alongside school staff to ensure that pupils have the necessary equipment and that the necessary staff training in place. If pupils have prescribed equipment this can also be used to support their MOVE goals.
Sherborne Developmental Movement is a method of working in which the movement is securely based in normal developmental movement experiences. It was developed by Veronica Sherborne in the later part of the twentieth century. It is an inclusive approach to teaching and working with movement and one that is well grounded in Laban’s Movement Theory, which has been developed over a period of 40 years. There are two basic objectives within Sherborne Developmental Movement: Awareness of Self This is gained through movement experiences that help the person concentrate so that they become aware of what is happening to their body, listening via touch and by feeling of inner physical sensations rather than by our usual way of looking and thinking. This helps lessen self-criticism and allows people to grow in terms of self-esteem and confidence both a physical and emotional level. Awareness of Others: Pupils begin to learn to move around and interact with others in ways that encourage the further development of trust and the building of positive relationships. These movement experiences enable the person to be appropriately supported while being encouraged to explore their unique creativity through shared movement activities. Pupils participate in Sherbourne movement within their weekly PE sessions supported by staff trained by our Sherbourne lead.
We have a music therapist come into school to work with pupils once a week on a Tuesday.
Music Therapy is a therapeutic treatment with the use of music as the non-verbal intervention. It is based on improvised music in which the children can express themselves, become aware of their feelings and interact more easily.
The aims of Music Therapy include:
· Increasing communication, interaction and self-expression
· Developing an awareness of self and others
· Providing emotional support
· Developing listening skills, sharing and taking turns
· Developing co-ordination and motor control
· Increasing self-confidence
· Building trust and meaningful relationships
Warm water pool
Pupils have access to our own warm water pool and the opportunity to work alongside familiar staff on individual therapy targets and on the Halliwick swimming approach who are trained in hydrotherapy. Our warm water swim sessions are aimed at pupils with limited mobility and those with targeted sensory diet needs. Pupils access the warm water pool to develop their muscle strength and mobility.
Family Support Workers
We have a full time senior family support worker and a part time family support worker, both of whom work closely with families, outside agencies and young people across the school. Our senior family support worker is trained in the following therapies:
Drawing and talking Therapy
Our senior family support worker is also part of our designated safeguarding team.
Mental Health First Aiders
Across our school we have several staff who are trained as mental health first aiders. Our mental first aiders are able to offer support to staff and pupils.
We also refer to other agencies for specialist therapies.