Occupational Therapy is concerned with a person’s ability to perform the daily activities they need to do or want to do. A child’s occupational performance in these activities may be impaired by physical, developmental, sensory, or learning challenges.
The role of an Occupational Therapist at The Moat School is to identify how physical, psychological or learning difficulties affect your child’s functional skills and to help remediate these effects or develop compensatory approaches. Some children find it difficult to consolidate skills at an appropriate age and therefore enter secondary school with deficits in certain areas. Since all skills are interrelated, the delay in acquiring one basic skill will have a knock on effect for many others. For example, developing mature pencil grasp, requires good gross motor coordination, adequate processing of sensory information, efficient motor planning and fine manual dexterity.
The Occupational Therapist assesses each new child within their first term at The Moat school using both a ‘top down’ occupational performance approach as well as assessing underlying skill deficits including:
Gross motor skills
Fine motor skills including handwriting
Visual perceptual skills
Sensory integration skills
Collaborative consultation occurs with the parents and teachers to maximize the effectiveness of the therapy. The pupils are seen individually or in groups as appropriate. Therapy is integrated into the curriculum on a daily basis through a transdisciplinary approach, where therapists work alongside specialist teachers, so that skills are consolidated within the classroom. Therapy is also delivered on an individual, small group and class basis. This collaborative approach also means that teachers and therapists learn from each other, sharing skills and developing professionally for the benefit of the children.
The Occupational Therapists deliver the Zones of regulation as part of the curriculum. This is geared towards helping pupils gain skills in consciously regulating their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem solving abilities. The Occupational Therapists work on foundation sensory, motor and perceptual skills to enable children to access curriculum learning. This involves working with children to help develop visual memory, body awareness and posture, attention control, handwriting and motor planning and organisation. Every opportunity is sought to develop innovative and interesting ways of improving pupils’ Occupational Therapy skills during their years at The Moat School through specific skills practice, remediation and coping strategies.