Assessment establishes strengths and weaknesses at home and school. The Therapist identifies why a child is struggling in skill development by completing a holistic assessment looking at a child’s coordination, motor and sensory processing.
Following assessment a report will be completed to give a clear picture of the child and his/her needs with initial recommendations and advice. Parents or an educational establishment may commission an assessment.
Types of assessment and report
- Sensory Processing Assessment
- Report to form part of the Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) to identify a child’s specific needs.
- A school report identifying strengths and needs and advising on school based strategies to improve skills and learning.
- Report for secondary school transition. This gives a complete picture of the child’s skills and raises awareness of the child’s specific needs helping to smooth the transition process.
- Assessment and environmental report on the suitability of a school for a child with specific physical or sensory needs.
Occupational Therapy will only be recommended for as long as it is clinically required. Therapy packages will consist of four to six sessions. At the onset goals and targeted interventions will be agreed with an expected time span for achievement. Goals will require additional practice at home or in school.
- Fine motor skills i.e. use of scissors, cutlery etc.
- Organisation and sequencing, i.e. morning routine, organising self for school etc.
- Independence skills including areas such as dressing, hair care, teeth cleaning or toileting
- Gross motor skills including riding a bike
- Helping the child cope with sensory based behaviour.
Thalamus transition services provide practical support at an emotional and vulnerable time in a young persons life as they move from primary to secondary school. We can help bridge the gap between schools and help to prepare the young person to cope in the their new school. Preparation work could involve working with the young person at home throughout the summer holidays.
The support is varied and child specific but could include acting as an advocate for parent and child including negotiating specific adjustments in school to meet individual need.
The therapist may develop child specific materials to help the child cope in their new environment. This could take the form of sensory stories or strategies to give the child ways of managing their sensory behaviour or practical ways of organising their timetable, homework or belongings in school. Specific advice regarding sensory and motor skills within curriculum areas such as handwriting, PE or Design Technology may also be provided.
Handwriting continues to be one of the key areas of the national curriculum and despite the increasing role of technology, remains an essential skill in childhood.
Writing is a complex motor skill requiring mastery of several areas including:
- Postural control
- Pencil grasp
- Awareness and spacing of letters and words
- Placement of writing on the page
- Letter and number formation with consistent size
- Pressure through the pencil
- Joining for cursive writing
Writing also requires focus and attention, being able to find and copy information from a board, processing auditory information and generating ideas.
The handwriting package starts with information gathering from parents and teachers in the form of questionnaires. This is followed by assessment of the child using therapist clinical observations and standardised assessment tools. Assessment usually takes place in school.
This is followed with a child specific handwriting package, which targets the foundation skills of writing and works on the child’s individual difficulties with writing.
Achievable handwriting goals are set and monitored throughout the programme with adjustments made throughout to ensure the child remains engaged and encouraged, promoting their confidence in writing.