‘’“It is a particular strength of the school that teaching and therapy are woven together skilfully.” Ofsted, 2022

Therapy at Papillon House School

At Papillon House School, therapy is an integral part of each pupil’s journey with us and the therapy department is a well-established part of the school. We work alongside, and together with, our teaching colleagues to support the specific needs of the pupils.

Our whole school approach recognises that pupils learn best when they are well regulated and facilitated to communicate their needs and ideas and that unless this is achieved, personal development and academic progress are difficult. The aim of the therapy team is to reduce the barriers to pupils learning within the classroom and across other learning environments, as well to develop their communication and functional skills so that we can promote independence and help each pupil to achieve their full potential.

Assessment and Therapeutic Approaches

Therapy is embedded across the school with all pupils having access to Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy at point of need, rather than solely based on what is quantified in their EHCP. This is delivered by a team of qualified Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists, who are supported by Therapy Assistants. All qualified staff are registered with the Health Professionals Council (HCPC) and their professional bodies as well as special interest groups, keeping up to date with evidence-based practice.

Our team of specialist therapists use a variety of assessment methods including formal and informal assessment tools to ensure the truest understanding of the pupils Speech and Language and Occupational Therapy needs. All children are fully assessed by Speech and Language therapy and Occupational therapy upon entry and regularly reviewed throughout their time at Papillon House School. They may be formally re-assessed at point of transition or should there be a significant change in the pupil’s functioning. 

The therapy team are dedicated to using therapeutic approaches and interventions that best fit the pupil.  The team offer evidence-based interventions tailored to the individual needs of each pupil including:

  • AAC
  • Colourful Semantics
  • Emotional Literacy and Regulation sessions
  • Adapted versions of The Zones of Regulation curriculum and The colour Monster book for emotional literacy.
  • Lego Therapy
  • Sensory Integration approaches using suspended equipment.
  • Therapeutic Listening.
  • Specialist equipment to support with regulation.
  • Targeted ‘Food is Fun’ sessions for those with self-restricted diets.
  • Community based support including travel training, volunteering and work experience.
  • SCERTS Assessment tool

Embedded and Specialist Interventions

Each class has an allocated Speech and Language Therapist and Occupational Therapist, who ensures that appropriate therapeutic techniques and interventions are embedded within the classroom for each pupil. Some of these will be general across the school such as access to a visual timetable or to the daily Sensory Diet and others will be specific to pupils such as facilitating the use of individualised AAC devices or supports for handwriting and fine motor skills. They also offer consultation to class staff on a regular basis.

In addition, therapists may offer pupils specialist interventions in the form of individual or group sessions, to provide support for a particular need or area of skill development. At times these sessions will be run jointly across both disciplines, allowing Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists to work collaboratively on areas such as emotional regulation or tolerance to new foods. Therapy sessions are often used to introduce and develop new skills and therapists will then support pupils to transition these skills to the classroom environment and to home. As a result, pupils move flexibly between specialist and embedded support throughout their time at Papillon House School, dependent on their current needs.

Therapists are also always there to support in times of crisis. If a pupil is having a difficult time, therapists are an integral part of the Multi-Disciplinary meetings that take place to ensure that all the appropriate support is being provided and that pupils’ needs are considered from all perspectives.

Reports and Annual Reviews

For those pupils who receive a specialist intervention, the allocated therapist will attend the annual review of the pupils’ Educational Health and Care Plan (EHCP). They will also complete a written report for the review. If a pupil transitions from a specialist intervention to an embedded intervention, parents will receive an End of Block of Therapy report.

If a pupil is not currently receiving a specialist intervention but a parent has concerns, they can request that the allocated therapist attend the annual review so that any concerns can be addressed or additional support provided.

Allocated therapists may also attend Transition Annual Reviews where the transition of pupils between Key Stages is discussed to ensure the Local Authority has all the necessary information to make appropriate decisions about Key Stage Transfer.

Art Therapy

At Papillon House School we are also fortunate to be able to offer our pupils an additional specialist intervention in the form of Art Therapy. Art therapy is offered to individual pupils who may benefit from a safe and therapeutic space to express themselves. Sometimes it is offered when pupils are going through a period of difficulty and we believe they may benefit from a safe space to express their thoughts and emotions in both verbal and non-verbal ways. Other times art therapy is offered to pupils who may benefit from an individual space away from their peers to explore and develop their confidence and self-esteem.

Mental Health and Behaviour Support

The therapy team is led by a Clinical Psychologist who is also the Designated Mental Health Lead for the school. They lead across the school on the Positive Behaviour Support approach to pupil’s quality of life and behaviour support in school. Each pupil has an individual Positive Behaviour Support plan detailing the pupils likes, dislikes, their needs and behaviours and the most effective strategies for supporting the pupil whilst in school. These plans are updated termly. They are sent out with the annual review paperwork but are also available to parents on request.

The psychologist also provides consultation to class teams on concerns about mental health and behaviour and is part of the Multi-Disciplinary pathway of support for pupils experiencing additional difficulties or going through a period of crisis.

Supporting Families at Home

At Papillon House School we recognise that all our pupils are an important part of their families and we aim to work collaboratively with parents and carers. We work hard to ensure parents understand the therapy their child receives and that therapists are open and available to parents. Parents and carers are part of the assessment process by providing valuable information about how pupils present at home. If a pupil is struggling at home, therapists will help to advise on strategies that might be useful, recommend equipment, or develop regulation or communication programs for home. Therapists can also do home visits in order to demonstrate these strategies in action. The therapy team are always keen to work with parents and are available at parents evenings, by telephone, email and by direct appointments.