Therapy is an essential part of our core offer at Bensham Manor School and is integrated throughout the school day.
Our therapists work with students individually, in small groups and within the classroom. Therapists also jointly plan and deliver a number of lessons across the school week.
We have been awarded ELKLAN Communication Friendly School status due to our drive to encourage and promote speaking, listening and interaction skills across the school. A number of staff are also ELKLAN trainers and deliver training to staff in schools across the borough.
We place a very strong emphasis on social use of language and deliver this through Social Communication Groups.
SPOT groups (Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy) run on a daily basis from 8.55-9.25am. Students have targeted, individualised therapy overseen by our therapy team and run by the class team. This ensures a settled, calming and therapeutic start to the school day.
Therapists set SMART targets and monitor and track student progress on a termly basis. Reports are sent home once per year. The therapy team are involved in reviewing students Education and Health Care Plans.
Therapies Our Team
Tara Millan-Brophy – Speech and Language Therapy
Amy Pearce – Speech and Language Therapy
Afroditi Pateraki – Dramatherapy
Elaine Eaton – Interventions
Claire Tillotson – Music Therapist
Karen Pack – Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapy at Bensham Manor School focuses on the occupations and skills that are required to be successful at school. At Bensham Manor we focus on providing individual therapy to children who are identified to have a specific need for individual therapy on their Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP).
Our Occupational Therapist work closely with the teaching staff and other therapists providing advice and support to enable all the students to access the Curriculum. At Bensham we have one fully qualified Occupational Therapist who works four days a week. We also have visiting Occupational Therapists as part of Croydon commissioned service with the NHS.
What do we do?
At Bensham Manor we recognise the importance of maximising our students’ potential to learn and to become as independent as possible. We aim to equip the students with the necessary skills needed in everyday life such as:
- Fine and gross motor skills (e.g. handwriting, scissor skills, stair mobility)
- Visual perceptual skills (e.g. modified worksheets)
- Visual motor integration (e.g. bilateral integration)
- Alertness (e.g. daily movement breaks)
- Sensory processing skills (e.g. individualised sensory diets)
- Organisational skills (e.g. time management, daily routines)
- Independence and life skills (e.g. school hygiene routines, cooking, dressing, eating, self-care)
- Depending on individual needs, we can provide advice regarding seated posture and make recommendations for equipment and environmental adaptations.
Why would my child need Occupational Therapy?
There are many ways occupational therapy might help your child. If your child has marked difficulties that are affecting his or her participation and function within the school, please speak to the class teacher and they can refer the child for an OT assessment if appropriate.
What happens in Occupational Therapy?
An Occupational Therapist will evaluate your child as well as the environment and the task and develop individualised goals together with your child that address the identified need.Your child will then work together with the Occupational Therapist to help improve or maintain your child’s ability to perform daily occupations. This may include modifying both the task and the environment to allow your child to be as independent as possible. The intervention plan may also include for example a home exercise programme.
Speech and Language Therapy
Speech and language therapy is school-based and made up of 2 full time therapists and 1 part- time assistant therapist employed by the school. As part of Croydon’s commissioned service with the NHS there is also a part time therapist and assistant therapist. Therapists are involved in assessment, diagnosis and management of speech, language and communication needs as well as eating and drinking difficulties.
How is Speech and Language Therapy delivered?
A speech and language therapist is assigned to each year group in order to support the class team in differentiating the curriculum and providing advice and strategies.
SaLT intervention is delivered through one to one, paired or small group work depending on the areas identified by our initial assessments and the provision detailed in each pupil’s EHCP.
Pupils’ individual therapy programmes are devised according to areas of need identified. These programmes develop understanding and use of spoken language across functional and social contexts. Specialist programmes or resources that have been developed in school may be used.
Depending on the child’s needs, therapy can focus on; Attention and listening, Speech: acquisition of speech sounds, sound discrimination, oral motor skills and intelligibility, Language: Understanding, vocabulary, use of language and grammar, Social communication: eye contact, turn-taking, topic management, friendships, functional skills and Eating behaviours: fussy eaters, strict diets/food refusal.
We have various therapy approaches running across the school including, Smile Therapy, Lego Therapy, Attention Autism, SOS Feeding, Elklan and various tailored language and speech therapies.
The work of the therapists is integrated across the school day in order help pupils generalise their skills into ‘real life’ situations (e.g. lunch and break times, school trips, shopping, transport, links with local schools and colleges etc).
Where appropriate a full assessment for pupils entering the school is carried out and they are reassessed each year as necessary. These results are explained in the yearly SaLT report which is prepared for the pupils’ Annual Review meeting. Therapy targets are reviewed each term.
Delivering training and work experience
The Bensham Manor team deliver parent workshops, staff training across Croydon primary and secondary schools and seminars on a range of topics. Some of the team are also qualified trainers for ELKLAN and have successfully delivered accredited Speech and Language training across Croydon. Over half of Bensham Manor School’s staff have a recognised Speech and Language Therapy Qualification. Bensham Manor is proud to hold Elklan status as a Communication Friendly School one of the few schools in London with this award. SaLT students from local universities on clinical placements are also supported by the Bensham specialist team.
Our Speech and Language Therapists are registered under the Health Care Professions Council and hold Royal college of Speech and Language Therapists membership. The SaLT team are supervised on a regular basis to ensure best practice. The SaLT team regularly attend training to keep up to date with current practice and to continue professional development.
Dramatherapy is a creative form of psychotherapy which uses a variety of creative techniques in order to engage the child or young person, individually or in group sessions. The creative techniques that might be utilised within the dramatherapy sessions are storytelling, improvisation, role-play, puppets, movement and sound activities, dramatization, play, arts & crafts activities.
Dramatherapy has two elements. The DRAMATIC explores the creative and spontaneous potential of the body and mind, through working with drama-related techniques. The THERAPEUTIC allows the psychological needs of the group to be identified and worked through in a safe and supportive environment and in a non-directive manner. The initial focus is on what each individual brings to the session.
Dramatherapy’s underlying intention is to empower all group members to gain a better experience of life. It involves verbal and non-verbal work and makes use of a range of theatrical and dramatic techniques.
Dramatherapy enables pupils to cope with change, deal with anxiety, come to terms with loss and develop strong supportive relationships
Dramatherapy is a form of psychological therapy/psychotherapy in which all of the performance arts are utilised within the therapeutic relationship. Dramatherapy has as its main focus the intentional use of healing aspects of drama and theatre as the therapeutic process. It is a method of working and playing that uses action methods to facilitate creativity, imagination, learning, insight and growth.
The British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth)
Who is Dramatherapy for?
Dramatherapy is a flexible form of therapy capable of adjusting to the special interests and different ability levels of each person. Therefore, it is suitable for everyone who would like to try it!
An initial assessment with the dramatherapist will give the opportunity to both the therapist and the child to determine whether the intervention is appropriate for the child at the time.
What are the benefits for the child?
The aim is to help the children to understand their emotions, feel better about themselves and cope better in the future. This often also helps to improve a child’s classroom learning. The sessions provide a confidential environment to explore issues affecting their lives, whether they are aware of what is affecting their psychological development or not.
The Dramatherapy sessions focus on:
- Building self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Building trusting relationships.
- Developing communication skills, verbal and non-verbal.
- Expressing and exploring feelings.
- Developing creative skills and a creative vocabulary.
- Developing social skills.
- Increasing emotional literacy and cooperation.
Does a child need to be good at drama in order to do Dramatherapy?
No! Dramatherapy is not about acting and nobody has to perform. No experience is necessary. Every child has beautiful ideas when it comes to creativity and this is all we want!
How can my child access Dramatherapy?
First of all the child is assessed to see whether the therapy would be appropriate. To do this there is a meeting with the parent/carer and the therapist to talk about the child to get a picture of what they may be struggling with. Once the offer of therapy has been agreed the therapist will introduce the therapy to the child and ask them if they’d like to participate. The role of the Therapist is to keep the child safe and to establish a trusting and reliable environment in which they can freely express thoughts and feelings without judgement. In this environment, the child can develop their emotional literacy, resilience, discover things about themselves, their current modes of behaviour and eventually how they can resolve or change these in order to live a more fulfilling life.
Confidentiality and Supervision
Everything said or done relating to a child and their family is kept confidential at all times (including their art work). Permission is gained from parents and the child whenever it is necessary to pass information on. In the case of a disclosure the Child Protection policies of this school are followed, in which case information is on a need-to-know basis.
Dramatherapists practise under a protected title and must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). All Dramatherapists are in regular Clinical Supervision.
Our School dramatherapist is on site 3 days a week. She is a registered member of the Health and Care Professions Council and a full member of the British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth).