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) throughout the week.
Students have targeted and individualised therapy to support the development of skills.
Therapists set SMART targets and monitor and track student progress on a termly basis. Reports are sent home once per year. The therapy team is involved in reviewing students’ Education and Health Care Plans.
Tara Millan-Brophy – Speech and Language Therapy
Amy Pearce – Speech and Language Therapy
Afroditi Pateraki – Dramatherapy
Karen Pack – Occupational Therapist
Leanne Dale – SaLT support
Tracey Weyman – OT support
Frances Ogiemwense – School counsellor
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.
What is Speech and Language Therapy?
Speech and language therapy (SaLT) provides treatment, support and care for people who experience difficulties with speaking, having conversations, understanding social situations, being able to understand and use language, or with eating, drinking and swallowing.
Speech and Language Therapists work holistically along with the other members of the Allied Health Professionals Team (Occupational Therapists, Drama therapists, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team etc.).
Therapy can target:
• Attention and Listening
• Speech Sounds
• Understanding Spoken or Written Language
• Using Spoken or Written Language
• Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC)
• Social Communication
• Feeding Behaviour
What we do
We assess the children’s strengths and needs in relation to their speech, language and communication skills using a combination of formal and informal assessment methods.
Following an assessment, all children receive a report, which includes goals and strategies that can be embedded in the classroom and form part of their EHCP & IEP.
At Bensham Manor the Speech and Language Therapy team provides intervention through either direct 1:1/group therapy, indirect class-based support and/or social skills groups. Following a direct block of therapy all children will receive a summary report outlining their progress during the block. We follow a 3 tiered service delivery model which is outlined further below.
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.
At Bensham Manor we follow a three tiered Service Approach as suggested by Law et al. (2013). This looks like figure 1.
Figure 1. The Three Tiered Service Approach
Tiers are broadly matched to interventions (Ebbels et al., 2017), but focus on child need of Speech and Language Therapy. 3 Tiered models are often used within mainstream settings. As we are a special needs provision the majority of our pupils would already fall within the targeted and specialist triangle within a mainstream setting. Therefore, we have adjusted the tiered model to reflect our working within a specialist provision with higher need for services for all students.
Universal interventions are by definition available to all. This includes training, raising awareness and upskilling of staff and parents to better support SLCN within the classroom. Training includes formal training such as Elklan and specific training on SLCN and how to create communication friendly environments.
Targeted interventions are interventions that may be SaLT led and /or maintained by designated school staff with appropriate training such as social skills groups run by our SaLTA, interview skills training and SPOT groups. This also includes referrals to other services as needed and consultative advice/recommendations for individual students.
Specialist interventions are direct interventions led by SaLT such as direct 1:1 therapy, feeding groups and full speech and language assessments.
Speech and language therapy is school-based and made up of 2 full time therapists and 1 full time speech and language therapy 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.
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
From The British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth):
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.
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).
Bensham Manor School has a full time School Counsellor, seeing 4-5 students a day Monday to Friday. The Counsellor holds a specialist level 7 qualification in Counselling Children and Young People, and is a registered member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists,(bacp) always working within that association’s ethical framework. (This can be found at www.bacp.co.uk).
Students are worked with on a one to one basis ,the number of sessions varying according to the student’s needs. Therapeutic plans are made for each student taking into account communication and learning styles and a variety of different modalities are used.
All students have the right to access the support of the Counselling service at Bensham Manor School, referrals may be made by the students class tutor, class TA or parents can contact class tutors with concerns and request that a referral be made, students themselves can request a referral if they feel that they need the support of the School Counsellor also.
The basic concept of Counselling is to facilitate the growth of self-awareness and how we fit into the world around us so that we can feel confident and comfortable within ourselves which in turn helps us to move forward in our lives and obtain our full potential.
Specific issues often worked with here at Bensham Manor include bereavement, health issues, friendship and other relationship issues, recognising and learning to talk about emotions, self-esteem, social interactions, anxiety and understanding anger and finding healthy ways to express it amongst many others.
If you have specific enquiries about counselling support at Bensham Manor you can contact the School Counsellor at;
Telephone – 0208 86840116 ext 134