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Castle School

Castle School

Professional Support Services

A number of Support Services are linked to our school and support our work:

Educational Psychologists

are particularly involved in pupil assessment, but also offer advice and support with the management of behaviour and effective teaching approaches.

Social Services

help to ensure that families are supported to meet their children’s needs in the home.  They can assist with applications for benefits, the provision of respite care, access issues, the transition to Adult Services and many other social care issues.

Hearing Impairment and Visual Impairment Support Teachers

come to school specifically to work with individual children identified with sensory impairment.  They advise staff on resources, individual programmes and our learning environment.

School Medical Team

School Medical Office/Consultant Paediatrician – Dr Jackie Taylor
Dr Taylor conducts medicals and consultations for our pupils on a regular basis.

School Nursing
The Schools Nursing team are available to offer advice on a range of health related issues.

Therapists at Castle school

Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech and Language Therapy are available on site at Castle School and are provided by Cambridgeshire NHS Children’s’ Services.  The therapists work together as a multidisciplinary team with Music and Play Therapists, Nurses, visiting support teachers and with the school teachers and support staff so that therapy aims are included in the daily curriculum.  

All Therapists use the school as a base from which to see children in mainstream nurseries and schools.  This supports inclusion, uses the school as a resource for staff support and allows use of the excellent facilities including therapy rooms and hydrotherapy pool.

The Therapists like to attend Parents’ Evenings and are available to see parents or carers at other times by arrangement.

Occupational Therapy

The aim of Occupational Therapy within the school is to enable children to become as independent as possible (at home, at school and in play) and to make the most of the skills they can develop. This may be by:

  • Promoting the development of functional skills such as:
    • Self-care skills (e.g. eating, dressing)
    • Coordination
    • Hand function (fine motor skills)
    • Perception (e.g. body and spatial awareness, visual discrimination)
  • Assessing and advising on specialist equipment such as special seating, feeding, toileting, hoists, slings, bathing etc
  • Assessment of moving and handling needs of the child
  • Using Sensory integration and modulation techniques to help calm and organise children in order that they might better concentrate and so participate in activities

OT’s also assess, advise and in consultation with parents and the relevant Housing Authority, authorise adaptation work to a child’s home.

OT intervention can include:

  • Seeing a child for a set number of 1:1 treatment sessions or occasionally in group
  • Setting up a programme of exercises and activities to be carried out regularly at school and/or at home
  • Advising on strategies to minimise the risk to the child and the carer in moving and handling
  • Providing general advice to be incorporated into daily living activities at home and/or curricular activities at school
  • Advising on and demonstrating specialist equipment
  • Writing reports, attending reviews and liaising with other professionals                                            

Physiotherapy

Within Castle school is aimed at helping the children to maintain and develop their mobility skills, joint range of movement and muscle strength, and overall gross motor skills as well as to ensure the children are comfortable and have adequate equipment to achieve these aims.  The physiotherapist works closely with teaching staff, parents, and other medical personnel to this end.  

The physiotherapist will review children as requested and may provide a programme including stretches, exercises, standing and/or walking as appropriate.  She may also supervise programmes such as hydrotherapy or PE to ensure an individual child’s physical needs are being met in these sessions within school.  The physiotherapist may also make referrals to appropriate outside agencies such as the wheelchair service or orthotists.    

Speech and Language Therapy

Currently has three and a half days of time allocated to the school.  We work with children who have specific difficulties with any of the following areas of communication:

  • Understanding and using spoken language
  • Understanding and using speech sounds; fluency; voice and social communication

We also work with children who have eating and drinking difficulties

We support the school to have a total communication policy which includes:

  • Spoken language
  • Makaton signing
  • Use of objects, photos, pictures or symbols, including PECSand high or low technology alternative and augmentative communication

The speech and language therapists’ intervention with a child may include:

  • Assessment
  • Observation
  • Diagnosis
  • Staff training
  • Discussion and advice
  • Writing and reviewing a class based programme
  • Demonstrating activities or strategies
  • Whole class, small group or individual therapy for time specific periods with regular review

The Therapists regularly provide treatment plans for each child with targets for current therapy and a report for the Statement Review. 

Children are discharged from the therapy roll after discussion with parents and school staff, when speech and language skills are in line with their other skills and / or when their future communication development needs can be met within the curriculum. They can be re referred at any time if new concerns arise and new targets can be set.

Music Therapy

Castle School is currently providing full time music therapy.  The music Therapists are employed by Cambridgeshire Music from whom they receive support, training and continual professional development.  We are part of Office of Children and Young People Service (OCYPS).

All our Therapists are registered with the Health Professions Council, are Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checked, and have regular child protection training.  Music Therapy training is at a post graduate level and all Therapists have either a Diploma or MA in Music Therapy.  We currently have 3 music Therapists who each work on different days and have their own regular timetables.

Music Therapy involves the use of music to work towards identified therapeutic objectives with individuals and small groups.  Music making in itself is a social activity involving communication, listening and sharing.  Music can convey feeling without the use of words.  Music therapy takes this further and the Therapist will aim to work to develop these areas according to the identified needs of each young person.  These are some of the aims:

  • Providing a medium for self-expression
  • Providing emotional support
  • Building confidence and self-esteem
  • Decreasing tension, anxiety and challenging behaviour
  • Enhancing awareness of self and others
  • Developing insight into the meaning of others behaviour
  • Developing social skills such as listening, turn taking and sharing
  • Developing co-ordination and movement

It is important to realise that the aims themselves are non musical, and that musical talent is not required to benefit from music therapy. In the course of the work it is likely that students may develop their musical awareness and some skills, but these are not central to the work.

Music Therapists work with individuals or groups and develop a relationship with children through improvised music making.  The children play a variety instruments and the Therapists respond on their own musical instruments.

Referrals

Young people from Castle School can be referred to music therapy by other health professional agencies, teaching staff, parents and on occasions self-referral from the young person themselves.  Referrals are made for the following reasons:

  • Communication difficulties
  • Developmental
  • Emotional issues
  • Behavioural

Assessment

A minimum initial assessment period is offered of at least two weeks to ascertain if music therapy is going to be an appropriate intervention for the young person.  Following the assessment sessions a brief report will be written by the music Therapist and then sent to the parent/carer, class teacher and other relevant professionals and a copy will be placed within the confidential school files.

Liaison

At Castle School the music Therapist work as part of the staff team and liaise with other professionals and parents/carers.  They also provide written reports for annual reviews; may attend review meetings and provide staff with information about music therapy.

Music Therapy in the Early Years

It can be hard to settle into school routines and interact with peers, especially in a large group.  Music therapy is an ideal medium through which to work on basic skills such as listening, sharing and turn taking.  Music making provides a non-verbal means of communication for children who have difficulties using words.  Positive responses in music therapy can build confidence and self-esteem.

Inclusion

Music therapy promotes and supports inclusion of pupils with special needs and behavioural, emotional and social difficulties from both special and mainstream schools.  It benefits pupils with special needs and is also an important intervention for those with particular emotional needs.  This may include pupils who are bereaved or have suffered trauma, pupils from families under stress, looked after children.

Sessions provide a safe space and time for pupils to explore feelings and express themselves in a confidential process with the Therapist, through improvisation, play and songs.

Children with Autism

Many children with autism are very motivated by music and can be encouraged to participate in interactive musical exchanges, enhancing social skills.  The regularity of sessions can become predictable and reassuring for the child.  Musical interaction can help a child to experience the type of communicative behaviour that normally takes place between a mother and baby.  This interaction can be fundamental to further development of communication skills.  As well as being playful and fun, music and songs can present clear structures in which creativity can occur.  Obsessive behaviour can be incorporated into the music making and become part of the spontaneous musical experience.  This can help to reduce negative behaviour patterns. 

Children with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities

Music therapy can facilitate communication and self-expression for children with severe disabilities.  Accessible musical instruments can be provided for children to explore interactive exchanges.  Sometimes the music Therapist may use electronic musical instruments such as the Soundbeam or MIDI-creator so that the child can have as much independence creating the sounds as possible.  Music making can enable the child to feel empowered and increase self-esteem, as well as developing social skills and co-ordination.

Children with Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties

Children with behavioural problems in a class setting may find it easier to establish a relationship with a Therapist in a one-to-one situation.  In this context challenging behaviour can be assessed and negative responses often channelled into constructive playing.  Music therapy may enable the child to understand their behaviour and develop new ways of relating to other people.  Small group work may also enable the young person to improve social skills such as listening and turn taking.

Further information can be obtained by contacting Cambridgeshire Music on cm@cambridgeshire.gov.uk or visiting www.cambridgeshiremusic.org

Cambridgeshire Music
The Old School
Ermine Street North
Papworth Everard
Cambridgeshire, CB23 3RH

Telephone Number 01480 373527

The Visual Impairment Service

What we do:

We provide specialist educational support for around 200 children who have significantly reduced or no vision.  We work with children of all ages and with parents/carers, teaching and school support staff and other professionals.

Services include early identification of needs, advice and practical help for teachers and parents, specialist teaching skills and loan of specialist equipment.

The Visual Impairment Specialist Teacher for Castle School is Tabitha Stevens.  She visits school on a regular basis.

How to contact us:

To contact the Visual Impairment Service Manager Linda Lloyd or to make general enquiries phone us on 01480 373434 or visit our website at www.Cambridgeshire.gov.uk/visionsupport

To contact Tabitha Stevens phone on 01223 728182 or email Tabitha.stevens@cambridgeshire,gov.uk