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Statement - what does the OT actually do for sensory processing?(15 Posts)
Could you please share your experience, give examples of intervention?
I would like to understand whether DS has the right support.
An OT can analyse the classroom environment and spot triggers that make it difficult for your child to learn in and offer solutions. On a basic level, a quiet area to work is the most often suggested, even without an OT's input.
More subtly, they might pick up on ways to incorporate some natural movement for a child, eg working on different surfaces for a younger child, instead of always sitting at a desk, having equipment for an older child located in different parts of the room and not all at the workstation, so there is a legitimate excuse to get up and stretch legs on a regular basis. They can stress the importance of regular heavy work breaks, eg a bounce on a trampoline or simply taking something to another classroom on an errand.
Ways of making seating easier to sit in for more extended periods (eg cushions, seat pads or wedges, a footrest of some sort). Cushions don't just increase physical comfort, but they absorb a bit of background noise, so improve the acoustics of a room.
One of the least obvious things picked up for DS1 was his poor auditory discrimination - he needs to be addressed directly and have written instructions.
OT should do exactly what it says in the statement.
Sadly, it is not very specific in the statement. We didn't have a private OT for the tribunal. I just hoped that the NHS OT would come to school and recommend things. But she insists that the school should call and ask specific help instead. The school doesn't have a clue, so they never call. The OT now pretends DS doesn't have any needs because the school didn't ask anything. But every time I bring a specific suggestion the school say it is exactly what they needed...
Any more suggestions?
OT just been into nursery to observe DS2 (low muscle tone and SPD). Suggestions she made to teachers are:
- move DS2's spot on the carpet so he can't be touched unexpectedly by other children
- sit on wedge-shaped cushion when doing table activities and at snack time,
- get him to help with setting up/ clearing away as carrying things gives him sensory input to help him concentrate on activities or sit more quietly,
- play with sensory/ fidget toy to stop him making noises (his way of coping with noise around him)
- she's also giving them a list of calming techniques they can use before snack time ( a fidgety/ noisy time for him)
- discussed a visual timetable to help him cope with changing activities
The main thing is she understands why he does some of the inappropriate things he does and can explain that to his teachers. They then understand him better, see that he's not just being 'naughty' and help him cope more and so it goes on in an improving circle.
Thank you, these are very helpful examples. Please give some more .
Any examples from the secondary school?
OT (private) observed DS in school and put together a detailed "sensory diet" (schedule of sensory interventions) for his school day, including recommendations for various bits of equipment (fiddle toys, wobble cushions, bear hug jacket, ear defenders) and when he should wear / use them; sensory exercises that the school's PE teacher does with him most days to improve balance and co-ordination etc; and recommendations for eg visual timetables, instructions broken down into small steps, etc, to help with his executive functioning problems (planning / organisation).
OT also attends meetings with me, CT and senco every couple of months to check progress and adjust plan as necessary.
Did anyone have any intervention to identify and address triggers for being overloaded, distracted vs. being focused?
Ds had an indi OT assessment, extremely detailed.
OT then wrote recommendations in line with his difficulties. She recommended things such as direct weekly input from trained sensory OT, TA to attend sessions and learn from this. Sensory programme and diet to address his difficulties, applied on a daily basis. IEP targets and AR OT to attend and give input. OT to observe ds in class etc.
In my experience NHS OT will not do detailed assessment, she will ask school 'any problems' and deal with 'functional' ability only ie what school report difficulties to be.
Most of intervention that Jack and Eye have described has been done roughly. At the initial assessment the private OT recommended sensory diet, but this was never translated into specific stimulation, mainly because it was done in the surgery. The NHS OT wants to remove herself from the statement after annual review because the school doesn't call.
Should I fight for it? I already have 3 tribunals behind and we are in year 11...? What would you do?
Hire the private OT?
Damn right you should fight for it!
School are not calling the OT, as your ds's needs are complex and they are not understanding them, which is why they need the direction of a specific and quantified statement, so they know what help is needed.
If you can afford it, get private sensory trained OT to do a proper assessment and write a report of exactly what OT input your child needs for AR. Then ask for it to be written into the statement.
You just need it specified and quantified in a statement. If your child needs it, they have to provide it.
Oh ive just seen you mentioned year 11, how much longer left at school?
Appropriate to that age and easily deliverable by even the least aware teacher (hard to be completely tuned in if you have 300+ kids per week, unfortunately) would be the option to wear headphones in class (when teacher isn't expecting active listening), the option to leave class a few minutes early if difficulty with moving in crowds or using loos when busy. Often helpful to sit at periphery of class (back or sides to avoid being shoulder to shoulder with too many other bodies in crowded room, very front if also needs to distinguish teacher's voice and visual cues over background noise). If prone to overheating or sensitive to itchy collars, etc, then being allowed to loosen tie or remove blazer without draconian punishments resulting would also be important.
Well you have nothing to lose by at least asking for amendments to the statement at AR, whether the LA will agree to the amendments is another thing and could possibly lead to another tribunal situation if they don't. However you have nothing to lose by asking in the first place.
If NHS OT is going to ask for OT input to be removed, I think you either have to try and persuade her not to, maybe spell out to her your ds difficulties and how these impact on his daily functioning and education etc or get indi OT assessment to identify his needs etc.
I suppose how much you fight this or whether you opt for indi OT providing the support, depends on what you can afford and how much your ds needs it.
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