THERAPY IN THE INTERMEDIATE PHASE
Whilst recognising the individual needs of each learner within this phase, the focus is on the learner achieving societal norms, within the communication, pre-vocational and the social areas of each learner’s life.
SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPY
The aim of speech therapy in the intermediate phase is to build on basic communication skills as to develop meta-linguistic skills such as reasoning, problem-solving, abstract language and inferential thinking to the maximum of their ability.
Therapy may occur on an individual, a small group and/or a class group level. The therapist may integrate into the class activities to assist with the transfer of skills taught on an individual level. Homework and communication between the therapist and parents occurs within the learner’s homework book.
Individual therapy is reserved for the following:
Children who display:
1. Apraxia of speech (an inability to control the voluntary movements for speech). These children require ongoing repetition of the work done in order to achieve carry-over of their ability to express themselves in complete sentences, to complete words and to achieve accurate articulation.
2. Voice disorders
4. Severe language impairment where the learner will benefit from individual therapy.
SMALL GROUP THERAPY
Group therapy is most common in this phase of the school. Children are grouped according to their difficulties, namely:
Receptive and expressive language difficulties
Auditory processing skills – following instructions, analysis and synthesis of sounds.
Expressive language skills to communicate using more complex sentences.
Social language skills.
Reasoning and problem-solving.
The weekly class groups focus on areas such as extending the auditory processing skills, combining auditory and written input and the enhancement of social language. Close liaison between therapist and teacher enables therapy skills to be transferred into real life situations.
At this stage, visual perceptual and fine motor skills are usually established and the focus of individual occupational therapy transfers to the development and consolidation of handwriting skills and the enhancement of visual memory skills that are needed for reading, writing and spelling.
All the intermediate phase learners receive prevocational groups. The aim of these groups is to teach the learner good work methods and attitudes, for example to gain satisfaction from the quality and the quantity of the work the learner has done; to be accurate and orderly in the execution of his tasks, to persevere with what he is doing and not to lose interest. The learner is also required to pay attention when a new task is demonstrated, to accept guidance and criticism from an adult. The child also learns to work without various degrees of supervision, to evaluate his own work and make corrections if needed. He also learns to complete tasks within the specified time and to adhere to standards set in terms of speed and quality of work.
THE ROLES OF THE COUNSELLOR AND PSYCHOLOGIST
The counsellor and psychologist form a team that is responsible for the personal and social well-being and development of the learners, parents and staff of Unity College. Psychotherapy, play therapy (individual and in groups), parent counseling and life skills groups all form part of this therapy. The therapists focus on behaviour difficulties (e.g. anger outbursts, bullying, poor self-esteem), relationship problems (e.g. friendships, child-parent relationships, family interaction, and sibling rivalry), loss (e.g. divorce, death), trauma (e.g. accident, hi-jacking), sexuality and substance abuse.
Personal and social skills groups for the lower intermediate classes:
The Intermediate one and two classes receive one thirty minute personal social skills group a week. The purpose of these groups at this early stage of the Intermediate phase is to develop the learner’s awareness and ability to manage more complex social interactions that occur in pre-teenage and teenage years. Emphasis is on integrating the social and emotional skills learnt in the junior phase of the school. The skills that are developed include decision making skills, conflict resolution skills, and learning about abstract social values such as honesty, tolerance and integrity.
Personal and social skills groups for the higher intermediate classes:
Personal and social skills groups for the Intermediate three, four and five classes are designed to develop the learners’ ability to cope with stressors and situations encountered in life on a day-to-day basis. Topics covered range from the exploration and facilitation of moral functioning, good manners and social etiquette, healthy diet, development and understanding of relationships, identifying and managing of emotions, conflict resolutions, negotiation skills and sexuality education. Each group is presented with similar topics but differentiation occurs between the classes in order to introduce each subject at the appropriate level for each group’s needs.
The psychologist is also responsible for psycho-educational, emotional and career assessments of the learners. These assessments are used to gain understanding of the learners’ functioning, ability and interventions needed. It may be necessary for your child to have a cognitive, emotional or career assessment. Should this be the case, you will be contacted and feedback will be given once the assessment has been completed.
When the counsellor or psychologist does psychotherapy or counselling with your child or your family, confidentiality is respected at all times. However, in order to render a holistic service, at times it may be necessary to share information with other team members e.g. teachers or other therapists. Only information that is essential to rendering a quality service to you and your family will be shared.