THERAPY IN THE JUNIOR PHASE
The aim of therapy within the Junior Phase is the development of communication, independence and language for life skills.
SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPY
Speech and language therapy aims to improve the speech, language and communication skills in of each child. Therapy is focussed on maximising a child’s language and communication for optimal learning, independence and social interaction. Therapy aims are devised specifically for each learner and these aims form the basis of the Individual Development Programs in Therapy. Parents are encouraged to be a part of the process, and may communicate with the therapists to address concerns and questions at any stage.
Therapy may occur on an individual, a small group and/or a class group level. The therapist integrates themes or concepts done in the classroom in order to assist with the transfer and carry over of skills taught on an individual level. Homework and communication between the therapist and parents occurs within the learner’s therapy book.
Speech and language therapy focusses on
- Improving a child’s speech. This involves improving clarity, articulation and fluency.
- Improving receptive and expressive language
Children often have difficulty both with the understanding and expression of language. This can be in any or all of the following areas:
Form of the language – grammar
Content of language – vocabulary
Use of language – sentence construction and word order on a written and verbal level.
Therapy is aimed at improving the child’s abilities in all areas required as identified in screenings and diagnostic therapy.
For children who are non-verbal, Alternative Augmentative Communication approaches are used to promote communication, encourage independence and reduce frustration. We use Sign Language (based on the Tiny Hands program) communication boards and visual schedules.
- Improving auditory processing skills.
Auditory skills such as effective listening, blending, syllabification and rhyming are also targeted when necessary to complement the acquisition of spelling, reading and phonics skills in the classroom.
- Improving Social language skills. Therapy is aimed at equipping children with the necessary social language skills, so that are able to function in a variety of social situations. Basic skills such as eye contact, turn taking, greetings and expressing needs and feelings are targeted in class groups and individual therapy. Other skills such as conversational rules, safety and addressing various different people are also important in our social language programs.
Occupational therapy is concerned with the promotion of health and wellbeing through activities of daily living. Occupational therapy aims to utilize a holistic approach whereby each child is provided the opportunity to develop the foundation skills required for optimal engagement within their everyday environment. Children are helped to require the necessary fine, motor and perceptual skills for everyday tasks such as tying shoelaces as well as for the development of letter formation, and writing.
Therapy occurs on an individual and group level. The learners attend weekly gross motor and activities of daily living groups. Homework and communication between the therapist and parents occurs within the learner’s Therapy book.
The Occupational Therapist also works closely within the classroom to transfer the skills learnt in O.T. sessions .
THERAPY FOCUSES ON THE FOLLOWING AREAS:
- GROSS MOTOR SKILLS such as muscle tone, postural control, bilateral integration, sensory processing and modulation difficulties, etc.
- FINE MOTOR SKILLS such as fine motor precision skills, pencil control, cutting skills, pre-writing skills, writing skills, etc.
- PERCEPTUAL AREA such as basic concepts, spatial awareness, visual figure ground, visual discrimination, visual memory, etc.
- ACTIVITIESOF DAILY LIVING such as buttoning, tying shoelaces, independent dressing skills, etc.
- SENSORY INTERGRATION. This is a specialized approach and is implemented when necessary.
THE ROLE OF THE PSYCHOLOGIST
The Psychologist deals with the social and emotional well-being and development of the learners, parents and staff of Unity College. The psychologist provides psychotherapy, play therapy, parent counselling and group therapy as required.
The therapists may focus on behaviour difficulties (e.g. anger outbursts, bullying, and poor self-esteem), relationship problems (e.g. friendships, child-parent relationships, family interaction, and sibling rivalry), loss (e.g. divorce, death) and trauma (e.g. accident, hi-jacking).
Personal and Social Skills groups:
Each class in the Junior Phase receives one thirty minute personal and social skills group per week. The purpose of these groups is to help the learners develop their intra- and interpersonal skills through games and activities. Intrapersonal skills include being able to identify, acknowledge and express one’s own emotions appropriately as well as being able to recognise and respond to other people’s emotions. These skills are important for children to be able to regulate their own behaviour and adjust to their environments. Interpersonal skills such as turn taking, sharing, and following instructions are necessary to help the learners develop meaningful relationships with their peers and educators as well as to help them learn appropriate classroom and social behaviours.
It may be necessary for your child to have a cognitive or emotional assessment. Should this be the case, you will be contacted and feedback will be given once the assessment has been completed.
Confidentiality is maintained at all times when psychotherapy, counselling or assessment is undertaken with the child and/or his family. However, in order to render the most effective and holistic service, at times it may be necessary to share specific information with other team members e.g. teachers or other therapists. Only information that is essential for rendering a quality service to you and your family will be shared.