THERAPY IN THE JUNIOR PHASE
The aim of all therapy within the junior phase is the development of independence. The therapists aim at developing the best functionality within each child with the development of skills specific to each therapy.
SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPY
Speech and language therapy aims to develop speech, language and communication skills in each child. Communication skills form a basis for reasoning and cognition and enhance language required for learning in the classroom. Speech and language therapy aims to enable the child to be functional in everyday life and to interact with others in their environment. The parents are also encouraged to be a part of the process. Therapy may occur on an individual, a small group and/or a class group level. The therapist also integrates class activities in order 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.
The Thrass method is a phonics system used in the classroom by the teachers. This is also incorporated into therapy where relevant.
THERAPY FOCUSES ON 3 MAIN AREAS:
1. SPEECH DISORDERS e.g. articulation errors, phonological errors, oral apraxia and voice and fluency disorders such as stuttering.
2. LANGUAGE IMPAIRMENT
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 writing, word order etc.
For young children who are non-verbal augmentative modes of communication are used to encourage independence and reduce frustration e.g. Makaton signs, PECS, communication boards and picture symbols.
3. AUDITORY PROCESSING SKILLS
Auditory skills such as blending, syllabification and rhyming are also targeted to complement the acquisition of spelling, reading and phonics skills.
Occupational therapy aims at promoting the development of all the building blocks essential for learning e.g. sensory development, sensory motor development and perceptual motor development that are required for academic skills as well as encouraging the development of independence.
Therapy occurs on an individual and group level. The learners may receive the following weekly groups: gross motor and activities of daily living groups. Homework and communication between the therapist and parents occurs within the learner’s homework book.
In addition to the scheduled times, the O.T.’s also integrate into the classroom to reinforce the transfer of skills learnt in O.T. sessions, into the children’s class work.
THERAPY FOCUSES ON THE FOLLOWING AREAS:
1. GROSS MOTOR SKILLS such as muscle tone, postural control, bilateral integration, sensory processing and modulation difficulties etc.
2. FINE MOTOR SKILLS such as fine motor precision skills, pencil control, cutting skills, pre-writing skills, writing skills etc.
3. PERCEPTUAL AREA such as basic concepts, spatial awareness, visual figure ground, visual discrimination, visual memory etc.
4. ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING such as buttoning, tying shoelaces, independent dressing skills etc.
THE ROLE OF THE PSYCHOLOGIST
The psychologist 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 social skills groups all form part of this therapy.
The therapists may also focus on behaviour difficulties (e.g. anger outbursts, bullying, and poor self-esteem), relationship problems (e.g. friendships, child-parent relationships, family interaction, sibling rivalry), loss (e.g. divorce, death), and trauma (e.g. accident, hi-jacking).
Personal and social skills:
Each junior phase class receives one thirty minute personal social skills group a week. The purpose of these groups is to help the learners develop their intra- and interpersonal skills through games and activities such as puppets and role play. 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. The groups also focus on developing the learners’ intrapersonal awareness. The aim is for learners to identify and label their emotions that they experience and recognise others’ emotions. The therapist uses experiences within the learners’ frame of reference to promote the advancement of these skills.
Confidentiality is respected at all times when psychotherapy or counselling is undertaken with the child or his family. 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.
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.