An Independent Occupational therapist, Lizelle Keyser, visits Whitefield Schools one day a week. Referrals are made by the class teacher, by completing and emailing a referral form. Depending on the request on the referral, she will book a classroom observation and teachers consultation before giving advice.
Please discuss with your child’s class teacher, if you are interested in your child being referred.
Helping children to develop and thrive
All children have a very important job to do — to grow, learn, socialise and play. They do this every day by exploring the boundaries of their abilities. When they are successful, children develop and thrive and this sense of achievement makes them happy.
However, children with learning, emotional, psychological, sensory or physical difficulties, may find this play and exploration difficult for a number of reasons.
Some children may be highly sensitive to touch or noise, which can result in a fight-or-flight response when faced with basic activities at home and in the classroom. Noisy, or visually exciting environments may be overwhelming, getting messy may overwhelm the sensation of touch.
The opposite can also true. A child with a high sensory need (called sensory seeking) for movement or touch may want to touch everything and everybody. They might enjoy rocking, pacing, jumping, hopping, clapping their hands which can both fulfill their sensory needs, but may also be a calming and coping mechanism when faced with stress. Some children will also do these self-stimulating activities, to show their excitement and enjoyment of activities.
The result can be difficulties with basic activities at home such as getting dressed or brushing their teeth or difficulty at school concentrating in class having the confidence to take part in playground games, making friends or fitting in.
An occupational therapist can help
Occupational therapists (OTs) work with the child, parents and teachers to find solutions to minimise the difficulties children face, helping them get the most from life. The difficulties can be within the following areas (but not inclusive):
- Hand skills and handwriting
- Gross motor skills, balance & coordination
- Sensory needs such as sensory sensitivity or sensory seeking
- Self-care skills such as bathing, grooming, toileting, sleeping, eating
Lizelle has supplied the following handouts which have useful information and practical advice: