This is the first training I have been on that was a clear ‘fit’ for me. I could picture our pupils in all of your examples. I feel I know how to help them better now

Support for Learning Assistant
Introduction from Callum (Founder & Specialist Occupational Therapist)

Over the last few months, my OT students and I have been working with the amazing pupils, and fab teaching team, at Kinnaird Primary School in Larbert.

It all started when Sandra Craig (Depute Head Teacher) and I got in touch with each other to discuss what we are doing at bOunceT, and what they want/needed at the school.

The Proposal

To ensure we set off on the right foot, I worked with Sandra and her team at the school to write a proposal. This made sure we were both clear about the expectations of our work together.

In the proposal, we agreed to do the following:

  1. ‘Sensory, Sensory, Sensory!’ Staff Training.
    The training events facilitated were for two groups: SLA’s & Teachers.
    We were very flexible to suit the needs of the staff working in school, so we held the Support for Learning Assistant (SLA) training over one ‘half day’ sitting (during an in-service day) – then we were able to host 3x 1.5 hours training sessions for the Teachers (after the pupils left school, on set days).

    In addition, it was agreed this presentation could be voiced over so the school always had a resource for new staff to access – and to be used as a refresher for all staff when needed.
  2. 3 hours of support per pupil – 10 pupils
    This included:
    -Classroom observations & chat with teaching staff
    -Completion of an online Sensory Profile 2 assessment [both the standard parents version & School Companion screening assessments].
    -Production of a summary OT report.

Additionally, the school dedicated part of their budget to purchasing sensory equipment and other inclusive play equipment for every classroom. This will allow all pupils the access to sensory opportunities throughout the day to support self regulation.

The Learning

Right from the get-go, it was fantastic to see everyone in the school be so passionate and genuinely want to help their pupils achieve more and thrive.

The first thing I needed to do with all the staff was ‘talk sensory’. I wanted to find out what language/ references/ words were being used…how…when…and what all of this meant for their pupils.

So, straight into the new year I went in to deliver the Sensory, Sensory, Sensory training [alongside Sharon Craighead from Chattersense SCIO].

Sensory, Sensory, Sensory!

We wanted to make the training sessions as practical as possible – this really is the best way to learn, and one of the few ways for staff to really understand what we are talking about sensory wise (as we all have a sensory system and process things in different ways).

We had staff sitting on the equipment – and we even dedicated specific time for them to play!
Here’s some of the equipment in the school gym – perfect for making this training interactive and fun!

The training sessions were great fun!

All staff appeared really motivated and excited about how to use equipment – and just general sensory strategies without equipment – with their pupils in school! You could see they were fully engaged throughout the whole training session and valued having their questions answered and thoughts clarified!

For the (multiple) teacher training sessions, we followed the same model of being active/ practical. This really was needed after a long day at work in the classroom – we all needed to keep moving to stay focused! This helped reinforce how beneficial movement and deep pressure can be for our self regulation.

The Assessments & Classroom Observations

The Sensory Profile 2 (standardised screening assessment) was used as one of the main ways to help identify each pupils sensory needs and better understand how to support them.

Initially, I spent time with each pupil and their teacher and/or key worker to both observe communications and behaviours across school environments, and discuss any presenting challenges.

Linking this to the sensory training, the word ‘hyper’ was over used (in my opinion) and we discussed what staff might really mean by that.

For example, are the children and young people ‘seeking’ movement or deep pressure – or are they ‘avoiding’ noise and/or touch.

The Sensory Profile 2 is a great standardised screening assessment that helps build a ‘profile’ of a young person by categorizing their sensory needs into 4 quadrants.

Here’s some examples of the report that can be auto generated from the assessments’ online system –

Sensory needs can be profiled and understood better when being split into each sense and different behavioral responses

Teachers can answer the School Companion element of this assessment too. This means the results can be compared to parents and carers – highlighting any similarities or differences between how the child or young person is presenting across different environments.

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At bOunceT, we have invested in purchasing the latest technology from Pearson’s Assessment website – QGlobal. As a result, we have been able to email parents and teachers links to completing the standardised assessment online with ease (even from a phone or iPad!). The feedback was gathered in one site, then a formal summary report was auto-generated, with the click of one button.

OT Reports & Feedback

In addition to the auto generated report that is produced by QGlobal, I took time to package a more tailored report that suggested sensory play and activities, linked to what the Sensory Profile suggested their needs might be.

An example of some suggestions are here –

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, some young people’s reports displayed they were very different at school, compared to home – or vice versa!

This highlighted that further assessment is needed (from a range of professionals and services) to help determine what/where are the sensory needs vs other factors like delayed development and/or motor skills.

Sandra (DHT) believes the collaboration between bOunceT and Kinnaird Primary School is an example of innovative partnership working between the public sector and third sector services.

We have been unable to access Occupational Therapy support recently, so to be able to work with Bounce OT on a project like this has been fantastic. Our staff have benefited from the learning and training, now our pupils are benefiting as a result.

In summary, this was a great experience for bOunceT to be part of and it sounds like the school (and their pupils) have benefited from the support we have provided.

I want this to be used an example of best practice and a showcase for innovative ways of working between services, across different sectors, who are working towards the same goals/ vision [for the people they support].

P.S. if you’re interested in learning more about this ‘package’ … or if you want to discuss how we might be able to tailor support to you/ your school/ organisation… just get in touch.

Callum 🙂

Director & Specialist Occupational Therapist

E: callum@bouncet.com / T: 07415 323683

Office: hello@bouncet.com / T: 01786

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