....An Occupational Therapist
An Occupational Therapist or OT can be found throughout Cambian facilities supporting students and patients through the use of activity. We look at everyone as an individual and ask them what they feel is the most important part of their treatment process. Involving the individual in their treatment plan is one of the professions core principles. We believe this keeps the person feeling involved in their care and can increase their motivation.
We look at an individuals Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s). This is broken down into 3 areas, Productivity, Self Care and Leisure. Every individual is different and requires a treatment plan specific to their needs. Assessment of an individuals function in these three areas allows the OT to then draw up a treatment plan to find the best way to meet that persons needs. The MOHO model and assessment tools are frequently used during our assessment process.
Structure is an area that OT’s focus on as it helps an individual to organise themselves and their time more effectively. Through introducing structure we aim to make more of a productive use of time to help motivate and engage.
We believe that the environment is an important part of an individual’s rehabilitation and often use activities in the community as part of the treatment process. Community reintegration and social inclusion are part of the treatment process used within Cambian. Either in groups or in a 1:1 situation access to the community is encouraged and supported. We access the community to help build confidence, increase communication and interaction skills, develop budget skills, use of public transport and re-engage in activities of interest.
At Cambian we have worked hard to make links with local colleges and businesses to help construct vocational options. Individuals who want to attend college, voluntary or paid work are supported using the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model.
As OT’s we look to maximise an individual’s independence and skill set through the use of activity. Our goal is to assist an individual in reaching their maximum functional potential. In]doing this we hope to provide them with the skills to live as independently as they can.
....A Speech and Language Therapist
A Speech and Language Therapist(SLT) is one of those people who you see popping up all over the place at Hill House School: in classrooms, residential houses, dining rooms, satellite houses, on school buses and in meeting rooms to name but a few! The question is what are we doing there?
There are 2 SLTs at the school and our goal is to make sure that the students develop the spontaneous, functional communication skills that they need for living, learning and developing independence that will allow them to live at their full potential. All of the students have very limited communication skills, some are unable to use spoken language and some are unable to effectively understand spoken language. In order to support this we want to create a range of opportunities for them to make choices and communicate their needs as well as support them to understand what is happening in their environment.
To do this we need to know the communication strengths and weaknesses of each individual student. We spend time in the different parts of the school across their day, observing how each student communicates and interacts with others and then they can use this information to build a profile of their communication skills. The SLT will share this with all the people that are part of that student’s life so that they know the best ways to communicate with them and train everyone in contact with the students to use the strategies that are recommended – that explains some of the meetings!
The SLT has a very hands-on role too; we work with the students to develop their communication skills and enable them to join in their 24 hour curriculum through carefully designed interventions. We work with groups of students, in houses or classrooms, delivering story-telling sessions or with individual students to help them develop their understanding of spoken language. We aim to make communicating as meaningful as possible for the students so we lead activities, sometimes in the houses, which encourage them to use all communication methods to have fun for example making Knickerbocker Glories or joining in an outing.
Equal importance is given to supporting the individual’s understanding and use of spoken language. In order to do this we advise and train staff on individualised communication strategies to support each individual. This may be a high-tech communication device such as an Ipad or a lower-tech (but as effective) approach such as the Picture Exchange Communication System which fits well with most students’ previous experience and is an alternative/augmentative communication system used across the school and satellite homes 24 / 7. Visual schedules, Social Stories and other TEACCH strategies are used across the day to support the students’ understanding of what is expected of them. We work alongside staff to introduce these tools to students and help everyone to use them routinely.
All in all this means that we have a varied and interesting day to day life at Hill House. Today we may start with a meeting, work in the classrooms, support a student in the dining room and end with an activity in a satellite house. Tomorrow may be completely different!