Specialist Education

Occupational Therapy at Dilston College


Occupational therapists support people with all types of learning disabilities to help them continue with life skills, work and leisure activities as independently as possible. They will:


• Work with individuals, families and support workers so they understand the importance of taking part in everyday activities

• Help people with learning disabilities to get involved in activities around the home, such as cooking

• Help people to live independently

• Encourage use of public transport so people with learning disabilities can access community facilities

• Support people into mainstream voluntary work or employment


The Occupational Therapist (OT) works in a number of different ways at college.


During transition- supporting students to start at college

The Occupational Therapist will use information from previous placements and initial observations of the student to ensure the college provides a suitable environment to meet students’ physical and sensory needs.


Universal Service (which all students are able to benefit from)

The OT works across the whole college team to ensure that all staff have the knowledge, skills and tools to support students with their daily activities, independence skills and sensory needs.

There are a number of environmental therapeutic approaches which are accessible to all students in college. These include the following:


• Low stimulus environments

• Sensory room and therapy swing

• Safe space

• Outdoor gym

• Classroom seating arrangements

• Movement breaks


Targeted Input

Some of our students have bespoke approaches/strategies which are specific to their needs. These include:


• Adaptive equipment e.g. specialist cutlery, shower seats

• Sensory equipment e.g. multisensory boxes, fidgets, wobble cushions, gym balls etc

• Sensory circuits i.e. physical activities which are used to alert, organise and calm students

• Sensory strategies


These are implemented by the OT and used/monitored by the education and care staff who work with the students on a daily basis. Progress and effectiveness is regularly reviewed by the SLT.


The OT also works directly with teaching and care staff to enable them to support students with their education sessions, daily activities, independence skills and sensory needs.




The OT carries out a number of direct interventions with students based on their needs, including the following:

• Increasing independence skills e.g. personal care, dressing, household tasks

• Enabling safe travel e.g. assessing and managing risk, use of buckle safes and harnesses

• Emotional wellbeing including managing feelings

• Supporting students to access education


Universal and targeted approaches remain in place across the full 52 weeks of the year, ensuring that students have access to their occupational therapy support tools at all times and have appropriately trained staff who are aware of their needs. Specialist interventions take place during term time, for 38 weeks of the year.