At The Walnuts, we are lucky to be supported by our own in house therapy team. The team are fully integrated into the school, supporting our provision at all levels and working side by side with classroom staff and parents.

This collaborative way of working is supported by the SCERTS model (Social Communication, Emotional Regulation & Transactional Support SCERTS is designed to help families, educators and therapists work together to address the core challenges faced by children with ASD. It provides a framework for the extensive range of therapy approaches used across the school. These include but are not limited to Lego Therapy, Intensive Interaction, Attention Autism, Talkabout, Socially Speaking, low and high tech AAC’s, Sensory Integration Therapy in addition to a range of social and emotional regulation supports.

The team provides regular training, liaison and joint working with teaching staff and parents to advise on relevant skills and provide resources where appropriate.

Occupational Therapy (OT)

Occupational therapists are knowledgeable about sensory, motor, cognitive and emotional development and about how to promote the students engagement, exploration and skill acquisition.

Speech & Language Therapy (S&LT)

At The Walnuts we recognise that each student is a unique individual; however, the underlying difficulty for every Walnuts student lies in the area of communication. We therefore provide an environment where spoken language is clear and precise and, where appropriate, augmentative or alternative strategies are used to enable non-verbal learners to understand and communicate successfully, enabling them to respond and interact to their full capacity. These might include the use of objects of reference, representational objects, photographs, symbols or written words according to the individual needs of the child. We use the SCERTS model (Social Communication Emotional Regulation Transactional Support) as a framework to support our students.

The speech and language therapists work closely with the occupational, art and movement therapists to support the child’s communication development and emotional regulation/wellbeing.

Universal OT Provision

Staff and parents have regular bespoke training from the occupational therapists on a range of topics including emotional regulation, sensory needs and motor skills.

Students have access to a range of specialist resources including, soft play, sensory rooms, calming and alerting sensory bags.

All students receive emotional regulation approaches targeted at SCERTS communication stage e.g. offering regulating objects, feelings and strategy cards.

Zones of regulation is a whole school approach for which each classroom has the visual support for this displayed.

On going advice from the Therapy Team.

Universal S&LT Provision

Staff and parents are offered regular bespoke training from the speech and language therapists on a range of topics including: using objects/symbols to support language and communication; developing play and interaction skills; developing social skills to enable conversations and interacting with peers.

Staff are supported to create “communication friendly” classroom environments.

All students are supported to be able to communicate their emotions using behavioural or/and language strategies relative to their SCERTS communication stage.

Targeted OT Provision

Access to sensory programmes designed by OT and implemented by support staff

  • Sensory circuits

  • Structured walks

  • Weighted equipment

  • Access to calming and alerting activity packs

Targeted S&LT Provision

Access to speech and language programmes designed by SALT and implemented by support staff, focusing on play, language, interaction and social skills.

Joint working with support staff to enable them to carry out specific activities on a daily basis in small group activities.

Specialist OT Provision

We provide occupational therapy specialist assessment and sessions for children and young people with sensory motor challenges.

Therapy sessions can be provided to help manage sensory needs, promote motor skill development, perceptual development, independence, self-confidence and self-esteem.

Goals are set at the beginning of therapy, sometimes we will recommend a block of individual or small group sessions.

Specialist S&LT Provision

The speech and language therapists carry out specialist assessments and provide highly individualised programmes for children referred through a provision meeting, as well as meeting EHCP requirements.

Some children require assessment and in the first instance specialist intervention, to implement high tech alternative augmentative communication (AAC) systems such as iPads using a communication app.