Latrobe Special Developmental School has allied health staff available to work with students (and their families) across the school. The team uses an integrated approach to delivering allied health program working together with teaching staff to develop goals and present therapy activity/programs.
The Allied Health Team at Latrobe Special Developmental School uses an integrated approach to delivering allied health programs working together with teaching staff to develop goals and present therapy activities/programs. The allied health team is made up of a Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist and Physiotherapist who have expertise in a range of areas including play and social skill development, gross and fine motor development, hydrotherapy, communication, mealtime assistance, exercise programs, mobility and movement development and sensory integration.
Each team member has expertise is the following areas:
The School Occupational Therapist is regularly consulted regarding individual sensory programs/diets for students.
Sensory processing is the way that our bodies take in information through our senses. This information is organized in our central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) in order for us to be able to understand, react and interact appropriately with the world around us.
Many of our students have sensory processing difficulties were the information coming in from the senses is not interpreted efficiently and the CNS (brain and spinal cord) is unable, or has difficulty making sense of the incoming message.
Sensory processing involves seven senses including auditory (hearing), tactile (touch), gustatory (taste), Olfactory (smell), vestibular (movement/balance) and proprioception (body awareness). Our school focuses on developing sensory processing skills and adapting program to suit student’s individual sensory processing needs. We have various sensory programs running throughout the school.
We have two multi-sensory rooms and a sensory garden for students to access. We have flexible break and outside play times e.g. were students can go outside when feeling over stimulated. The school Occupational Therapist is regularly consulted regarding individual sensory programs/diets for students.
Some students at Latrobe SDS have swallowing difficulties (dysphagia). In consultation with parents/ carers and allied health staff, the teacher ensures that students are able to work on individual mealtime goals. Where appropriate we use a variety of adapted cutlery, plates and cups to enable students to achieve independent and safe eating & drinking. We are currently trialling the use of a ‘Motor-Straw Drink Dispenser’ made by Australian Inventor Graham Tyson.
Some students use Electronic Communication Devices. These devices usually have a visual display (Boardmaker pictures, photos, etc) to represent messages (questions, comments, other phrases, news). When the student activates the picture, the device ‘speaks’ that message. The Speech Pathologist will assess students and determine the need for an electronic communication device. An application for funding through the Yooralla Aids & Equipment Program Electronic Communication Devices for School-Aged Children will be made after consultation with parents/ carers.
We use key-word signing (that is, use Auslan signs as we speak) in combination with speech, PECS and electronic communication devices. There are benefits for the development of a student’s expressive and receptive communication skills through the use of key-word signing.
We teach The 9 Critical Communication Skills here at Latrobe SDS. There are five expressive communication skills: 1) Asking for desired items, 2) Asking for help, 3) Asking for a break, 4) Responding ‘yes’, 5) Responding ‘no’ and 4 receptive skills: 6) responding to ‘wait’, 7) transitioning between activities, 8) following functional directions & 9) following a schedule.