The Physiotherapy Department is staffed by a team of specialist physiotherapists, who are responsible for the planning, delivery and evaluation of high quality programmes to promote the physical management of pupils and to ensure that all pupils reach their physical potential. This may be through assessment, group work, physical education, hydrotherapy and individual therapy using mainly a neuro-developmental approach. The physiotherapists collaborate with all other disciplines in the school to improve practice and raise pupil achievement.
The physiotherapist supports the team, gives advice on good facilitation of movement and on safe moving and handling techniques. All physiotherapists are trained as trainers of Moving and Handling Techniques and provide all staff with initial training and on going updates. This ensures that staff work in the best possible way, are aware of their own spinal posture and are able to physically manage the needs of the pupils.
Children with speech and language difficulties
Group work and individual sessions are provided with the physiotherapist taking responsibility for identifying those pupils who would benefit from a physiotherapeutic approach to their movement disorder and providing a structured programme in a small group setting.
Pupils in the Speech and Language Department classes often have sensory processing problems alongside their other diagnoses. This means that these pupils struggle to achieve and maintain an ideal level of alertness to work and they are not always successful in responding appropriately to the demands that the environment and their own bodies put upon them.
Physiotherapists alongside Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists at Percy Hedley School have received formal training in Sensory Integration Therapy. The principles of this approach and resulting strategies employed are used to help the pupils to function within their own comfort zones and to achieve and maintain an ideal level of alertness in the classroom.
Staff have also attended training to learn about the Alert Programme. This programme assists students to understand the basic theory of sensory integration related to levels of alertness and concentration. The primary focus is to help children to learn to monitor, maintain and change their level of alertness so that it is appropriate to a situation or task.
In the classes in the Speech and Language Department, the curriculum is delivered in a Physically Active Multi-sensory (PAMS) way. This approach allows for maximum kinaesthetic and sensory input throughout the school day and facilitates the pupils’ access to the curriculum. The PAMS curriculum approach can be used in a variety of ways; as a whole lesson in its entirety, in short bursts, as specific activities linked to the lesson content and at transition times between activities or lessons.
Children with Cerebral Palsy and other neurological conditions
All physiotherapists working with these pupils have training in Conductive Education and work in a uniquely integrated way in collaboration with teachers, conductors, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and nursery nurses to provide a consistent, structured approach to the physical management of the pupils throughout the school day. They are responsible for the daily motor programmes and the generalisation of these skills into all aspects of the pupils daily life. The Conductive Education motor task programmes for learning to change position and place, and for learning to promote standing and walking provide the basis for the work of the physiotherapist but opportunities are grasped so that the learning can take place in functional settings appropriately and the physiotherapist will be available in the classroom to facilitate pupils at all times.