In line with national Occupational Therapy services, the Cornwall Children’s Community Therapy Team has changed the way we support children who are referred with regard to sensory difficulties.
There are a number of children within mainstream classes who demonstrate some difficulties with processing sensory information. Being able to provide strategies when difficulties first arise is important in enabling these children to feel comfortable in the school environment and consequently fully access learning opportunities.
For the next 2 years (September 2019 – July 2021) we will be piloting a series of friendly interactive workshops called Work, Rest and Play the Sensory Way (WRAPS).
We are continuing our established sensory processing workshop for parents and carers following very positive feedback. In addition we are now offering training for SENCos to enable them to support the needs of children in their school.
These courses are much sought after by parents and SENCos. They provide participants with insight into the difficulties experienced by children with sensory processing difficulties and strategies to support them. These strategies can be used every day to support the child in development, learning and play.
By participating in the WRAPS programme, parents and teaching staff can learn from our Occupational Therapists as well as each other.
With this approach we aim to reduce the waiting times for Occupational Therapy so we can be more responsive in supporting children and families with the most complex needs.
The pathway is for children from School Entry to 8 years of age. Children below school entry age who meet our service criteria will be seen on an individual basis. Children over the age of 8 years will be signposted to other sources of information and support such as Parenting Courses via the Early Help Hub and the Wellbeing and Autism Wheel (Cornwall Council website).
UNIVERSAL - SENCo Training
The training provides an understanding of individual sensory differences and needs, enabling teachers to identify and support sensory challenges faced by children within the school environment. On completion of this training SENCos will be asked to disseminate learning within their school(s) so that basic strategies are introduced as needed to support pupils' sensory regulation.
STAGE ONE – Parent Training (for parents of children referred to our service)
Referral criteria (refer to CCTS Referral and Exclusion Criteria)
The child's SENCO must have attended the above training before a referral will be accepted.
In line with existing referral criteria the child must be experiencing sensory difficulties which are affecting their development and functional skills. Areas of functional skills may include:
- Getting dressed
- Participation in classroom activities
- Personal care
We would be grateful if you could support us by clearly identifying the functional skills which are affected when making the referral and the desired outcome. If functional skills are not identified, the referral will be rejected, or sent back to you requesting further information. The referral should be completed jointly with parent(s) / carer.
What does the Parent/Carer training involve?
The training is a half-day workshop for parents/ carers (children do not attend).
It will provide an introduction to parents/carers on the theory and reasons why their child may be experiencing sensory difficulties and some strategies to help.
For some children having parents and teaching staff understand their needs and being able to introduce simple strategies is all that is required, and further participation in workshops may not be necessary.
STAGE TWO - Combined Parent/Teaching Staff Workshops
Stage Two can be requested up to six months following Stage One.
Parent and SENCo will be expected to complete a STAGE TWO request form to confirm they have both attended the Parent/Universal Training respectively and to highlight strategies already tried, the outcome and reason for a Stage 2 request.
Parents and SENCos will be asked to complete a sensory profile together (online).
Following completion of the sensory profile parents and school will be offered a joint workshop.
This workshop is for parents/carers to attend alongside a member of their child's teaching staff. They will involve working together to understand the child's individual sensory difficulties and identify support strategies.
Following these workshops parents and teaching staff will be expected to implement the agreed strategies for at least a half term period. We anticipate that for most children their parent(s) /carer's and Teaching Staff will now be able to adequately support their sensory needs.
STAGE THREE - Phone-in Clinic with an Occupational Therapist
This is a phone in clinic for those experiencing ongoing functional challenges. Appointments can be booked by parent/carer or SENCO by an email request to:-
For a small number of children, at this stage depending on clinical need, an Occupational Therapy appointment with the child will be considered (Stage 4).