A team of on-site therapists support the school, including Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, a Music Therapist and Assistant Psychologists, supervised by a Consultant Clinical and Educational Psychologist. Three Nurses also work alongside the team.

Additional therapists are brought in as required to support individual needs. The therapy teams are dedicated to improving the functional communication, independence skills and behaviour and mental health of the students and young people in our care. The multi-disciplinary team supports staff and works closely with parents, families and professionals to create a co-ordinated and consistent programme of education and care using the Therapy Wave Model outlined here.

The expertise of the therapeutic teams ensures that all the requirements of pupils' statements of special educational needs are met, including pupils' sensory needs, their fine and gross motor skills and visual perceptual skills. Consequently, pupils' verbal and non-verbal communication skills, emotional development, social interaction and independence are promoted extremely well.

Ofsted inspection report, October 2013

Communication and Speech and Language Therapy

We recognise that communication is a key deficit within autism and therefore ensure a high level of communication input. The onsite team of Speech and Language Therapists have extensive expertise working with young people with autism. They develop individualised communication programmes for each student to support them in all settings. Programmes are delivered by trained therapists and teachers throughout the student’s waking day and replicated by support workers in education and residential settings as well as in the community to reinforce and generalise skills learnt.

Using a range of strategies, resources and stimulating environments the team develop students’ non-verbal and verbal communication abilities, facilitate social interaction, attention and understanding. The speech therapy aims are focussed on developing independence, spontaneous communication initiation and emotional development such as self esteem and self assertiveness. As part of our total communication approach we use photos, pictures and symbols (including PECS - Picture Exchange Communication System), signing (including Signalong), physical, gestural and verbal prompts, objects of reference, Social Stories and augmentative electronic devices (AAC) such as iPads.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy is a health profession that is concerned with how people function throughout their day and works on helping people to be as independent as possible. The main aim of Occupational Therapy at Prior’s Court is to enable the young people to be able to engage throughout their waking day. For example this may involve strategies to help them attend classroom sessions or self-care skills in their homes to help them become independent.

Our onsite Occupational Therapy team has sensory integration training to provide strategies to support sensory processing using our specialist facilities as well as recommending programmes of activities that meet sensory needs. Sensory diets offer a balanced schedule of relaxation versus stimulation including sensory-based lessons, regular choice time with sensory items, regular activity breaks throughout the daily routine and 'Intensive Interaction' during transition periods or when the opportunity arises.

Occupational therapy at Prior’s Court also focuses on providing programmes to develop fine and gross motor skills, visual perceptual skills and daily living activities

Music Therapy

A qualified music therapist provides music therapy sessions to meet individual student needs and help development of skills such as communication, self-expression and interaction. The music therapist sees students either on a one-to-one basis or in small groups to encourage social interaction.

Psychology

A Consultant Clinical and Educational Psychologist and team of Assistant Psychologists primarily support students' behaviour management programmes, planning strategies to promote self-management of behaviours associated with autism. The team work with staff in all departments to provide positive behaviour management strategies.

Medical department

Registered nurses give medical support, supervising students’ medication and supporting staff training, liaising with the school doctor and local surgery, CAMHS and other external medical and dental services. Staff are fully trained for this aspect of their work.

Additional therapists such as art and drama therapists are brought in as required to provide therapy to meet students' statemented requirements.

The on-site multi-disciplinary team includes Horticulture, Countryside Learning and Swimming Instructors as well as an Activities Co-ordinator and Family Support Manager.