Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy (OT) helps children and young people to achieve or maintain their level of independence so that they can lead full and happy lives and reach chosen goals. Occupational therapists will do this by looking at the individual, their occupations (e.g. learning, playing, self-care) and the environment. If these three things are not working together then it can be hard to take part in what you need and want to do.

At Dysart School, the OT team supports school staff and families in helping pupils to reach their maximum potential in achieving these everyday activities. This might include; accessing learning, eating, dressing, playing and having fun.

We look at a child’s;

  • Fine Motor Skills such as handwriting
  • Gross Motor Skills such as accessing outdoor play equipment
  • Sensory Processing such as concentrating on learning activities
  • Self Care Skills such as getting changed for PE

The Occupational Therapy Team:

  •  Lisa Sorfleet, Occupational Therapist
  •  Shannen Valdes, Occupational Therapist
  •  Rebecca Ingram, Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Sarah Carver, Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Lucy Gay, Occupational Therapy Assistant

Our ways of working

Occupational Therapy at Dysart School is based on a range of evidence-based interventions. Our current way of working, which is in line with the recent review of therapy services in the boroughs of Kingston and Richmond, is based on an integrated approach.

As part of this approach, we work collaboratively with the multidisciplinary team alongside school staff, Physiotherapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Educational Psychologists and School Nurses. We also work closely with families to encourage continuity between home and school settings, as this ensures maximum benefits for the child.

Our integrated approach is set out in three parts, Universal, Targeted and Specialist provision. Your child may access some or all of these at different times during their educational journey. For example, once a period of targeted or specialist intervention has been completed, your child will return to support outlined in the universal service level.

Dysart Master SQ

Universal Service Level

The role of the OT service at this level is to support all children and young people who attend Dysart school. It’s aim is to embed strategies into each classroom, ensuring consolidation of skills so that children are able to access learning. This will include;

  •  Signposting to useful resources such as the OT pages on the Local Offer Website
  •  Upskilling and empowering class staff and families through training and workshops
  • Ad-hoc advice and consultation for all school staff
  • Whole class advice and strategies and how to embed these
  • Environmental assessments and ideas on how best to set up the classroom to support learning
  • Termly classroom observations and teacher meetings to problem solve difficulties seen in  the classroom

Targeted Service Level

The role of the OT service at this level is to provide specific intervention for individuals or groups of children to support their access to learning. Children who are still experiencing difficulties in accessing learning after input through the universal provision will access this service level. This will include:

  • Access to group sessions
  • Specific skill based training and advice dependent on individual class needs
  • Input into specific individual pupil plans e.g. Communication Passports
  • Input into the child’s annual review


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Specialist Service Level

Individual therapy is occasionally needed to carry out specific assessments and intervention. This is completed as part of the specialist service level and is accessed by;

  •  Individuals whose needs can’t be met through universal or targeted service levels
  •  Children and young people with OT on their EHCP where additional funding has been provided by SEN
  •  New children to the school who haven’t had a prior OT assessment within the last 12 months
  •  Children approaching a point of transition (e.g. Key Stage Transfer)
  • Children who have specialist equipment necessary to access learning i.e. seating, upper limb splints and toileting equipment

Specialist Service Level input may include;

  •  Individual OT assessment to inform an EHC Needs Assessment
  •  Access to group or 1:1 sessions to address specific areas of need
  •  Delivery of specific OT provision outlined in an EHCP where funding has been agreed
  •  An OT programme and / or a sensory diet tailored to individual needs
  •  Recommendation and review of specialist equipment i.e. seating, upper limb splints and toileting equipment
  •  The OT may also contribute to the Annual Review in the form of a written report and attendance to the annual review meeting
  •  For pupils leaving Dysart, up to date information from the OT service will be shared with appropriate teams and services