My name is Abbi Richards, I am a Specialist Practitioner working with young people with Profound and Complex Learning Disabilities (PCLD). I work as part of a team developing and delivering a bespoke further education programme for 15 students aged 18-24 at Weston College, in North Somerset. All learners have previously attended specialist schools.
My interest in Sensory Integration started early in my career. I had seen the practice being used with a range of difficulties and witnessed the results first hand. I was given the opportunity, by the college, to undertake some training courses which increased my interest. I then found the modular pathway for Sensory Integration last year, and have been given the opportunity to undertake SI Module 1 online.
Many of the students who attend the programme, have previously been assessed by a Sensory Integration Occupational Therapist (OT) or have been referred. The benefits of having taken module 1 is the ability to give meaningful accounts of potential difficulties to the OT and being able to give clinical reasoning, hypothesise and discuss potential support methods. By having a deeper understanding, I am better able to deliver and adjust Sensory Integration (SI) theory and practice within the educational environment.
It is clear to see the benefits on a student’s ability to engage, participate and develop their skills in all areas of learning. The ultimate goal is to provide students with the knowledge of their own sensory needs and they being able to meet these in a safe and meaningful way. Leaving students further prepared for adulthood and being valued members of society, whether this means being able to complete daily living tasks, accessing the community or attending enrichment activities.
The hope is that once the SI theory and practice is embedded into the bespoke provision, I could support students with less complex learning difficulties and their lectures on higher level courses to manage their sensory needs and provide them with the tools to self-regulate and go on to voluntary or paid employment.