Therapy & Assessment

From the SENCO’s office

Special Educational Needs Coordinator

“Education lights every stage of the child’s journey to a better life”

Children who face barriers will often require additional educational intervention to support their learning. This support is provided, within the classroom, with the view to accelerate progress and address misconceptions that may have developed as well as providing individualised support designed specifically for the individual child.

If a child does not show progress despite such differentiated teaching, a meeting, referred to as a Case Conference, would usually be arranged between key school staff such as the child’s class teacher and SENCO, therapists and parents. Key learning targets would be decided upon and a plan devised to assist the learner achieve these targets. The Code of Practice recommends an Individual Education Plan (IEP) as a means of recording and reviewing this process.

If it becomes evident that the child’s needs cannot be met in the Japari educational setting, the SENCO will support and guide the parents with alternative ways and possible alternative environment options.

At Japari we offer the following interventions:

  • Small group intervention (social skills, language development, reading, phonics, writing, spelling and numeracy).
  • Individualized tuition (eg Reading skills, specialist dyslexia teaching, and precision teaching).
  • Individualized support for learning and/or behaviour (Additional Support, Mentor, Monitor programme).
  • Speech and language therapy.
  • Gross Motor coordination programme. ( Grade R – Grade 2).
  • Occupational Therapy.
  • Physiotherapy.
  • Psycho- Educational Assessments and feedback.
  • Play therapy ( Directive and Non-directive techniques)
  • Computer skills
  • Peer tutoring/mentoring.
  • Teachers ongoing In-Service Training.
  • Parent workshop ( e.g. Paired Reading techniques,Parent Support Groups).
  • In-class support (general/specific).
  • Special resources, hardware, software, large variety of books and reading material.
  • Accommodation and Concession guidelines and support.
  • Computer based learning (eg Wordshark, Cami, Mathletics).
  • Assistive technology to support the assessment process.
  • Various sport and cultural activities

By improving knowledge, instilling values, fostering beliefs and shifting attitudes, education has considerable power to change environmentally harmful lifestyles and behaviour.

Therapy Support:

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists are trained to assist people of all ages to perform the functional tasks that normally occupy their lives. The occupation of childhood is to develop the skills necessary for play, school and activities of daily living and to become functional and independent adults. The skills assessed and addressed in Occupational Therapy include the development of

  • Gross motor skills e.g. ball skills, hopping and jumping.
  • Fine motor skills e.g. cutting, colouring and handwriting.
  • Visual perceptual skills ( this is the ability to interpret and understand what we see).
  • Sensory Integration skills ( this is the ability to take in the information we receive from all our senses, and to process, interpret and make sense of this information so that we can act appropriately).
  • Ability to regulate arousal level in order to attend and concentrate on tasks set…

This  expectations for the level of development of any of these skills will vary depending on the child’s age. It is important to note that all of these skills are developing simultaneously. Impairment of one area is likely to stunt development in other areas.

Occupational Assessments Tools

Various formal and informal assessment tools can be used to explore the functioning of a learner’s Motor and Visual development. These assessment tools will be selected and utilized, considering the various areas.

  1. Postural control
  2. Gross Motor
    – Balance
    – Equilibrium
  3. Reflexes
  4. Muscle tone
  5. Bilateral integration
  6. Visual Motor integration
  7. Motor control
  8. Fine Motor
    – Pencil grip
    – Manual dextenty
    – Cutting
  9. Dominance
  10. Laterality
  11. Body image
  12. Ball skills
  13. Motor planning
  14. Visual perception
    – Form constancy
    – Visual discrimination
    – Visual memory
    – Visual sequential memory
    – Figure ground
    – Visual closure
  15. Written output
    – Letter formation
    – Spatial layout
    – Speed

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is concerned with:

  • Assessing, treating and preventing human movement disorder, restoring normal functioning or minimising dysfunctions and pain in adults and children with physical impairment, to enable them to achieve the highest possible level of dependence in their lives, as well as preventing recurring injuries and disabilities.
  • The Physiotherapist evaluates muscle strength, flexibility and joint range of movement.
  • The Physiotherapist addresses postural alignment and control through biomechanical and postural correction and rehabilitation.
  • The Physiotherapist restores movement and improves fitness, balance and co-ordination.

Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and language therapy intervention is aimed at improving a vast range of areas

  • One aspect of therapy focuses on helping a child to speak more clearly. It is when their speech contains mispronunciations and patterns of errors that they provide articulation therapy
  • A significant focus area in therapy is on language. This refers to understanding and using language to express oneself correctly. Language therapy includes vocabulary expansion, word associations, understanding and applying the rules of grammar, comprehension as well as improving written language.
  • Perhaps the most important skill in the classroom is the ability to process, remember and use what you hear. Therapy aims to improve auditory processing skills such as auditory word and sentence memory as well as the following of oral instructions.
  • Another significant aspect of speech therapy is focusing on skills that are important for successful reading, writing and spelling. This is referred to as phonological awareness and begins with the basics of rhyming, understanding how words can be broken up and put together again and learning to apply spelling rules correctly.

Speech and Language Developmental Assessments

Various formal and informal assessment tools can be used to explore the functioning of a learner’s Language development. These assessment tools will be selected and utilized considering the various areas.

  1. Articulation and phonology
    Low tone
    Sequencing
  2. Auditory processing
    – Short term memory
    – Long term memory
    – Working memory
    – Following instructions
    – Auditory Closure
    – Auditory Discrimination
    – Auditory Analysis and Synthesis
    – Decoding, rhyming, phonological awareness, reasoning and problem solving
  3. Receptive Language
    – Vocabulary
    – Associations
    – Concepts
    – Grammar
    – Listening Comprehension
  4. Expressive Language
    – Vocabulary- antonyms, synonyms, definitions and hymonyms
    – Grammar
    – Sentence Construction
    – Word Associations
  5. Narrative
  6. Pragmatics
    – Inferencing

Educational Psychologists

The Educational Psychologist forms part of the multi-disciplinary team that offers learners a safe therapeutic space in which to deal with a range of learning and emotional difficulties. Therapeutic approaches are tailored to address the needs of each child.

Educational and Therapeutic Assessment Tools

Educational Psychologist- Scope for assessment:

Various formal and informal assessment tools can be used to explore the functioning of the learner. These assessment tools will be selected and utilised considering the various policies and practices on fair and ethical use of psychometric (formal) and informal tests taking into consideration the diverse South African context. The assessment process may include exploration of the learners’ emotional, behavioural, learning, and vocational and other strengths and difficulties through the use of the following:

Scholastic Assessment

Curriculum Based Assessment for reading, spelling and Mathematical ability.

Perceptual and Sensory-Motor Assessment

  • Perceptual and Sensory-Motor Assessment.
  • Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test Second Edition Wepman Auditory Discrimination Test.
  • Quick Neurological Screening Test (QNST).
  • Rey Complex Figure Drawing or Test.
  • Informal perceptual Screening Tool

Cognitive Assessment

  • Senior South African Individual Scale – Revised (SSAIS-R).
  • Junior South African Individual Scale (JSAIS)
    – WYAT.
    – Weschler Pre-School and Primary Scale of Intelligence – Revised (WPPSI-R).
    – Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children IV (WISC IV).

Social-Emotional Assessment

  • Family Relations Test.
  • Draw-a-Person Test (DAP).
  • Kinetic Family Drawing (KFD).
  • ASPRI as an informal assessment tool.
  • Other drawings as informal assessment tools.

Projective Assessment

  • A variety of Incomplete Sentences.
  • A variety of formal and informal story-telling  techniques such as the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) and the Roberts Apperception Test, the Duss fables.

Personality Assessment

  • Rorchach (Exner’s Comprehensive System).
  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

Career Development

  • Jung Personality Questionnaire (JPQ).
  • Self-Directed Search Questionnaire (SDS).
  • Career Development Questionnaire (CDQ).
  • Careers Card Sorting.
  • Values Card Sorting.
  • Career Incomplete Sentences.
  • Postmodern techniques

Psychopathology

  • Connors rating scales or checklists Second Edition.
  • Beck Youth Inventories for Children and Adolescents Second Edition.

Aptitude Assessment

  • Senior Aptitude Test (SAT).
  • Junior Aptitude Test (JAT).
  • Differential Aptitude Test (DAT).