Wellbeing and therapy

Wellbeing and therapy services

Our wellbeing and therapy services are central to supporting autistic young people and those with complex needs to access learning and engage in education.

St. John’s therapy team is overseen by our Autism Lead & Head of Therapy, Alexandra Harris, and St. John’s wellbeing team is overseen by our Head of Learner Services and Lead PBS (Positive Behaviour Support) Practitioner, Lou Harman.

Our work focuses on developing learners’ skills in, and staff understanding of, four key

  • Differences in social communication and
  • Self-reliance and problem-solving
  • Sensory processing
  • Emotional wellbeing.

    The majority of our Therapy & Wellbeingstaff work across our education and residential settings to support learners toaccess St. John’s Waking Day curriculum. We adopt both proactive and reactive approaches to enable development of skills in the aforementioned four key areas.

    Examples of proactive approaches include:
  • delivering therapy sessions to learners, as
    specified in their Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs)
  • working alongside colleagues to model
    approaches and use of resources
  • ensuring consistency of strategies and
    resources between different settings
  • training of staff to increase knowledge and
    understanding including, creating Social Stories, using Talking Mats, implementation
    of the Zones of Regulation, Intensive Interaction, understanding behaviour,
    Travel Training, developing the use of visual aids, and medical needs (e.g.
  • gaining staff and learner input into behaviour support plans and sensory profiles
  • attending team meetings to support
    colleagues to implement new strategies e.g., an update on a Behaviour Support
    Plan or Sensory Diet
  • promoting autism-friendly environments
  • supporting, developing, and reinforcing the
    learner voice, promoting choice, autonomy, and assertiveness
  • training, advice and guidance on medical
  • inputting into to professionals’ meetings
    with the transdisciplinary team with knowledge of education and residential
    settings, thus offering a holistic view of the individual learner.

    Examples of reactive approaches include:
  • carrying out observations when new and specific support needs are identified e.g., managing a specific behaviour of
    concern, carrying out a specific aspect of a personal care routine to support
    greater independence, or trialling a new communication method, such as a PODD Book
  • undertaking Post Incident Reviews
  • undertaking behavioural assessments
    refresher training of specific skills in
    response to a behaviour of concern
  • training in response to a new medical need
  • autism-focused environmental audit in
    response to specific support needs e.g., ensuring a learner can increase their
    independence through the use of a differentiated visual aid.

A young SEN learner with two tutors