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, the overarching four key
areas of our Autism Accreditation status, awarded to St. John’s by the National
Autistic Society (NAS):
- Differences in social communication and
- Self-reliance and problem-solving
- Sensory experiences
- Emotional wellbeing.
The majority of our Therapy & Wellbeing staff work across our education and residential settings to support learners to access 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.