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Sensory Processing

Upon graduation, Occupational Therapists are qualified to provide performance-based interventions, where the aim is to manage (not change) the sensory needs of the person. Models underpinning intervention are in line with occupational therapy theories of practice. Performance-based interventions considers and offers strategies to enhance performance and participation in occupation and are consistent with top-down frames of reference. 

Occupational Therapists have an understanding of sensory processing and can use this knowledge to support a better ‘fit’ between the person, their occupation and their environment. This knowledge can be used to support pupils and their families in understanding the sensory needs of the child and therefore, provides an increased/ alternative view of behaviour. 

At The Wherry School, the Occupational Therapists support those learners who have a functional need and sensory processing difficulties may or may not underpin difficulties in participating in their occupations.  

There are two Occupational Therapy teams working within The Wherry School, both of whom have therapists who, to different levels, postgraduate training in Sensory Integration theory and practice. 

The school itself, offers a range of adapted environments and regular participation in activities to support and encourage engagement in learning. For example; calming rooms are available where the environment has been modified to facilitate relaxation by the user being able to modify their sensory experiences and further specialist spaces can be used by teams to support play, sensory play (messy play) as well as support programmes which support individual physiological development 

Sensory circuits are also available to the pupils and whilst this set of activities is underpinned by Ayres’ Sensory Integration Theory, they do not adhere to the Ayres’ fidelity measure because they are not child led. At The Wherry, the principles of the sensory circuit approach has been adapted so that the activities available to the pupils are embedded in function and meaningful occupation. For example; the pupils are given the opportunity to complete the ‘daily mile,’ a run that could be considered alerting. This is followed by a variety of other functional and personalised activities that may be loosely considered as organising or calming. 

For more information see: Clinical Health Model At The Wherry School

See also: ASSK (Autism Specific Skills and Knowledge) Informal Curriculum