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Natspec Therapy Conference: Therapy in the specialist college context

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6 July 2020
10:00 am - 3:00 pm


We are pleased to announce our first virtual therapy conference.

Join us for a range of free webinars specifically targeted at therapists working in the specialist college sector. You are welcome to attend all of the webinars or simply dip into those that are of most interest to you. You can access all sessions from the one link sent to you after you have registered, just join at the relevant times.

We will be closing the day by reflecting on the usefulness of our new ‘therapy for learners at home’ webpage. Please email Ruth Perry with details of how you have used the resources on the webpage and any feedback you may have, so that we can include this information in our discussion.



10.00 – 10.10 Welcome and introduction to the day (Kate Duggan, Seashell and Ruth Perry, Natspec)

10.10 – 10.40 Barriers faced by therapists working in ISCs in evidencing the impact of their support (Kate Duggan)

Kate, Head of Clinical Services at Seashell Trust, will discuss the findings from her MSc research project on the challenges faced by Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) in effectively evidencing the impact of their input. AHPs working in Natspec colleges across the UK participated by responding to a task based on ‘think aloud’ methodology. Kate will be sharing the key themes that arose from analysis of the data and the implications for practice.

11.00 – 11.30 National audit of therapists in ISCs (Sally Edwards, Natspec Associate)

Towards the end of last year, Natspec commissioned Sally, an experienced speech and language therapist, to carry out a comprehensive audit of the therapy provision in specialist colleges. We wanted to build up a clearer picture of how many of the Natspec member specialist FE colleges have therapy provision, what therapies are represented and how many staff are engaged in providing therapies. Sally will be sharing a summary of the information returned in the audit survey sent out to Natspec member colleges which has given us a snapshot in time of therapy provision in Natspec member specialist FE colleges. It will also provide us with a baseline for any future work that examines trends and changes.

11.45 – 12.15 Using telepractice to assess sensory processing difficulties in people with learning disabilities and behaviours of concern (Rachel Johnson, Seashell)

Rachel is the Lead Occupational Therapist at Seashell Trust and an Advanced Practitioner in Ayres Sensory Integration. Assessment of sensory processing difficulties can be tricky when individuals cannot follow instructions and participate in standardised clinical observations.  Rachel will discuss how she uses both standardised and non-standardised assessments with Seashell students. She will also share some tips and reflections on using tele-practice, based on her experience of working remotely during lockdown, and how this will change her practice in the future.

2.00 – 2.30 Supporting a college-wide approach to total communication (Caroline Gosling, Seashell)

The Speech and Language Therapy team at Seashell Trust mainly use an embedded model of input, working alongside teaching staff and supporting them to implement practices to support students’ communication. Lead SLT, Caroline, will explain how they have been striving to make their input to tutors concrete and consistent, enabling them to take the ‘next step’ in supporting communication and coaching them on how that could look in their teaching sessions.  Caroline will be explaining how they have adapted The Classroom Communication Checklist, developed by the Communication Trust for mainstream settings, and used it to improve the quality of teaching and learning in a specialist setting.

2.30 – 3.00 Reflections on the conference including summary of feedback on the remote therapy webpage (Kate Duggan and Ruth Perry)


To join us, please register here

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By registering above, I agree that Natspec can hold and process the data I supply. Information on this registration form is confidential and will be held on Natspec’s database in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. It will be used for Natspec purposes only.

Registering above constitutes a contract between yourselves and Natspec. Please notify us in writing as soon as possible if you wish to make a substitution or a cancellation. Substitutions are welcome and can be made at any time without charge. Natspec reserves the right to cancel or alter the course for reasons beyond its control.