Strategies & Therapies

Strategies and Therapies

 Here in Sandelford School we employ a wide range of specialised and specific strategies and therapies in order to meet the vast and complex needs of our pupils.  We also work alongside other agencies and professions in order to provide the best provision possible.

Sensory Integration

'Sensory Integration sorts, orders and eventually puts all the sensory inputs together into whole brain function' Jean Ayres, 1979.

Sensory integration (SI) is how our brain helps us to process, interpret and use information received through our senses (tactile, auditory, visual, olfactory, gustatory, vestibular and proprioceptive). It enables us to function in everyday life by interpreting the world around us.  For some people, SI does not develop as efficiently as it should. This is known as Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). SPD describes difficulty with taking in, integrating and making use of sensory information. This can lead to difficulties in learning, development and, consequently, behaviour. SPD can be seen in isolation or, more frequently, in combination with other diagnoses - including Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Disorders and other learning difficulties. 

At Sandelford School, we have developed an individualised approach to SPD through careful assessment and completion of Individual Sensory Profiles for our young people. As a result of this, we are able to implement specific strategies for individuals to help address SPD as a barrier to learning. We are fortunate to have a range of fantastic equipment to aid with self-regulation and improved motor planning.

We recognise that when our pupils are regulated and alert then they are ready to engage in learning through our Core Skills based curriculum.

Rebound Therapy & Flexi Bounce

Rebound Therapy is a trampoline based therapeutic exercise and movement program developed in the UK by Eddy Anderson in 1972. The program is ideal for people with a range of special needs as it promotes balance, change in muscle tone, relaxation and sensory integration, and improves fitness and communication through movement and interaction on a trampoline.

Here in Sandelford School we have staff fully trained and experienced in Rebound Therapy.  With our superb on site facilities and skilled staff we are able to deliver an extensive programme of Rebound Therapy which is available to pupils across the entire school. 

We have recently introduced the newest initiative in Rebound Therapy, called Flexi Bounce which uses mini trampolines. This has proved to be a great resource with our younger pupils.


In Sandelford we have our own heated Hydo Pool, Hydro Baths and trained staff in using these great resources. Pupils have access to a range of aqua therapies and strategies as part of their weekly timetable. Not only is the pool used for physical development, sensory integration and relaxation but it is also good fun! Hydro Bath is a relaxing therapy which can support sensory integration and therefore encourage a calm and alert, ready to learn disposition.


Intensive Interaction is a communication approach designed to help pupils who are at early levels of development, pupils with Autism and pupils with profound or severe complex learning needs. It lays the foundation for communication and builds upon the important “fundamentals” of social interaction: eye contact, facial expressions, vocalisations, turn taking and conversation structure. It also supports and develops building relationships in a positive way.

PECS and
Visual Aids

PECS stands for Picture Exchange Communication System. It allows people with little or no communication abilities to communicate using pictures. The goal of PECS is to teach pupils a fast, self-initiating, functional communication system. Pupils work through the phases of PECS beginning with the exchange of simple pictures.
Visual Aids are used in many ways to support communication and to support pupils with ASD. Visuals are used for timetables, instructions, work tasks and schedules.


Attention Autism is an intervention model designed by Gina Davies, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist. It aims to develop natural and spontaneous communication through the use of visually based and highly motivating activities. The primary objective is that the sessions are fun and “offer an irresistible invitation to learn”! G. Davies.
Attention Autism supports engaged attention, improved joint attention, developing shared enjoyment in group activities and increasing attention in adult-led activities. Attention Autism is experienced and enjoyed by pupils across the school and is not only for those on the Autism Spectrum.


TAC Pac (Touch And Communication pack) is a sensory communication resource using touch and music to help develop communication and social skills. Pupils with severe or complex learning needs and pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorder benefit greatly from the relaxing and tactile sensory experience enjoyed from taking part in TAC Pac activities. In school we also use Handy Pac, which like TAC Pac uses touch and music as a communication strategy.

Lego based therapy

Lego® therapy is a social skills programme for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other social communication difficulties. It is based around building Lego® in groups of 2 or 3 children, with adult help. The approach was developed by Dr Dan LeGoff, a Clinical Neuropsychologist from Philadelphia, USA. Here in Sandelford pupils take part in Lego®-Based Therapy in our Brick Club. The aim of Brick Club is to use children’s love of playing with Lego® to develop social interaction skills in a relaxed and fun setting. Social interaction skills such as turn taking, collaboration, social problem solving, joint focus and communication are all key elements of the LEGO®-Based therapy approach used in Brick Club.


Makaton is a language programme that uses signs and symbols to help those with special needs to communicate. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order.
In Sandelford School Makaton is taught through lessons, songs, stories and daily routines. It is used to support verbal and non-verbal communication.

Primary Movement

Primary Movement® is a unique movement programme which seeks to replicate the early movements of the foetus within the womb, and to enhance the maturation of the central nervous system.
Set up initially by Martin McPhillips as a research programme, Primary Movement has been shown to have a significant impact on reducing reflex persistence, and on the educational attainments of children with specific learning difficulties, including dyslexia.
Here at Sandelford we have Primary Movement® time daily as an exercise routine in which children replicate the movements of the foetus in the womb (the Sunflower and Butterfly Movement). From the pupil-perspective, we enjoy daily Primary Movement® action songs, followed by movements. The movements are a quiet time and promote mindfulness.

Take 10

Take 10 is a mindfulness strategy that promotes calm and attentive thinking. Pupils and staff enjoy 10 minutes (5 minutes for younger pupils) of quiet while listening to a Take 10 audio.
Through engaging in daily mindfulness activities we can help train the body to deal with stress and anxiety in a different way.

Multi-Disciplinary Services in School

Here in Sandelford we work in collaboration with other agencies and health service professionals. Some of our health colleagues work on-site at school, while others visit and work alongside our specialised staff.
Health professionals we work alongside are Speech and Language Therapists, Physiotherapists, Children’s Learning Disability Therapeutic Service (CLDTS), Occupational Health and School Counsellor Service. Pupils benefit from a holistic approach and we work in collaboration meeting individual needs.

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