Therapy at Orion College

Our aim:

All therapies are aimed at supporting academic learning in order for each child to achieve their full potential.

Introducing the Team

Orion College has a dedicated department of full-time therapists, working in a Multidisciplinary Team, who collaborate very closely with the academic staff to assess and monitor the progress of our learners and offer appropriate support interventions.

Our team consists of:

·         3 Educational Psychologists

·         2 Occupational Therapists

·         2 Speech Therapists

·         2 Learner Support Therapists

These therapies are provided on a needs basis, determined by formal assessment findings, classroom observations, referrals and clinical judgement and are included in the school fees.

The combination of small classes and therapeutic intervention ensures Orion College offers a unique learning experience, whereby children are emotionally, academically and socially supported.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy is the use of therapeutic interventions that help a person achieve their highest level of independence in activates of daily living. In a school setting therapists use their expertise to help children with physical, psychosocial developmentally related learning difficulties in order to achieve optimal learning and independence. OT for children focusses on the following developmental areas:

·         Sensory processing and modulation

·         Gross motor skills

·         Fine motor skills

·         Visual perceptual skills and visual motor integration

·         Play skills

·         Self-care skills

Our Occupational Therapists, Rizwana Paruk and Amy Anderson, work within the Primary School setting.

Speech Therapy

Our Speech Therapists work with a full range of communication difficulties to support academic learning and facilitate effective communication. These include the following areas of need:

·         Receptive and expressive language difficulties

·         Auditory processing difficulties

·         Phonological awareness

·         Cognitive communication difficulties

·         Articulation and Fluency therapies are provided when these aspects specifically impact academic learning

Our Speech Therapists, Fatima Sadien and Amanda Swart, work within the Primary School setting.

Educational Psychology Support

Educational Psychologists assist children and young people, within all domains of functioning, who are experiencing challenges that hinder their learning and development. The psychologists’ roles include:

·         Psychotherapeutic support for emotional, social, behavioural and learning difficulties.

·         Administering psycho-educational assessments to determine placement, strengths, areas of development, and appropriate support interventions.

·         Providing appropriate feedback to parents and teachers.

·         Referral to appropriate specialists, if necessary.

Storm van der Walt works with the Grade R -7 classes.

Sneha Somla works with the Grade 8 – 12 classes.

Linda Hage works with the classes in the Vocational and Skills Streams within the Primary School and High School.

Learner Support

Learner Support is provided to learners who need support beyond that which is normally given in the classroom. Learner Support addresses difficulties in specific areas of learning and academic development and entails not only providing learners with strategies and skills to overcome their barriers, but it also helps them to fill gaps in their learning.

The Learner Support Therapists are responsible for administering base-line and scholastic Literacy and Numeracy assessments to specific learners, with the goal of establishing the areas and extent of their difficulties.

Learner Support in the Junior Primary Phase is given in paired or small groups and focuses on an intensive multi - sensory phonological programme, designed to improve the learner’s skills in all areas of Literacy. The RAVE – O small group reading intervention programme is implemented with all Grade 2 and grade 3 learners. Support in Numeracy in this Phase focuses on all basic Numeracy concepts, at a concrete and representational level.

Learner Support in the Intermediate Phase is given in individual or paired groups and addresses accurate and fluent reading, listening and reading comprehension skills, knowledge and implementation of spelling rules and correct punctuation, grammar and syntax in written work. Support in Intermediate Phase Mathematics reinforces all the concepts taught in the classroom and incorporates additional and alternative strategies. Specific difficulties experienced by learners are also addressed when the need arises. Study skills for examinations in Mathematics are taught and practiced.

Our Learner Supports Teachers are Sue Hill (Foundation/Junior Phase) and Rozanne Van Niekerk (Intermediate Phase).