Occupational therapy

Occupational Therapy supports individual’s health and well-being through enabling them to participate in life by encouraging engagement in occupation. In Occupational Therapy, occupations refer to the everyday activities that people do as individuals, in families and with communities to occupy time and bring meaning and purpose to life. Occupations include things people need to, want to and are expected to do (World Federation of Occupational Therapists, 2012).

As a profession, we consider that each individual has the ability to develop skills which enable them to achieve their own goals in life. We consider that human occupation is made up of the following elements;

  • The motivation for occupation (interest, expectations and commitment).
  • Patterns of occupation (routine, adaptability, roles and responsibilities).
  • The ability to communicate and interact to meet occupational goals.
  • The person’s ability to use their processing (mental) skills to engage in occupation. 
  • The person’s ability to us their motor (physical) skills to engage in occupation.
  • The impact that the person’s environment has on their ability to engage in the occupation.

Within the home a person will need or wish to engage in personal care, domestic tasks and cooking meals. We may help by suggesting different ways to do tasks or provide equipment to assist with this.  

Within the community/wider environment, we may support people to access leisure activities, education or work and consider how barriers to environments can be overcome where they exist. Some examples include supporting people to use transport, understand money, develop coping strategies for situations where they feel anxious, being able to complete the shopping for a meal they wish to cook or even access the local cinema for the first time.  We may also assess how people use or rely on their sensory processing skills, how their environment impacts on this and what other techniques to use to enable improvement in self-regulation skills. This may include specific specialist input such as sensory integration therapy. 

Hesley Group is somewhere that people not only live, but also engage in education or work placements. Access to leisure activities helps to develop roles within the community at Hesley and. As time progresses, within the local and wider communities. The Occupational Therapy team are involved in working alongside people in relation to all aspects of their occupational being. People who live at Hesley may have complex patterns of behaviours, social interaction or communication difficulties that prevent them from engaging in occupations that are meaningful. They may not have had the opportunities to have developed a pattern/routine or range of occupations in their lives that enable them to feel fulfilled. They may find establishing occupational balance difficult due to health and social needs. We treat each person as an individual and work in a person centred and holistic way to enable them to attain their potential for well-being.

To structure our approach, we apply a number of theoretical models and we also follow the Occupational Therapy Process which is to assess needs, devise and develop a plan of intervention with the person, provide that intervention, evaluate its effectiveness and modify if required.

We gather information through talking to individuals, staff members, family and carers. We complete observations and formal standardised and non-standardised assessments to evaluate the person’s strengths, skills and functioning. We then identify potential for change and areas where our interventions may benefit the person’s development and how this fits with their interests, wishes and aspirations. We work with our colleagues from different professions to agree a plan.

Meet the team:
Rachel O'Sullivan - Head of Therapies and Occupational Therapist covering all sites within Hesley Group
Anna Duncan - Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist covering all sites within Hesley Group
Anna Atkinson - Occupational Therapist at Fullerton House School
Liz Whiteside - Occupational Therapist at Community Solutions and the Specialist Colleges
Holly Fenton - Occupational Therapist at Hesley Village
Katie Wade - Occupational Therapist at Hesley Village
Rebecca Hillier - Occupational Therapist at Low Laithes and Fullerton House School
Victoria Blunt - Occupational Therapist at Wilsic Hall School