Tree Tops Children's Occupational Therapy

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Tree Tops Children's Occupational Therapy's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Tree Tops Children's Occupational Therapy is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.treetopsoccupationaltherapy.co.uk

BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
50 | SBM SERVICES LTD
– this represents our willingness to
meet all challenges and to be the best
we can; being just good is not good
enough. Then there’s “passion”,
which communicates to us and
others that we love what we do. Our
clients regularly comment on our high
levels of customer service and the
obvious excitement and energy we
have for the work we do. Our ability
to deliver creative solutions and our
understanding that no two schools
are the same comprises our third
value: “innovation”. “Collaboration”
stands for our constant readiness
to share experiences, resources and
opportunities. Last but not least,
“caring” reminds us who we are
fundamentally catering for – namely,
young people and schools. Ultimately,
we love working in the sector that
we’re in.
Challenges facing the
company
One of the difficulties we experience
as a company is that many schools are
unaware of the need to have quality
business functions underpinning
teaching and learning or the potential
benefits of using a service like ours
to develop these. Many are steeped
in tradition, renewing contracts with
suppliers they have bought into
for years without challenging their
quality or value for money and are
not yet willing to think innovatively
to create the best solutions for their
organisation. With a large number
of schools experiencing challenging
financial circumstances, not being
creative and innovative is no longer
anoption.
One of the reasons underlying this is
that many schools are reluctant to see
their operations in business terms. One
might think this would be less the case
for academies, but quite often even
they think in these terms too.
Working from a strong
foundation
Our business model is successful
enough that, even from day one,
the company was making a profit
without the need for extra funding
or borrowing. Since then, we have
continued to move from strength to
strength, both in terms of turnover
and our geographic presence. Starting
locally, we have since become a
nationwide service provider. Because of
this strong foundation, I am confident
that we have a healthy and exciting
future in store for us.
However, a business model is only as
good as the people who serve it. In this
regard, SBM Services Ltd is incredibly
lucky to have a passionate team who
really care about delivering the best
possible results for schools across
the country. Our hope is that, as we
approach the future, we will be able to
convince schools on tight budgets – of
which there is no shortage – that our
services offer excellent value and are
actually an investment that saves them
money and supports the delivery of
high-quality teaching.
Since then,
wehave
continued to
move from
strength to
strength, both
in terms of
turnover and
our geographic
presence
The company’s head
office, located in Essex
51TREE TOPS CHILDREN’S OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY |
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT
Clinical Specialist Dawn Dunn
Sensory integration in action
Covering the northeast of England, Tree Tops Children’s
Occupational Therapy work on supporting children with
a range of challenging behaviours and developmental
disorders, including dyspraxia, autistic spectrum disorder and
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Focusing in particular on
sensory processing disorder, which can affect 5-15 per cent of
the population, they work both within their specialised clinic with
parents and carers and in schools to raise awareness and help
teachers and staff to better deal with these issues. Through a
programme of sensory interventions, they help children to calm
down and re-engage with learning, preventing exclusions. Clinical
Specialist Dawn Dunn tells
The Parliamentary Review
more.
We are a small team who work with local authorities, schools, the NHS and parents
and carers to offer effective sensory solutions and interventions. We conduct various
training courses focused on sensory processing and work with schools and children to
deliver these services. Up until 2014, we worked contractually with the NHS in County
Durham, focusing on developmental co-ordination disorder and ADHD. During this
time, we offered a cost-effective package of care for each child, consisting of a ten-
week programme of treatment, a home programme and free training for schools. The
effectiveness of our interventions, and the excellent clinical outcomes they produced,
gave us a solid foundation to offer advice and training to others.
Due to restructuring in the NHS in 2014, we reconfigured the company to develop
more cohesive partnerships with our schools, individual clients, local authorities
and various charities. We began to work with education on a more contractual
FACTS ABOUT
TREE TOPS CHILDREN’S
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
»Clinical Specialist: Dawn Dunn
»Established in 2001
»Based in Newton Aycliffe,
County Durham
»Services: Occupational
therapy, focusing on sensory
processing issues
»No. of employees: 13
Tree Tops Children’s
Occupational Therapy
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
52 | TREE TOPS CHILDREN’S OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
basis, serving both mainstream and
special schools. We take specialised
occupational therapy into these
establishments on either a weekly or a
monthly basis and also organise more
formal educational training for both
parents and staff.
There are three main aspects to the
company: assessment and treatments
in clinic, our work in schools, and
training programmes. Alongside
this, we have established a parent
support group for SPD. This is
organised voluntarily by our business
administrator Dawn and I am one of
the patrons. When we were still a part
of a wider health provision, parents
would often say they felt isolated
and were not aware of the difficulties
surrounding sensory processing. This
group is affiliated to Tree Tops so
can utilise our resources to address
parents’ concerns while providing
information and support. Parents and
carers use our premises to meet and
access advice from a very active social
media forum. For those that cannot
afford our services, we ensure they are
referred to this group for help.
Sensory processing disorder
Sensory processing is a neurological
process of receiving and integrating
sensory information, in order to
function. We know some children
have problems processing sensory
input, which affects them in
different ways. This can range from
involuntary physical reactions and
a fight-or-flight response to touch,
movement or sound, to problems
with movement, organisation and
concentration. Sensory processing is
fundamental to everything we do,
and awareness has grown significantly
in the last ten years. Living with SPD
can have a profound effect on the
individual’s learning potential and
social and emotional well-being.
Certain groups are at higher risk of
having sensory challenges, with 95
per cent of children with ASD and 45
per cent of those with ADHD being
affected, and these challenges also
disproportionately affect premature
and looked-after children.
Taking our work into schools
We tailor our provision to the needs
of specific children and work closely
with staff, combining our intervention
with their educational targets.
Programmes may involve motor-skills
groups, handwriting courses and
targeted individual interventions in the
classroom. A major part of our work
is embedding sensory routines into
the school day to facilitate a child’s
ability to concentrate and learn while
reducing significantly challenging
behaviours. From our extensive
experience working with schools, we
know that even if a child does not
have sensory processing difficulties,
these interventions can calm them and
help to reduce behaviour issues.
Our training programmes serve to
give staff more proactive interventions
to help struggling and challenging
youngsters, thereby empowering staff
Children from Thornhill
Primary School in
Shildon participating in a
motor skills group
Sensory
routines
facilitate a
child’s ability
to concentrate
and reduce
anxiety
53TREE TOPS CHILDREN’S OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY |
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT
to deal with many complex children
in a positive way. Schools can host a
full or half-day in-house session for
all staff, which ensures the whole
school can adopt a sensory motor
approach. The purpose is to provide
staff with a better understanding
of SPD and equip them to use basic
sensory tools which make teaching
easier. Parent workshops have the
same philosophy: to empower parents
to help their child on a daily basis.
Feedback from our training events is all
exceptionallypositive.
In the clinic, we have sensory
integration equipment to target
a child’s sensory processing and
develop their functional skills while
working with parents. Our constant
evaluations of interventions also enable
us to conduct research into the most
effective techniques, which we can
then take confidently into schools and
draw on to give advice to parents.
New ventures and obstacles
We are looking to develop our service
set up another clinic in Middlesbrough.
Unfortunately, the European fund
which would have supported this
venture was withdrawn in January
2019. As we work with many schools
and children in the Teesside area, if we
were closer, we could provide better
local support. Our primary obstacle to
this continues to be finding a clinic in
an acceptable location for families that
could house all of our equipment.
Our work with mainstream schools is
now focusing on using our sensory
motor interventions to reduce
exclusions. Many of our techniques
can have a dramatic impact on a
child’s ability to stay calm and reduce
anxieties. Not only do they facilitate
a child’s ability to learn, but they also
provide teachers with techniques
to use in the classroom. However,
many schools are unaware of our
work or have little understanding of
how sensory interventions can have
a positive impact and significantly
reduce behavioural incidents, reducing
a child’s risk of being excluded. In
the past, schools accessed our service
through health, but they now have
to fund it directly, which is a drain
on their limited budgets. Educating
headteachers that working in
partnership with Tree Tops is a good
investment for both school standards
and pupil well being, is therefore vital.
Training occupational therapists also
presents challenges. The role requires
postgraduate training with a high level
of expertise, so our therapists have
to be fully supported and shadow
someone more senior, especially
during the first year.
Our mission is to make a positive
difference to all our children and
families, which our reputation can
testify to. Alongside this, we strive
to nurture and train occupational
therapists to ensure there are a wealth
of exceptional therapists who can offer
these specialised interventions to help
more children in the future.
Sensory
interventions
significantly
reduce
behavioural
incidents and
risk of being
excluded
Tree Tops team and
mascot Fizz-Wig
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
52 | TREE TOPS CHILDREN’S OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
basis, serving both mainstream and
special schools. We take specialised
occupational therapy into these
establishments on either a weekly or a
monthly basis and also organise more
formal educational training for both
parents and staff.
There are three main aspects to the
company: assessment and treatments
in clinic, our work in schools, and
training programmes. Alongside
this, we have established a parent
support group for SPD. This is
organised voluntarily by our business
administrator Dawn and I am one of
the patrons. When we were still a part
of a wider health provision, parents
would often say they felt isolated
and were not aware of the difficulties
surrounding sensory processing. This
group is affiliated to Tree Tops so
can utilise our resources to address
parents’ concerns while providing
information and support. Parents and
carers use our premises to meet and
access advice from a very active social
media forum. For those that cannot
afford our services, we ensure they are
referred to this group for help.
Sensory processing disorder
Sensory processing is a neurological
process of receiving and integrating
sensory information, in order to
function. We know some children
have problems processing sensory
input, which affects them in
different ways. This can range from
involuntary physical reactions and
a fight-or-flight response to touch,
movement or sound, to problems
with movement, organisation and
concentration. Sensory processing is
fundamental to everything we do,
and awareness has grown significantly
in the last ten years. Living with SPD
can have a profound effect on the
individual’s learning potential and
social and emotional well-being.
Certain groups are at higher risk of
having sensory challenges, with 95
per cent of children with ASD and 45
per cent of those with ADHD being
affected, and these challenges also
disproportionately affect premature
and looked-after children.
Taking our work into schools
We tailor our provision to the needs
of specific children and work closely
with staff, combining our intervention
with their educational targets.
Programmes may involve motor-skills
groups, handwriting courses and
targeted individual interventions in the
classroom. A major part of our work
is embedding sensory routines into
the school day to facilitate a child’s
ability to concentrate and learn while
reducing significantly challenging
behaviours. From our extensive
experience working with schools, we
know that even if a child does not
have sensory processing difficulties,
these interventions can calm them and
help to reduce behaviour issues.
Our training programmes serve to
give staff more proactive interventions
to help struggling and challenging
youngsters, thereby empowering staff
Children from Thornhill
Primary School in
Shildon participating in a
motor skills group
Sensory
routines
facilitate a
child’s ability
to concentrate
and reduce
anxiety
53TREE TOPS CHILDREN’S OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY |
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT
to deal with many complex children
in a positive way. Schools can host a
full or half-day in-house session for
all staff, which ensures the whole
school can adopt a sensory motor
approach. The purpose is to provide
staff with a better understanding
of SPD and equip them to use basic
sensory tools which make teaching
easier. Parent workshops have the
same philosophy: to empower parents
to help their child on a daily basis.
Feedback from our training events is all
exceptionallypositive.
In the clinic, we have sensory
integration equipment to target
a child’s sensory processing and
develop their functional skills while
working with parents. Our constant
evaluations of interventions also enable
us to conduct research into the most
effective techniques, which we can
then take confidently into schools and
draw on to give advice to parents.
New ventures and obstacles
We are looking to develop our service
set up another clinic in Middlesbrough.
Unfortunately, the European fund
which would have supported this
venture was withdrawn in January
2019. As we work with many schools
and children in the Teesside area, if we
were closer, we could provide better
local support. Our primary obstacle to
this continues to be finding a clinic in
an acceptable location for families that
could house all of our equipment.
Our work with mainstream schools is
now focusing on using our sensory
motor interventions to reduce
exclusions. Many of our techniques
can have a dramatic impact on a
child’s ability to stay calm and reduce
anxieties. Not only do they facilitate
a child’s ability to learn, but they also
provide teachers with techniques
to use in the classroom. However,
many schools are unaware of our
work or have little understanding of
how sensory interventions can have
a positive impact and significantly
reduce behavioural incidents, reducing
a child’s risk of being excluded. In
the past, schools accessed our service
through health, but they now have
to fund it directly, which is a drain
on their limited budgets. Educating
headteachers that working in
partnership with Tree Tops is a good
investment for both school standards
and pupil well being, is therefore vital.
Training occupational therapists also
presents challenges. The role requires
postgraduate training with a high level
of expertise, so our therapists have
to be fully supported and shadow
someone more senior, especially
during the first year.
Our mission is to make a positive
difference to all our children and
families, which our reputation can
testify to. Alongside this, we strive
to nurture and train occupational
therapists to ensure there are a wealth
of exceptional therapists who can offer
these specialised interventions to help
more children in the future.
Sensory
interventions
significantly
reduce
behavioural
incidents and
risk of being
excluded
Tree Tops team and
mascot Fizz-Wig

www.treetopsoccupationaltherapy.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Tree Tops Children's Occupational Therapy. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster