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Our Approach

Our Approach to Learning and Therapy

A number of pupils at Springwell School are developing the skills that are required to be able to access learning.  We recognise and emphasise the importance of developing these early skills that pupils need for learning, suggesting that pupils need to:

  • Learn to use their senses
  • Learn to develop physical skills for manipulation and mobility
  • Develop attention and perceptual skills
  • Develop early communication skills.

We have a number of therapies and interventions that we use within the school to support their “Learning to Learn”. These include (but are not limited to):

A strategy based on the Attention Autism project (Gina Davies) to increase joint attention, interaction and communication. Shared Attention sessions offer all pupils an “irresistible invitation to learn”. It highly values creating shared experiences, which give the children something that is worth joining in with, and leaves them wanting to communicate about afterwards. The approach utilises supporting adults as models, throughout all sessions they should model how we expect the pupils to behave, interact and react. 

Intensive Interaction 

Intensive interaction is an approach to teaching the pre-speech fundamentals of communication to children and adults who have severe learning difficulties and/or autism and who are still at an early stage of communication development.

At Springwell, pupils are taught early communication to enable them to:

•to give, extend and share attention

•to have fun

•to take turns in exchanges of behaviour

•to focus and concentrate

•to do sequences of activity with the other person

•to share personal space

•use and understand eye contact

•use and understand facial express

Click HERE to view an intensive interaction session.

Speech and Language Therapy

The Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) works closely with class staff to promote the child’s communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal and to advise on communication programmes and intervention. They may also provide assessment, training and advice on feeding and drinking skills. 

Class programmes are provided and there is regular liaison with the child’s paediatrician, occupational therapist and any other professionals involved in your child’s care.

Your child’s care will be transferred back to school staff when their communication needs can be supported without specialist input from the speech and language therapist.  At this point they will be discharged from the NHS speech and language therapy service.  They can be re-referred to the service if additional advice/support is required or there are any new concerns. 

Schools commissioned service: Springwell currently purchase additional support from the Speech and Language Therapy service.  

For more information click HERE


Hydrotherapy is the use of water to treat different conditions.  At Springwell, we can give pupils a sensory experience within the safe and enjoyable environment of our therapy pool.

Hydrotherapy gives our children an opportunity to be completely independent whilst also allowing them access to a range of water aids.

For some children, it permits them the chance to increase their range of movement through structured physiotherapy programmes.  Intensive interaction is a major part of every session and it has been noted that many of the pupils show increased awareness and eye-contact.  Hydrotherapy is also been used as a form of relaxation and can have a calming influence as well as building a child's confidence within the water. 

Pets as Therapy

This is a community based charity  providing therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes, special needs schools and a variety of other establishments from volunteers with their pet dogs and cats. Sue from Pets as Therapy visits Springwell weekly with her two dogs.  The pupils experience meeting, stroking and walking the dogs in a safe environment.

Horse riding 

Horse riding sessions take place for a few pupils each year. Horse riding as therapy allows a freedom of movement, gives opportunities for pupils to gain confidence, and build relationships. It can also offer significant therapeutic benefits such as relaxation, strengthening core stability and improving balance, posture and co-ordination. Finally it provides pupils with the opportunity to take controlled risks and can give a great sense of achievement.

Waldon Therapy

Waldon therapy is used to teach and reinforce basic skills that are integral for future learning. These include placing, mark making, tool use, sorting and building. These skills are taught in a physical way with the pupils supported to achieve. The reward of achieving each step is intrinsic and the adult does not provide social praise until the end. This allows pupils to focus on the task and to gain pride from succeeding independently. 


TACPAC combines music and touch to promote communication and social interaction, sensory, neurological and emotional development. It can be used for relaxation purposes, to encourage self-regulation, or to encourage interaction and communication.

Art Therapy

In sensory art smells, textures, colours, temperature, sounds are all important. Art therapy encourages fun, eye contact, fine motor skills, careful movement, observational skills, helps child begin to understand and interact with the world around them.

Music Therapy

Music therapy a 1:1 therapy that is generally done by a trained music teacher. Within music therapy sessions pupils are encouraged to engage in music as an activity in its own right as well as music being used as a scaffold to structure other learning and development that is important to each individual.



This is a strategy to teach pupils who find imaginative play difficult how to play. It can help to facilitate: a shared focus, imitation skills, parallel play, play dialogue, narrative structure and flexibility. 



TEACCH provides a structured teaching model that makes use of visual supports in order to promote meaning and independence. TEACCH covers a wide range of strategies including work bays, structured work systems and visual schedules.