Our Specialist Staff and Therapeutic Services

Our education, care and therapeutic staff are highly skilled and experienced in meeting the needs of children and young people with complex and severe learning disabilities, combined with significant communication difficulties, including little or no oral language.  We employ a range of specialist staff including specialist MSI teachers and teachers of the deaf. We also offer British Sign Language for those children and young people who respond best to BSL.  

Specialist support 

The team of therapists at Seashell Trust work collaboratively alongside both education and residential care staff to provide strategies, targets and individual programmes to enable students to access learning opportunities across all settings.

Multi-disciplinary assessments inform sessions. This ensures therapy is embedded throughout the curriculum in order to support students to achieve. Input is provided into school, the on-site houses and the child or young person's home alongside parents, families and carers.  This ensures a consistency of approach.  


Our Physiotherapy takes a ‘whole person’ approach to the health and wellbeing of children and young people with complex needs helping them to access education, maximise their functional independence and fulfil their full physical potential. 

The Physiotherapists work collaboratively with the therapy team, teachers, learning support assistants and residential support.  Some students may need regular and continuing input from a physiotherapist while for others it may be appropriate for education and care services to deliver a physiotherapy programme under the guidance of the physiotherapist.  Liaising with outside agencies consultants, GP’s, social workers and community therapists is also a significant part of their role.  Physiotherapy provision includes :

Individual therapy programmes, including developmental rehabilitation, facilitation of normal movement, functional rehabilitation and strengthening and fitness training.  Specialist equipment provision, including standing aids, sleep systems and specialist seating and walking aids, rebound therapy, hydrotherapy, orthotics, group therapy sessions including balance, co-ordination, motor skills and wheelchair skills, adapted cycling, supporting students to access exercise and sporting opportunities and 24 hour postural management in the protection of body shape.

Speech and Language Therapy

Our speech and language therapists provide assessment and direct therapy to the students as well as supporting and training staff with communication strategies and therapies that can be used in class and residence in order to facilitate each student’s individual communication need.

Therapy plans are devised for each student to enable them to reach their full potential and their individual strengths are assessed and nurtured so that their communication skills are functional and effective. 

It is essential that each individual student is given opportunity to make choices in order to increase their independence and confidence in their communication.

Speech and Language Therapy provision includes:

Assessment of both communication and eating and drinking skills
Assessment for Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC)
Implementation of programmes with targets that support both expressive and receptive communication development, these are embedded within their Individual Education Plans
Eating and Drinking

Speech and language therapy provision also covers assessment and management of eating and drinking difficulties to make mealtimes safer and more enjoyable. This includes:

Mealtime observations, including Dysphagia
Provision of eating and drinking guidelines
Management of difficulties through techniques such as: changes to the environment, provision and use of specialist equipment, changing consistency of food and drink, and working alongside the physiotherapist to achieve optimum posture
Liaison with the Multi-disciplinary team to provide a holistic approach to eating and drinking

Total Communication

A Total Communication approach is adopted and this involves Intensive Interaction, signing, objects of reference/tactile communication, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and hi-tech Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC) including iPads, switches or Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCA)  

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapists assist students to participate effectively in all areas of everyday life.  They work within the multi-disciplinary team and support and train staff to facilitate student involvement in all activities that are important to the student, including:

Enjoyment, satisfaction and a sense of achievement in taking part in activities which leads to learning and mastering new skills and developing positive self esteem
Physical wellbeing, for example improved stamina may be achieved through taking part in an enjoyable activity such as gardening
Activities are opportunities for shared experiences and promote communication and social interaction

For many of our students sensory processing difficulties present barriers to participation in activities, through sensory profiling, sensory assessment and by embedding sensory strategies and sensory diets into the curriculum students are able to lead more meaningful lives.

Occupational therapy provision includes:

Assessing for and providing adapted equipment to enable increased levels of independence e.g. angled spoon.
Assessing and treating sensory difficulties.
Advice and strategies to carers/staff for enabling students to manage sensory difficulties e.g. using a weighted blanket to reduce anxiety when travelling.
Providing advice and support in adapting activities for a variety of skill level e.g. using cooking as a way to explore the senses improve hand function or develop independence skills.
Providing advice and support regarding environmental adaptations to enable students to function effectively e.g. providing a low arousal setting within a classroom to assist the individual in concentrating.
Working holistically within the multi-disciplinary team to ensure students are supported in all areas to achieve maximum levels of participation and engagement.
Occupational therapy supports the activities which a person needs or wants to do in their everyday life
Self-Care - personal care, eating and drinking skills
Productivity - school and work skills, household management skills
Leisure - sports, creativity and  relaxation

Occupational therapists work with individuals and groups to develop skills and abilities including:
Sensory awareness and promoting sensory processing skills
Hand function
Ability to control toys and equipment through switch controls
Ability to problem solvein daily life
Activities of daily living

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. 

AT promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, develops communication and enhances learning experiences.  Our Assistive Technologists constantly research the latest innovative technologies and work within a Multi-Disciplinary team to implement these strategies with our students in order to promote independence and develop communication.


We have a state of the art audiology clinic onsite, with clinical and behavioural audiologists who are experienced in working with children and young people with multi-sensory impairments, autism, and communication difficulties. 

Our onsite audiologists have access to diagnostic technology that has been specifically modified for children and young people with complex needs, along with equipment that is widely used in NHS clinics. This allows us to carry out full hearing assessments on site and schedule regular appointment without the student going offsite. The audiologist can also routinely fit and manage hearing aids and preform follow up checks in the classroom to ensure it is working effectively.