Therapy Team

The special schools therapy team is made up of specialist Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Therapy assistants.  We work together to help children achieve their full physical potential, promote independence and support parents in caring for their children.  We work closely particularly in relation to the positioning needs of children with complex physical disabilities.  We work to address these needs in the home environment, school and occasionally respite centres, carrying out joint visits where needed.

Hydrotherapy Team

Hydrotherapy is offered to students at Seven Hills when the physio team recommend this as a long or short term iniciative .  Hydrotherapy takes place twice a week at Woodview hydrotherapy pool where students have exclusive use of the high quality and specialist facilities.  The Physiotherapy team and Seven Hills school staff work collaboratively to deliver hydyo programmes as bespoke therapy packages for our students.  Seven Hills has plans to provide hydrotherapy on site through the development of the previous swimming pool area to include a hydro pool, trampoline area, soft pay facility and a sports/gym area (this is scheduled to be completed by September 2020).

Speech and Language Therapy 

We are a team of Speech and Language Therapists, Rachel Nunn and Elizabeth O’Donnell,   Speech and Language Therapists and Diane Darley, a Speech and Language Therapy Assistant. We work as part of the Sheffield Speech and Language Therapy Service within the Sheffield Childrens Hospital Trust. 

We work in a variety of ways throughout the school to help students reach their full potential with their communication, eating and drinking skills.

We have a whole school approach to communication and language development.  This is done by:-

  • Working with teaching staff to create a total communication environment, this enables each child to have the means, reasons and opportunities to communicate.
  • Means, is how we communicate
  • Opportunity, is where, when and who we communicate with.
  • Reasons, is why we communicate
  • We work closely with the staff, children and parents to identify the child’s communication needs and look at the best way to support the child within the school and home setting, this may include a group or 1:1 sessions with our Speech and Language Therapy Assistant.
  • We aim for each student to understand what is happening in their environment and that each student has and uses a functional bespoke means of communication and also that each student develops communication skills to the best of their ability.
  • We work with individual students and the staff and family members whose children have eating and drinking difficulties.

This includes observation of eating skills within the school and home setting. We give advice as to the most appropriate textures and consistencies that students can have.  We do this by observing and analysing their oro-motor and swallowing skills.  If a student has eating and drinking difficulties they will have a bespoke feeding plan to support those that are feeding them.




Laura Stopps

Kat Whiteley
Therapy Assistant

Sarah Lacey
Occupational Therapist

Rachel Nunn
Speech and Language Therapist

Lydia Hills
Occupational Therapist

Lizzie O’Donnell
Speech and Language Therapist

Jan Bennett
Therapy Assistant

Speech and Language Therapy photo sheet

The Ocupational Therapist (OT)

  • Manual handling: we can assess, provide equipment and make recommendations to promote children’s independence in getting in and out of bed / bath etc or to enable their carers to assist them in a safe way.  This can include equipment such as bath boards, grab rails, slings, hoist and adjustable height/profiling beds.
  • Postural management: we assess and provide home seating where postural support is needed and assess and make recommendations for seating in school where appropriate.  We work jointly with physiotherapists where sleep systems are needed.
  • We can work together with OT’s from Equipment and Adaptations (social services) if an adaptation to your home or a review of the adaptation is needed.
  • We can offer practical advice or make recommendations for equipment to help with everyday take such as deeding, dressing, toileting or bathing.  This may be to encourage a child to develop their independence skills or to help carers who assist their children.
  • We can assess your child’s fine motor skills and offer advice to parents and school on activities to encourage these.
  • We can make resting splints and provide functional hand splints where this is needed to maintain range of movement at the wrist, thumb and fingers or to facilitate position that better helps function.
  • Sensory needs: we do not offer a sensory integration service but we do offer assessment and advice where sensory difficulties cause a problem with functional activities (eg dressing, hair brushing) or where sensory difficulties are leading to self injuries behaviour.
  • Car seats/harnesses: statory services do not provide these, however, we can assist with assessment and support applications for charity funding.


  • We assess your child’s physical abilities and body position to plan therapy input.
  • If appropriate we devise individual therapy programmes to develop gross motor skills.  This may also be advice and programmes given to school staff to use in the classroom, PE or rebound.
  • If appropriate we advise on the best way to position and handle your child.  We will provide advice and equipment to school staff and parents with regards positioning through the day and night.  this could include standing frames, walking aids, wheelchair and sleep systems.
  • We work with the orthotic service and provide support for orthotic clinics in school.
  • We work closely with different departments at Sheffield Children’s hospital and can refer children here if required.
  • We complete home visits often with the Occupational Therapist to look at mobility or postural needs at home.


Discharge from Therapy

If there comes a time when therapy goals have been met and there is no outstanding need for therapy input, your child will be discharged from the relevant therapy service.  If this occurs you can contact our team to refer your childif any new goals arise or a review is needed in relation to the areas outlined on this page.

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