The Academic Year 2022-23 saw the introduction of Cognus Therapies Post 16 Assessment Clinic. Emma Perridge (Occupational Therapist, OT) and Ashlea Stephens (Speech and Language Therapist, SaLT) noticed that they were getting a number of referrals into the Therapies service for the same young people. To avoid duplication for the young people and their parents, they decided to join forces and create a collaborative assessment and report template, focusing directly on the four Preparing for Adulthood (PfA) outcomes:
- Progression to further / higher education and/or employment
- Independent living and housing
- Friendships, relationships and being part of my community
- Being as healthy as possible in adult life
Young people were invited into the clinic space at Cognus’ offices in Cantium House, Wallington for a 2-hour assessment with the OT and SaLT together. The therapists used this time to gather information and complete functional assessment tasks to ascertain the therapy needs of young people. Subsequently, a joint report was completed detailing the findings and making recommendations for any therapy provision needed. Working in such a collaborative way, meant that joint outcomes and sometimes even joint provision was recommended in order to fully meet the needs of the young people.
Across the Academic Year 2022-23, 18 slots in the assessment clinic were offered to young people across Sutton and the surrounding boroughs. On occasions when a clinic assessment setting was not appropriate, and by specific commissioning agreements, the therapists also visited individual education and residential provisions.
The therapists involved are loving the clinic: “I feel inspired, motivated and so encouraged to keep on building on our wonderful Post 16 work and assessment clinic!” and this has been recognised by their managers in feedback received: “For the amazing work that you have completed setting up the assessment clinic which has proved to be so successful.”
A team manager for one local authority has been sharing her positive experiences of the clinic: “I was explaining to her about your PfA template and specialists so she may well be asking you to take on some ad hoc assessments.” A parent also commented: “So pleased with the help you are providing.”
The therapies Post 16 assessment clinic has proved to be such a success, that it will be extending into the Academic Year 2023-24 with new members of therapies staff keen to get involved. If any local Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) teams would like to hear more, then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to discuss.