Occupational Therapy (OT) can support learners during their time at college helping them with their independence, engagement and sensory needs. OT is delivered in a variety of ways at Landmarks; integration into curriculum sessions, targeted group work and specialised 1:1 interventions. Learners can be seen based on EHCP needs, engagement needs or through areas a learner might want to develop. 

Occupational Therapy is beneficial in supporting learners development of their independence skills to help develop their transition into adulthood. 

Key interventions that OT can support:

  • Zones of Regulation 
  • Community Access/ Travel Training 
  • Self Care e.g. Teeth brushing, toileting, Sleep hygiene 
  • Sensory needs (Equipment and support)
  • Mindfulness
  • Cooking interventions 
  • Modelling strategies in the classroom 

Independence Intervention

Goal: To develop your independence skills when shopping for ingredients and preparing meals.

First of all, I spoke to the learner about his independence and what areas he would like to work on whilst at college. He highlighted 3 areas: money, time and purchasing items. The learner wanted to develop these 3 things as he feels he requires a lot of support outside of college with them. This is where the idea for merging community access and cooking was created, as this intervention will incorporate money, time and going out in the community. 

Week 1 – Making Pitta Pizzas

This was the first week of the learner receiving Occupational Therapy. At the start he appeared to be slightly nervous and quiet but this was expected as it was something he had never done before. OT support was provided on a 1:1 outside of college, which calmed his nerves slightly. At the start of the session, the learner looked at a Pitta Pizza recipe online using a mobile phone and read out the ingredients to the OT. Before entering the shop, the learner expressed that he struggles to know where everything is, it was suggested by OT that both the learner and OT will make a map of the shop after a couple of weeks to help other learners who might be struggling. A lot of prompts were given during the visit to the shop, but the learner did really well finding the items. Once the items were bought, the cooking intervention took place next to the therapy office as this is a quieter space. The learner mentioned that he was nervous about making his pitta pizzas as he has never used a toaster or microwave before. The learner was offered the choice of pizza and how many he wanted to make and he chose 5 ham and cheese pizzas so that he could take these home to his family. The first 2 pizzas, required total support from the OT, the next 2 required verbal prompting and the last one, the learner made on his own! Well done!!!

“I’m surprised I did that!” “I really enjoyed it today”.

Week 2 – Making Shortbread

The learner was ready and excited for todays session! Prior to going to Aldi to collect the ingredients, the bistro tutor asked if any milk could be collected. The learner had the list of ingredients needed and kept reminding OT that we needed to remember the milk. Change was given to the learner for the shortbread ingredients (£5 – Support was needed to count this). When walking through Aldi and picking up the ingredients (looking for the cheaper items), a calculator was used to add up the items. In total this came to £3.23. Total support was needed to work out whether any change will be given from £5. At the tills, the learner had a go at paying independently with OT supervision. The cashier asked for £3.23 and the learner handed over £3. The cashier then asked for the 23p, at this moment the learner required a short amount of time to process, calm his nerves and problem solve. The learner did amazing!!! He handed over another £1 and received the change from the cashier. No support was needed from OT. If the learner was really struggling OT would step in to support, however, he did this perfectly! When leaving the shop he was so proud of himself!

Back in college, the learner and OT needed to use the oven as part of the recipe so the intervention took place in the bistro (there were only 3 other learners so wasn’t busy- the learner was happy with this). During the cooking intervention, the learner beamed with confidence and was working amazingly with the OT to create lovely looking shortbread. The learner has a session in the bistro so was aware of where things were and the rules in the bistro such as “Oven doors opening”.