Our staff come from a wide range of backgrounds and bring a wealth of specialist autism and learning disability training, education and other experience to Mercury College. They are creative and innovative in their approach to learning, finding opportunities to identify and develop skills that are needed by students.
We invest in our team to ensure they are up to date with new practices and can support students in a cohesive, holistic way ensuring there is a plan to ensure success. We develop a team around the student who work together and with the student to achieve their aspirations and outcomes.
Therapeutic Services Team
Mercury College has access to an in-house team of therapists and clinicians. The Applied Psychology Team is made up of Psychologists and Behaviour Therapists, with support from assistants. The team aims to understand the emotional, social and behavioural needs of a student to reduce any distress and promote positive wellbeing. They work with the students, their families and college staff to develop a PBS plan, which communicates their preferences, strengths and needs in relation to achieving the best learning outcomes possible.
The Occupational Therapists (OTs) and Therapy Assistants get to know each student well through doing activities together and completing formal and informal assessments with them and their family and college staff. Many OTs within the team have further training in Ayres Sensory Integration. They assess how students use or rely on their sensory processing skills and how their environments may impact on levels of calm or distress. They will then try out different approaches, helping the student to regulate their own reactions and sensitivities. This is to help them to engage in daily activities more easily and happily, and maybe try things they’ve never done before.
The Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) Team aim to support each student’s speech, language and communication needs. We value all types of interaction and the SLTs and Therapy Assistants aim to reduce barriers to communication and learning by promoting an inclusive communication approach. This can include using different types of communication such as:
- Photographs and symbols
- Makaton Signing
- Using accessible information or social stories
- Objects of reference
- Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
- Electronic approaches (such as iPads)
They might also support staff in using Intensive Interaction, an approach which takes the skills of the student and builds on them in a relaxed, enjoyable way.
Speech and Language Therapists also have a role in making sure that everyone has safe and enjoyable mealtimes. Each student who joins Mercury College has an assessment to see if they have any difficulties with eating and drinking (dysphagia). If someone needs extra support with their eating and drinking, the SLT puts guidelines in place to help them.
The Therapeutic Services Team provides individual and group support for students, depending on what each person needs. They work closely with our teams, providing training, coaching, support and advice. Equipment ranging from communication resources, adapted cutlery and weighted blankets is also provided.
As providers of education to students with disabilities, we have a duty to ensure that our safeguarding processes are robust and comprehensive. This includes ensuring that: students are listened to and concerns acted upon; adhering to the guidance of adult safeguarding; our staff teams are trained and competent in supporting students; our management and reporting systems meet the standards required by law and are kept under review and up to date with current guidance.