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OTS 146: Occupational Therapy Strategies For Crafting Inclusive PE

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Welcome to the show notes for Episode 146 of the OT Schoolhouse Podcast.


Imagine a school environment where every student, regardless of their abilities, can actively participate in physical education. How can we, as occupational therapists and educators, work together to turn this into reality?


In today's episode, we are joined by Faith Newton, an occupational therapist based in England, who is passionate about inclusive physical education (PE) for students with special educational needs and disabilities.


In this episode, Faith will discuss the school-based occupational therapy system in the UK and how it compares to models in the US. She will also explore universal design principles and strategies for making PE more inclusive for all students. Tune in to learn more!



Listen now to learn the following objectives:


  • Learners will Identify the key components of an inclusive PE program for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

  • Learners will understand the role of occupational therapy in supporting neurodivergent students in physical education settings.

  • Learners will understand how to conduct an activity analysis for common PE games like dodgeball to identify sensory, physical, cognitive, and emotional demands.



Guest Bio


Faith Newton is a Children's Occupational Therapist and founder of School OT. She has worked with schools, parents and children since 2013. She is also the author of 'Inclusive PE for SEND Children' and has two neurodivergent children. She is passionate about making schools more inclusive.



Quotes


“People talk about the positive emotions that come with sport and that's definitely the case. But there's also can be a lot of negative emotions”

-Faith Newton, Occupational Therapy MSc (pre-reg)


"My approach, really with universal strategies is things for the whole class and it's not changing the person, it's changing the environment and the occupation."

-Faith Newton, Occupational Therapy MSc (pre-reg)


"My approach is what's good for kids with SEND is good for all kids."

-Faith Newton, Occupational Therapy MSc (pre-reg)


"How can you make it better for everybody? The kids with no diagnosis, the kid that’s struggling, and the kids that do really well, it can just maximize their chances, if they have choice and enjoyment."

-Faith Newton, Occupational Therapy MSc (pre-reg)


“For so many of our kids, there's so much else going on. It's not automatic, it's really challenging. So awareness is really key.”

-Faith Newton, Occupational Therapy MSc (pre-reg)


“Inclusion is a Journey…none of us are perfect…making it manageable, the just right level of challenge for them.”

-Faith Newton, Occupational Therapy MSc (pre-reg)


“I think the schools don't ask, and we don't ask them. So it's kind of like nobody's thinking about it.”

-Faith Newton, Occupational Therapy MSc (pre-reg)


“If we're going to help these students be included into general education, physical education, then we should probably also be supporting the people that are gonna make that possible, like the teachers and the aids.”

-Jayson Davies, MA, OTR/L


“We're all part of a team together and we all need to support one another.” -Jayson Davies, MA, OTR/L



Resources









Episode Transcript

Expand to view the full episode transcript.

Jayson Davies   

Hello, everyone and welcome back to another episode of the OT schoolhouse podcast. As you may have heard me talk about on the podcast before, one of my favorite people to work with on an IEP team are the adapted physical education teachers, they just seem to understand occupational therapy, and they are always up for collaborating. Shout out to Joanne who listens to every episode of the otisco Health podcast, even though she's now retired. It was fantastic working with you. Thank you for your support, and I hope you're enjoying your walk this morning. But I also recognize that many OT practitioners, maybe like yourself, don't have an AP counterpart to rely on when it comes to supporting students during physical education. That's why today we are joined by faith Newton and OT based in England to discuss inclusive physical education for students with special education needs and disabilities, aka send students that was a new one for me. Faith is passionate about supporting students to fully participate in PE and even wrote a book on the topic, we'll be sure to link to that in the show notes in case you're interested. My discussion today with faith focused on two different areas. First, we're going to dive into occupational therapy in the schools and what that looks like in the UK as compared to models in the United States. Faith provides insight into how OT services are structured and delivered across different contexts. And I will warn you is very different from what we have over here in the States. Second, we're gonna dive into strategies for making PE more inclusive and accessible for all students. Faith is going to share universal design principles that can benefit all learners. And together we are going to explore targeted and individualized supports for how OTs can support and collaborate with PE teachers to support again, all students to fully engage in physical education. I'm excited to share with you faith expertise in this area today. Thank you so much for joining. And stay tuned. We'll be right back with faith Newton. 

 

Amazing Narrator   

Hello, and welcome to the OT schoolhouse podcast, your source for school based occupational therapy, tips, interviews and professional development. Now to get the conversation started. Here's your host, Jayson Davies. PLAs is officially in session. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Welcome to the OT school health podcast. Babe, how are you doing today? Good. Thank you. Yes. Thank you so much for joining us. This is definitely a topic that I've always been interested in. Like, you know, I'm a very much especially growing up very much into sports. And in California, we actually have, we have related service providers that work in the schools called adaptive physical education teachers. But I know that isn't necessarily common. And so I'm excited to talk to you today about occupational therapy in the world of physical education. And that is just something that you're so passionate about and can't wait for you to share. This is going to be a fun one. So I hope you're excited. Oh, yeah. Yeah, it's quite funny, because I was not supported at all. So we come from the opposite sides. We experience funny how that works. But I mean, at the end of the day, you know, now we're older, we're occupational therapy practitioners, it's all about supporting the students and supporting them and what they enjoy. And many, many students love PE, even if it's not necessarily always the sport side of PE, there's other aspects of PE, and we'll talk about that. But yeah, let's dive into it. And the first thing that people listening might have noticed is your accent. We usually have a US based therapist on here. So let's start with there. Where are you joining us from today?  

 

Faith Newton   

Sure. I'm in Gloucester, in England. So it's about 40 miles south of Birmingham.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Alright, I know that I have no idea where it is. I know, I could not find it on a map. But I heard hear of it, you know, some bridgerton language in there and all that fun stuff. So yeah, so you're, you're in the UK. And you know what I don't want to get into to the school base. So to cite first, I definitely want to ask you how it's different there versus in the States. But before I do that, how did you get into the role of occupational therapy and where are you currently practicing in the world of OT?  

 

Faith Newton   

Sure. So I got into it. My mom has cerebral palsy. So I was kind of aware of OTs and I guess just disability really growing up. It's just kind of part of my life. And then somehow, yeah, I think I was about 16. And we have like a week's work experience in the UK when you're 16. And so I asked a local hospital if I could go into work experience, and it was awful. It was like, literally just given that commode. Sorta Do you know what? Yeah. Yeah. commodes, and like getting people on a net of the bath, but like, really fast, you didn't get to know anybody. And a 16. He was just like, I'm not doing this with my life. But I knew there was more to it. And I thought, Okay, I'll come back later. Because I've done some reading and I knew it was good. It just like was feeling not quite right then So I did an English Lit degree, and then worked in Afghanistan for a few years for an NGO. And while I was there, I went to a clinic with kids with CP cerebral palsy like my mom. And they didn't really have anything. And I was just like, I really want to help and be able to make a difference to kids disabled kids. So then I kind of looked at training and went back to university. So that's kind of how I got into it. And now I'm kind of at a crossroads. Actually, I'm doing some school based it work privately. And I'm about to set to kind of pivot my business slightly to do like online kind of telehealth with parents and your, your divergent children. And PDA. Kids. So pathological demand avoidance, 

 

Jayson Davies   

okay. Yep. Yeah, that's a very hot topic, or that acronym. I've been hearing that more and more and more lately, PDA. And, you know, the first time I heard of it, PDA is not what I thought of pathological demand avoidance. But yes, definitely a growing area of need to support parents and everyone in that realm. So yeah,  

 

Faith Newton   

yeah. And my son has PDA. So it's kind of very close to my heart. And the reason for pivoting is really, he's not a school at the moment. So I kind of need to be based more from home. So I kind of adapting it, and realizing that hopefully, I can be a big blessing to a lot of families who are just kind of stuck, and I've lived it, I've got the personal and professional experience.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Fantastic. Yeah, I think you'll be able to, I mean, like you said, You've lived it a little bit, plus, you had the occupational therapy side. So you'll really, really be able to support a lot of parents and maybe even some teachers and other families that are supporting students with PDA. So awesome. You mentioned when you're kind of talking about what you've done as an OT, school based OT, but you also kind of said it as a private practice, which is interesting, because in the States, we often think of school based OT as one thing and private practice as more the clinical side of things. So, yeah. Oh, really. So yeah, I would love for you to share with us just what school based occupational therapy looks like in the UK, because we have primarily a listenership of US based, although we do actually have a fair, fair amount of listeners in Australia and in the UK. So I would love to learn more about what it looks like in your neck of the woods.  

 

Faith Newton   

Sure, so, and not 30 with children is with the NHS. So it's free. NHS being the National Health Service. Yeah, so we fund it through our taxes, but it's free at point of delivery. There's also a very long waiting list. That's kind of downside. So I worked for an NHS clinic, I guess you'd call it for four years. And so the doctor or the school would refer to us, we would see the child's impairment in the clinic. And then I would also go into school to do some assessments and intervention in the school. But I would go to 2530 different schools kind of walk up for an hour, hi to the teacher, hopefully get 10 seconds to pass over any information and then be on to the next one. Yeah, you guys are way ahead of us for school based OT. So basically, about four or five years ago, NHS were like, oh, we should think about school, like school based entity. And we've got like this tiered model that the Royal College of OTs in the UK have kind of pushing. So you have like the universal provision, which would be class targeted and then individual. And they're trying to get people to do more of a universal provision. But that kind of looks like maybe one training a term for school, or maybe being in a school a bit more, but there's not a lot of it. So yeah, there's not many people kind of doing private school based it either. So I think I just I've not met anyone else who does quite what I do. So  

 

Jayson Davies   

yeah, yeah. So sorry, I think I kind of cut you off a little bit. But the three different tiers in the United States, we call it under RTI or MTS s and have tier one, which tends to be universal tier two more targeted interventions. And then tier three might be what some consider that special education, others consider it just more targeted, but not yet special education. Is that pretty similar to the model that you would be using? 

 

Faith Newton   

Kind of first the Yeah, the individual was that tier one or tier three?  

 

Jayson Davies   

That'd be the top the tier three.  

 

Faith Newton   

Yeah, the top tier, the top tier is one on one doesn't matter if it's special educational mainstream. It just means one on one. As opposed to a group or the class  

 

Jayson Davies   

that makes it so simple. Like I just because you're in the States, no one can figure out what your three really is and how it's separate or the same as special education. I wish we could just make it nice and straightforward, right? Tier one universal tier two groups, tier three individual like boom, that that would be nice and easy. Yeah. All right. Well, at least we kind of know what we're working with. Now here, we both have this tiered intervention type of system, which is great. Before we kind of move on. I do want to ask you, so you said that you worked for a clinic funded by NHS, basically, the way it worked, right? 

 

Faith Newton   

Wasn't NHS clinics. So, okay, I mean, actually making that we had a building that kids were coming to with a sensory integration room, but most of my day was spent kind of out of the clinic going into schools and homes. Okay,  

 

Jayson Davies   

so then I do want to ask you, because here in the States, a lot of school based OT practitioners are employed directly by the school, or maybe by a contract agency that's being contracted to work with a specific school specific district or county, it sounds like this is very separate in the sense that you work at an NHS clinic, how? I guess the question is, is how does the school and the NHS clinic work together? Or do they? Does that make sense? 

 

Faith Newton   

It depends on the individual therapist, so like, my manager was really big on, you phoned the school, you don't just speak to the receptionist, you asked to speak to the Senko, who was the special education needs coordinator who was responsible for overseeing, or the kids with special needs to speak with them kind of explain, you know, the referral or get their perspective and opinion? So that's what I would try and do in reality, sometimes, it was kind of you were kind of at the school. And so Oh, yeah, we know you can there you go, any kind of leave going? Because you're not paid, you know, they're not paying for you, I think, I think that does make a difference. Because now when I'm doing independent work is because the head teacher wants me the same code wants me, and I'm talking about the whole school priority. And I'm talking about inspections and their ratings and how we can improve everything. And it's completely different from kind of the doctor wrote a letter, so I have to come into the score.  

 

Jayson Davies   

So is that how it typically would work at the NHS clinic, as a doctor writes a letter saying, hey, this student or this kid needs OT and then from there, you decide whether or not you're going to see the student in the clinic, or if you're going to try and go into the school. 

 

Faith Newton   

It can be the GP, it can be another health professional. And depending on the trust, it can be a Senko as well. So sometimes a school is referred that individual pupil, but then they may have to wait six months, one year, two years to be seen. Wow. And my, my NHS organization was really good, because we got to treatment, but several of them is assessment only, and then kind of a handout.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, wow. You know, things just change from state to state. And then of course, from country to country, it's just amazing to see how things are different. And it's funny that even earlier, you know, you mentioned how the states are quote unquote, like, farther advanced or further along when it comes to school based OT practice or OT services, because I kind of see other states. In fact, Canada is one of those where they don't necessarily have the same model as us. But they're really gung ho about the the RTI MTSS type of model. And so I almost see them as being more advanced than us. In some ways. You know, the grass is always greener on the other side, I guess they could say, right, so it's interesting how that works out. So well. Very cool. So now that we have this kind of picture of the system that you were working in, I'd love to hear more about the real reason we're here, which is physical education. And you wrote a book about this, uh, you know, so much more than, than I could ever think of, and we're gonna dive deep into that. So why don't you first introduced to was the concept where did this concept for the book come from? 

 

Faith Newton   

Yeah, so I was on maternity leave about almost four years ago. And I was listening to a webinar about how to write a book, I think I was a bit bored afternoon, I need some brain stimulation. And I thought of a book that's going to be all about the whole of OT for schools. And then I quickly realized that was huge and not going to work. So I decided to break it down focus on movements, and I was going to have one part on pa one part on classroom environment and movement, and one part on playtime or recess. And then when I started outlining it, I just thought no, this is three books, actually. And I just literally sat in cost a coffee shop, and kind of just thought which way should I go for and went for PA. Mainly because I emotionally because I had a hard time with PA. I think there's something there and it's really overlooked. It's an area that, you know, on IEP s are kind of our equivalent is hardly ever mentioned. And so I went onto Facebook because I'm part of some parents support groups. And I just said to them, can anyone tell me about their child's experience of PA and the replies I got just kind of compelled me to write it. Because suddenly they the opposite of what you're saying? It wasn't my child loves pa it was they hate it. It's for living, how they're hiding and the toiler. They're not going to school that day. It was so painful and difficult for them. And I was just I need to make it better. I wanted to get that.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah. Wow. So so the title of the book is inclusive PE, physical education for sent s e n d children. And that, again, is another term that we're not familiar with here. I looked it up. And so I know super simple, but I'll let you explain. 

 

Faith Newton   

Yeah, so sound is special educational needs and disabilities. And in the UK, there's a kind of all this documentation around it. But it's split into four categories. It's split into physical and sensory communication, interaction, cognitive and learning, and emotional, mental and site emotional, social and mental health. So children are meant to fit into one category. But we all know kids sort of into boxes, and they often merge into software. So yeah, yeah.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Wow. So So you decided to take on inclusive physical education for students with disabilities? And where did you go from there? It sounds like you had some experience within school based OT, if we want to call it that, for lack of a better word for the system. What did you know about PE? Did you have experience with supporting kids in PE? What made you feel like you could take on this book? 

 

Faith Newton   

Yeah, well, I had you lots of impostor syndrome. And lots of days, I cannot write this, I'm not sporting, I'm not a PE teacher. I just kept coming back to you know, I'm not a PE teacher, and I'm not sporty, and the T the educators, and that is their back and their expertise. But I'm an OT. And I just kept coming back to I'm an OT, I get the environment and I get the occupation I've seen it to offer. And I just kind of kept that as my angle. And I really wanted to bring the voice of the child and family into it. So from the Facebook kind of chats with their concern, after interviews, I've got quotes all through the book from children and parents, because I really wanted their voice to be heard. So once I found the structure of their voice, base, and then I briefly kind of explained to say, I didn't know DC do dyspraxia, I kind of say, what is it? How common is a? What are some of the kind of challenges, what are some of the strengths and strategies, and once I kind of had that structure, it just kind of flows? Yeah, I had a bit of experience supporting kids with PA. But to be honest, a lot of strategies work outside of PA, it's just PE puts them in a spotlight. So teamwork or group work happens in the classroom, that with pa it's kind of really public, really high stakes. And the same with the sensory environment that I've worked with all the time. You know, in PA, you've got kind of, I don't know the smell of aftershave or body odor, or you've got a whistle as you've got light. So it's all the sensory stuff, but magnified?  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah. I mean, and I feel like there's a lot more to PE than just the sports to that can also be very difficult for kids, especially kids who are on the spectrum or who have DCD and whatnot. And so what are some of the other factors that go into PE aside from just the physical aspect of PE that students can often have difficulties with? 

 

Faith Newton   

Yeah, I mean, there's so many so yeah, like I said, with a sense categories as four categories, you know, physical was one of them. So for a lot of students, the team element is really difficult. You know, if you struggle with maths, your teacher might say, and you might not put your hands at merch, but not everyone's witnessing, you get it wrong. In pa you know, if you're playing particularly a kind of more sport, and you're the one that causes your team to miss the goal, or you can't hit the ball and all 30 Kids are watching you. There's a lot of potential shame, humiliation, people talk about the positive, you know, emotions that come with sport, and that's definitely the case. But there's also gonna be a lot of negative emotions. And just the kind of nonverbal communication is huge. So if you think about something like do you have Dodgeball?  

 

Jayson Davies   

Dodgeball? Yeah, one of my favorites,  

 

Faith Newton   

okay. So if you think about dodgeball, you know, your attention is meant to be split in so many ways. You've got balls hurtling everywhere, you're trying to like not knock into the wall, not knock over your team may not crash with a ball, jump dodge, kind of. There's so much going on. And actually in the book, I've got two chapters where I just do an activity analysis on dodgeball, and getting changed for PA There's about 20 to 30 different elements. And that's not even all of them for each one. And so and also just emotional regulation. So, you know, you're out you have to sit on the bench. So how do you feel? And, you know, if you kind of have a stress bucket that's already very full, it can spill over easily that might trigger you to have a big reaction. And then with OT, the other thing is the kids that are the worst get sent out the quickest. Right? So the kids that are really good gets loads of practice, and the kids that are bad get sent out. It's just about that.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, that's absolutely correct. And that's not just dodgeball. I mean, there's other instances where, where the same thing, right, in baseball, if you strike out a lot, you're only getting three pitches, and you're back on the bench and, and you're not as good. So maybe the coach benches you you're not playing out on the field, so you're not getting any better. And of course, the kids that are getting hits getting on the basis are going to excel. Yeah, absolutely. Correct. Yeah, very cool. So absolutely, it's definitely more than just physical education. And you really illustrated some of that social emotional, some of the difficulties with processing emotions, you know, having to be on the bench for a certain amount of time. And I'm sure you could go on and on, you talked a little bit about, right, like changing in the PE room, there's so much just in that aspect alone, a lot of therapists, I think, when it comes to the schools, sometimes we are quick to just miss the need to work on working on some ADLs, because we don't necessarily see it as a school related activity. But when it comes to PE, there's a lot of ADLs and getting ready for a PE session. So there's just so much there.  

 

Faith Newton   

Yeah, there's loads and like managing transitions and preparation. So for instance, my son was due to go swimming with his class, slightly local pool. But we were only told like four days beforehand. And he's got a lot of sensory sensitivities. And so we tried to put a plan together, but it didn't get passed on to the teachers. And so he came home from swimming, then I'm never going again, they made me have two showers, I hated it. And fortunately, he has not to that pool, he's not coming back, but he has gone back to other pools. But had we been told 234 weeks in advance, going to meet with the teachers and prepare for Brittany, it would have gotten so much better. And you know, little things like that are really simple, but they just take a bit of thought around preparation and transition and all this kind of thing. 

 

Jayson Davies   

You mean planning ahead of time 

 

Faith Newton   

I was talking scores I've got a lot of but yeah. 

 

Jayson Davies   

yeah, it's hard. Alright, so I kinda want to bring two elements that we've already discussed together. You know, you talked a lot about the difficulties, the concerns that students have had difficulty with within PE. And we also talked about that tiered model. And so I want to kind of maybe take it one tear at a time about how an occupational therapy practitioner might support students with PE. So if we kind of start at the base level, right, universal strategies, tier one, what are some things that you've had success with, using tier one strategies to support students and maybe even the PE teachers themselves? 

 

Faith Newton   

Yeah, so I think that my approach is what's good for kids with Sen is good for all kids. So instead of saying, because I don't know about the states, but we have kind of at least 16% of kids in any school that have special special needs, guys, and it's growing year on year. And so trying to say to the teacher, here's a list of recommendations for Bobby and Mohamed and Jack, and you know, they can't do it. But actually, if I'm saying to them, can you pick one thing from my book, one thing I'm going to try this week, so maybe, can you show a video clip of the game to give instructions visually and verbally, instead of just trying to tell kid in a noisy kind of field, or Hall, you know, as one thing they can do that can make it better for lots of kids. So my approach, really, with universal strategies is things for the whole class and it's not changing, the person is changing the environment and the occupation. So it's really focused on that. It could be you know, for kids who are colorblind, and a lot you might not know they're colorblind, just being careful the equipment, you have the color of your combs, the you know, the visuals that you have things like that. So that will kind of be which is what my book is all about with these these universal strategies. How can you make it better for everybody? The kids with no diagnosis, the kids are struggling. And you know, the kids that do really well it can just like maximize their chances if they have choice and enjoyment, you know, use of all those things.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, absolutely. So That's tier one or universal strategies. And we're gonna come back to that, because I want to challenge you in that one just a little bit. But let's move up to tier two or more that targeted approach. So now you've given the teacher some universal strategies, but maybe there's some kids, I'm assuming at least a few kids now are still struggling, what might you do to support the teacher in the kids? 

 

Faith Newton   

Yeah, so I have done kind of small groups, kind of like gross motor skill groups before and kind of, you know, really tried to work with the skills and then you can kind of use like, coop model and like, teach that to staff as well how to kind of really, you know, help them problem solve and understand feedback. And a lot of it is confidence. I've also done some sensory integration work with kids, and suddenly, they're able to kind of go on a slide go on a swing, and because they get in that movement, and they're going on high, so that can kind of translate to the P context as well. And then more for like, participating in trying out things.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah. So in that case, would you be working with the students during physical education during their PE time, or would it be during potentially different time during the school day or? 

 

Faith Newton   

different time of the day. So I also have done like a whole class screenings. In fact, one day, I was in the junior school. So that's like, ages, one, eight till 11. And I was in the playground for the whole day in like February or something. And each class had PE outside, and I was kind of screening the whole class. And I'd pick out you know, five or six kids, write them down the next slot, the next slot, and then follow that up with one or one assessment. And then we started playground intervention. So I kind of came up with gross motor kind of activities to help them develop, train the teaching assistants, and they did it a break time. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Very cool. So your that? Yeah, I mean, there's research about that. I don't have them off the top of my head. But I've read several researchers research about that. I think Susan basic actually has a entire program all about making recess, and lunchtime and more friendly. I know, the comfortable cafeteria is one program, but I think she has a recess program as well. So yeah, I think we can definitely support not just teachers, but also the the aides that are out there during recess or during morning time, or whatever it might be. So yeah,  

 

Faith Newton   

yeah, that's a bit of both weeks, I looked at, you know a lot about the environment. So did a playground audit, I did staff training. But then also, we had that kind of group that was specifically kind of working on the gross motor skills intentionally. So I spent the next really awesome,  

 

Jayson Davies   

great, so from universal strategies to more of a group model. And then when it gets to the individual tier, how has that looked for you? or what have you had success with when it comes to directly working on some of the skills that might be utilized during physical education time?  

 

Faith Newton   

Yes, so it's probably been some of the kind of basic things you know, catching, throwing kind of confidence with that thing about kind of on the motor planning aspects of things. I don't think it's a very polite module, typically with OT, here, and so I wouldn't often kind of be alongside them in a PLS. So when I was doing the one on ones, it will kind of be a different time, I kind of regretted that a little bit, because you're not in the right environment. I mean, it stops a student being self conscious that you're kind of working with them one on one. But we all know that when you have a child in a quiet one to one environment, and is completely different from in a class of 30, with all the distractions, or the noise, or the emotions, and how it should translate often wasn't around to say, and then quite quickly, at least for the NHS, either kind of finish my block of sessions. Or if the school was paying me, they'd want me to kind of be on to the next shooter. So yeah, I've got less experienced with individuals. And budgets are really, really stretched at the moment in schools in the UK, we've got the cost of living crisis, we've got kind of Scotland roofs fall again, it's kind of chaos. And so saying to schools, these are things you can do that are very cheap or free for the whole class is kind of where things are out here. Really. So I guess the books kind of responding to kind of the political environment as well.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah. And you know, you're right, right. When you do something one on one, it's very different from doing it in the classroom or out on the PE pitch or whatever. But at the same time, a lot of a lot of stuff that you do in the clinic. If you're working on dyspraxia if you're working on social emotional skills, you know, the hope in the plan is that it does translate over it. Yeah. And hopefully that tied together with some of maybe the targeted or universal strategies that can make a difference out there  

 

Faith Newton   

there's definitely a space for one to one. Definitely. I think there's just been so much focus from it, and scores on wants have won. And I've seen some of the downsides that I've kind of gone a bit the other direction. And personally, for my son, he had a lot of one to one interventions and adaptations, and it wasn't enough. And again, we've kind of got a national crisis, really, of so many children who can't access school. And then they all like your divergent, autistic, and the environments, you know, the uniform policy that we have, and the attendance awards that we have, and then locking the toilet and putting all these things and making it really hard for our kids to access. So I'm kind of coming at it from that direction as well.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah. I know, your book is really aimed more toward the teachers and the parents that are trying to support their students in the school. But obviously, it's for therapists as well. And I don't know, in my experience, I find that general education, PE teachers are not always the most open to ideas from related service providers, like OTs and whatnot, they tend to kind of think like, this is my space, you know, that Johnny's doing fine, like, don't worry about I'll take care of Johnny's mentality. I know that's not true for every PE teacher. But I want to ask you like, what are some general strategies maybe that have worked for you to kind of getting them on board a little bit? And just find as OTs right, we can't just go in and give them more work to do we have to be careful about it. And so I want to ask you, maybe some strategies that have worked for you to kind of get the PE teachers on board a little bit. 

 

Faith Newton   

I think increasing awareness is like the first thing, you know, they have to see the need. And they do see the need, you know, that people have said to me, I know their students struggling, but I don't know what to do to help them. And that's kind of across the board, particularly in primary where they teach every subject and P might not be their specialism, but they have to teach. I'm always kind of very validating that I know you've got loads to do I know you're pulled in every direction. And that's Yeah, so I think awareness. I think when I've had the opportunity to do training, either webinars or in schools kind of CPD, and I show them or I get them to do an activity analysis in groups of things like dodgeball, suddenly, they're like, I had no idea. I had no idea how complicated it was. And I always compare it to driving a car. Like when you start driving, you're like, Man, the clutch and the indicators and the mirrors, and it's completely overwhelming. And then you know, now you're chatting away, you're planning your dinner, and you're like, Oh, I've arrived. And I've talked to them about how, you know, when it becomes automatic, it's easy, but for so many of our kids, there's so much else going on. It's not automatic, it's really challenging. So awareness is really key. And a lot of people said the kind of stories in the book have been really helpful. And then just saying to them, you know, inclusion is a journey. None of us get right. None of us are perfect. But pick one thing, one thing that can help and may be WhatsApps embedded in a few weeks, pick the next thing, you know, and just make it really small and really simple. Like, yeah, could you share that two minute video? Could you make sure you don't just have red and green cones? Could you make sure when you put kids in groups, you keep them in groups for half a Term or Term? You're not changing all the time? You know? Yeah, yeah. So just kind of kind of almost OTs, it making it small, making it manageable, the just right level of challenge for them. And I try to encourage people to kind of be in community and kind of talk to other teachers about find out the forums.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I like to say, right, we're not a school based OT practitioners, our clients is definitely more than the student, right? Like the teacher is our client, the parents are often the client, the age, everyone on that campus is really part of the team and I use the word client, but really, it's just that we're all part of a team together. Right. And, and we all need to support one another. So absolutely.  

 

Faith Newton   

What I was gonna say is, I think I, I kind of own my expertise, which I've been really surprised that they've really appreciated like, oh, you get this, you get that? And I've kind of made sure to be like, you guys know the curriculum. You guys know how to teach it? I don't you know, so like, we're both experts in different ways. We both have different things to bring. Well, you know, I didn't know everything they didn't ever think they might you say together with be that team?  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah. So earlier in the in the podcast, I mentioned a PE Adapted PE, and like I kind of alluded to earlier, I have come to the realization that APS do not exist everywhere. And I'm assuming you're shaking your head right now. So it's not happening in the UK either. So before you kind of started to support the students within PE Do you know of anyone that was doing that? This or is there another professional that was doing this at all? 

 

Faith Newton   

Yeah, that's a good question. I mean, well, we have current national bodies, kind of like youth sport trust. And we have P associations and inclusion is very much on their agenda. And like I know, for instance, are trying to think I think there's a cerebral palsy charity, that have like a online module about gymnastics and behavior adapt things. So there is definitely training and support. But it's not being from OTs. Yeah, it's been from maybe special school teachers or PE experts that have done some training and sand. And a lot of it's probably been with quite physical disabilities. So we do have things like, you know, bochur, kind of sitting down, or adaptive sports, they nearly always take place outside of school to kind of be an evening group or for adults. And my focus kind of in the book is really kind of those neurodivergent students rather than kind of, you know, kids with CP or Danlos Syndrome or different things.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah. Yeah. different needs. Yeah, I just think it's interesting, because when I think about a PE expecially, and I think about my experience as a school based occupational therapy practitioner, I rarely get a concern about a student's ability to access B, not because it's not there. It's just because it's not typically the focus, right? Like everyone's so focused on math, everyone's so focused on reading, legible handwriting, that the other things just kind of take a backseat to it. And I don't know, especially if you're in an area where adaptive physical education doesn't exist, I don't know of anyone that would raise their hand and say, Yeah, I can support this student out of PE. I know, I've worked at a high school. And we had one student who was in a lifeskills classroom with autism, and he wanted to be on the baseball team. And so luckily, I had no part of this, but the teacher really stepped up. And she knew the baseball coach. So got the baseball coach involved, and he got to go to the games, or at least the home games and be a part of that. And it was really great. And it just had me really thinking like, we have really limited our scope. In most school based occupational therapy positions to handwriting, visual motor skills within the classroom, fine motor skills in the classroom, maybe we get out to recess, or maybe we get out to the lunch room to help out there. But very rarely is physical education even addressed at all. So I just, I just love that you're, you're looking into this. I think that's all. 

 

Faith Newton   

Yeah. And I think you'll I mean, it's gonna say in my experience, I think the scores don't ask, and we don't ask them. So it's kind of like nobody's thinking about it. And yet, there's kind of, you know, it'd be quite polarizing. So I've talked a lot about the difficulties that kids can have with PE, but for other kids, it's the best class of the week, you know, maybe because if we're dyslexic, and you know, the readings really difficult and challenging. But actually, they're amazing at dancing, for instance, and I find some stats when I was researching my book. And it's like, one in three people in performing arts are dyslexic, but only one in 10 of the population. So there's loads of dancers who are just dyslexic, they're brilliant, and they're dyslexic, and they bring their strengths. And the same with ADHD, there's almost double the amount of athletes and baseball players that have ADHD than the population. Because the risk taking impulsivity, the ability to take in loads all at once, it's perfect, that's what you need to accept. So part of my work is also talking to teach about the strengths of, you know, kids are kind of different conditions on your rare types, and helping them thinking of how to include some of these things. And how do we talk about long models, you know, talking to the class, you know, about Tiger Woods, or you know, but a different kind of sports people on who are dyslexic or have DCD or autistic? Because that's not talked about either. Really?  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah. Yeah. It's so interesting. And you also include the word inclusive within the book. And which brings me to a whole nother mindset that I've experienced time after time again, here, especially in the States is on our IEP, which I think we talked about, you're familiar with an IEP here in the States, right. On the IEP, we are often trying to help a student mainstream or be more included in with general education peers. And a lot of times the first class in quotes, if you want to call it that, the first class that it student is mainstreamed into is physical education. So a student might be in a self contained special day class for the entire day. But the first classroom that they get to go out or not classroom but period that they get to go out and spend Time with their general education peers is often that PE class. And yeah, I guess it's you know, it's because it's seen as, quote unquote, being easier than math reading all the other areas. And it's interesting, I never thought about it in this Limelight before, like from the point of view that we are, we're putting so much emphasis on PE as being at the place of inclusion, or at least the first point of inclusion for so many students. Yet, we're not doing anything about it to actually make it inclusive. I mean, maybe an aide is going out there with a student or I don't know, but yeah, we just need to if we're going to help these students, be included into general education, physical education, then we should probably also be supporting the people that are going to make that possible, like the teachers and the aides and whatnot. So yeah, I really love that you're doing this. 

 

Faith Newton   

 And it doesn't take very long to be the slowest, or the one who misses all the hits, before you start thinking I'm rubbish at sport, I don't like pee, I can't do this. And we still kind of have I mean, I use the terms only I'm not very sporty, we still kind of have this language. But you don't have people saying, this is a quote from another podcast. But somebody said, you know, you wouldn't say oh, they're the non writers, you know, they're not very righty, they're the writers, because we just expect all students to write, but we have this and we think, you know, you practice you get better. But we don't always have this growth mindset with PA, we kind of, you know, so the kids will get better. And often the kids who struggle, participate less engage less, and things that can be really, really helped with that are given students voice and choice. Because if they can find something they enjoy, they could be more motivated, more engaged. And often schools are kind of asking kids, you know, what kind of activities do you want to try and try to bring that in as well to kind of bridge that gap? 

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah. Again, it's so important, but it gets so little, it gets so little thought, I think when we're sitting on these teams with ours, or with teams, with, with speech therapist with teachers with maybe even the PE teacher for lucky to have them in a meeting in a team meeting, there's just so little thought about physical education, because there's so much emphasis on the other areas. And, you know, there's a reason that PE and recess are really built into the school day, because a lot of that gives students a, a break from the academics or it gives them the ability to build up some of their confidence, like you were talking about, it gives them the ability to do things with their hands, with their legs, with their feet, gross motor, all that good stuff. But as you mentioned, if a kid's not really succeeding in that, are they still getting the benefit that breaks and recess and physical education activities can actually give them and I think that's huge, you know, and I really think that we need to be more mindful that and bring that into the IEP, us and bring that onto our team meetings and really discuss, you know, how was the student accessing that physical education? So definitely,  

 

Faith Newton   

yeah. And it can have a lifelong impact. So one mother I interviewed said, she's never set foot in an exercise class in her life, because she hated PA, and it's impacting her house. And so we're not just thinking about, you know, today, tomorrow, next week, next year, we're thinking about people's health their entire life. This is a public health issue. And we're perfectly placed as OTs to, you know, this is our area that we need to speak out and be involved in this.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this question because I want OT practitioners that are listening to this podcast, you know, feel inspired, feel like, hey, I want to get out there and support my students who are going out to PE I want them to be included with PE I want them to actually feel like they can achieve with PE. And so I guess for you that the question is is like, where to start with this, you know, if they've never really talked to a PE teacher, if they've never written a goal for physical education, if they've just never had the idea to really support a student within the Feds physical education realm? Where do you think that they should get started with? 

 

Faith Newton   

I would if you can observe and a class as I would like, speak with, I don't know if you do have like a special needs coordinator  

 

Jayson Davies   

equivalised, a special education teacher or they might have a case carrier for the for each student.  

 

Faith Newton   

within mainstream.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Usually there's a case carrier for each student. So that case carrier kind of oversees everything.  

 

Faith Newton   

Yeah. So whoever the relevant member of staff is, whether it's the head of PA or the kind of case carrier, but kind of find out you know, what's the plan for that term, you know, what activity what sport they're working on, and I will be doing an activity analysis you know, I'd be sitting down thinking okay, here's all the sensory demands of physical the cognitive and emotional mental health and then kind of match that up to either your one student or the handful of students you know, struggling and fit okay. Is To the sensory, Is that causing the most problems? You know, is it the kind of cognitive communication, and then just kind of have a handful of really quick wins, you know, you want, you want the kids to experience success, the teachers and you, because if you get quick wins, you're gonna get people on board for change. So like I said, it might be thinking, okay, you know, what, kids with ADHD are really struggling. So let's ask for a little bit more repetition. And let's make the motor planning a bit more explicit, the teacher is going to say, you know, to hit this, you need to bend your arm here, put your foot here, you know, talk it through, and that takes what, two minutes, or it might be, you know, thinking about team selection, or partner selection, and just trying to change that. And again, what is free, it takes one or two minutes, but it can make a difference. And then you could get feedback from the students, you know, about what they find difficult. What's helped them as well.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, you know, I, I've realized that you've said these terms more than I think they are said in most of the podcasts that I record. And that's task analysis and activity demands. And these two terms are something that like our bedrock to occupational therapy, and I honestly don't think we use them enough. Because I really think that can be advantageous to us, I really think that these are terms that we can use to really show what we can do. And so I do want to ask you, like, How could someone use a task analysis to maybe get their foot in the door with supporting students? And PE? 

 

Faith Newton   

Yeah, I think, I think kind of surprises me, because I just take it for granted. But every training I've done with teachers, wow, just amazing. This is a task analysis. So yes, I think having that conversation with the staff and just saying, you know, in my experience, lots of students struggle with PA. And it's usually because it's either the physical demands or sensory, the cognitive, you know, go through all of that, and say, you know, have you experienced that? Have you experienced, you know, kids sitting out not being fully engaged? Do you have any idea why, and just so you know, part of my job, I will say, I'm a detective. My job is to figure out, like, what was the issue and figure out why is it the sensory? Is it the cognitive? Is it the physical? And what do we do about it? And that's my job. You know, you're teaching 30 kids, and my job is to watch and figure out what's going on? And kind of, yeah, I'm pixelings.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah. Yeah, I love that. I think that that is definitely something that we should do more of. And I think it could be a one on one, like, I think you're kind of alluding to just a one on one with a teacher. But you could also do this, you know, for the entire PE team maybe have if there's multiple PE teachers, or maybe for the first grade team, because they also have to do their own PE even though they're not a PE teacher, but really just take a common activity, like what you did with the locker room, or if it's younger grades. The game of dodgeball we talked about that earlier, and just kind of breaking that down and really showing teachers what's actually involved when it comes to playing dodgeball. And it's not, this is definitely not exclusive to PE Right. Like, we could probably get through to teachers, when we're talking about handwriting if we go through. 

 

Faith Newton   

Yeah, this week at a training, I wrote all the demands of handwriting, and they were just like, wow, this is crazy. And it's the same thing like the car, you know, it's and then I explain why for some kids, it needs to be typing, because you take away so many demands, that I think we understand ourselves. So in the UK, we have these like consultants who come into schools, and they're paid like the big bucks, basically. And they come and advise on whole school improvement. But we can do that. So I meet with the head teacher on the same call and say, you know, what are your top school priorities? And there will be handwriting or, or bullying or how theater, you know, they'll be something in there that we say, you know, that's my domain, and I can help you with that. I can help you with that Ponce. I can help you write that curriculum. So I think even how we position ourselves we're underselling ourselves a lot because we're kind of reducing our scope. But I just really encourage people to be like, we do know our stuff. And you know, we're the only ones that get the environment and the occupation. And the person. Yeah, we're the only ones that get all of that. And in looking across physical and emotional, you know, not just like physios. We're looking across it. But teachers don't know that because they just see us doing one on one handwriting, maybe or scissor skills.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, shout out to the PEO model there. You know, we absolutely can like and I know now a few therapists that are doing that shout out to Danielle Emile rip mindfulness in motion here in California. They're doing that and you know what they have? They are occupational therapy practitioners, but they are purposefully rebranding themselves as Educational Consultants. They are educational consultants with a background I'm in occupational therapy. And in that way, they are bringing mindfulness to classrooms to support all students. And they are doing full school trainings. They're doing full district trainings there. They're also going into individual classrooms and doing trainings. And I absolutely think that, that that's 100% accurate, like we are selling ourselves short. Like, I could probably list off like 10 different trainings that a therapist could do right now, like starting with breaking down behavior. Like, right, there's just so many trainings that we can do as OT practitioners. And you don't have to try and make the big bucks, right? Like you can do this for two teachers at your school. You don't have to try and make this a business model. But I think if you are actively starting to try and train your teachers outside of one on one therapy time and working with your administrators to say Hey, can I have 35 minutes with teachers and just give a straight to the point training for them? It's going to benefit all the kids in so many ways. And I think that's awesome, 

 

Faith Newton   

is it I've been asked to speak to university students, trainee teachers, so I've lectured to them. And I've been I went to was asked to speak at the Youth Sport trust conference, and to the whole room is full of spotty people in a tracksuits with their trainers. And I'm there, like the only person that's not from that background as the OT, and they want to hear what I have to say. But I've been quite careful to try to use educational language. So you know, I've read up on the government policies, I kind of I read the Ofsted reports, I tried to immerse myself in educational language, and I don't I don't talk to them about PII, I don't talk to them about activity. I mean, I don't really use this analysis, I say, you know, this is OT, but then I tried to very much kind of talk in their world swell. And I've, yeah, I've had the best reception for the book has been from teachers. It's been great.  

 

Jayson Davies   

That's awesome. That's awesome. And bringing it back to your book, as we kind of wrap things up here, I really want to ask you like, what is your aspiration for the impact that your book will have? Not only within the OT community, but just in general? Like, if you could have that pie in the sky goal for your book, their aspiration? What is that  

 

Faith Newton   

just be to make things better for like the individual kid. You know, like we talked, I want it to impact a lot of people, but it comes down to the one. And I interviewed one mom, and she said that her son from reception to year four, used to roll around during PA and when it's really bad to eat dayss It was that bad. She moved into a new school. And within a few terms, he was on the sports team for the school. And that is the impact that is the difference that inclusion and that it can make. And that's what I want to happen for lots of children and philosophy teachers to give they want they want to do it, but they don't know how to give them that confidence. And no one really,  

 

Jayson Davies   

yeah. Fantastic. I think that's the I think that's one of the things at all, you know, school based OTs, we don't go into it for the money, we go into it to make a difference in those individual kids lives. So yeah. And to finally wrap things up here I, of course, I want to say thank you. But I also want to give you the opportunity to share where anyone can learn more about your book, where's the best place to go to learn more and potentially purchase your your inclusive PE incent children book.  

 

Faith Newton   

Yes, it's on Amazon. That's the main place. So it's a physical paperback. And it's on Kindle. And Kindle Unlimited. It's on kind of, you know, the status sites on the UK, lots of different sites. And then my website, which is school ot.co.uk. I have like a free strategy sheet you can download. So that's got strategies from the book. And I've also got blog posts on there and different resources for OTs and teachers and reviews of the book and information about as well.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Awesome. We will definitely be sure to link both of those the Amazon as well as your website. And yeah, faith just one more time really want to say thank you so much for coming on and sharing about how OTs can support students inclusivity within physical education. It's been a lot of fun.  

 

Faith Newton   

Thank you, Jason. It's been great. 

 

Jayson Davies   

All right, that is going to wrap up episode number 146 of the OT, schoolhouse podcast. Thank you so much to faith for coming on and just sharing what occupational therapy looks like in the UK and sharing how it could look like in order to support all students in the physical education realm. There is so much more to PE than just the physical side of PE you know, there is that social emotional aspect. There are the ADL components of dressing in and out for PE just so much more than actual playing the sports right learning the sports learning all the social nuances that go into it. So I hope you appreciated this podcast episode with faith noon. Be sure to also check out her book if that's something that you're interested in. It may also be worth purchasing for the PE department at your school site. Who knows. But with that, thank you so much for tuning in. I really appreciate you being here and we'll see you next time on the OT schoolhouse podcast. Take care. 

 

Amazing Narrator   

Thank you for listening to the OT schoolhouse podcast. For more ways to help you and your students succeed right now head on over to OTs schoolhouse.com. Until next time, class is dismissed. 

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