Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy enables people to achieve health, well-being and life satisfaction through participation in occupation. ‘Occupation’ refers to practical and purposeful activities that allow us to live independently and give us a sense of identity. This could be anything from essential day-to-day tasks such as dressing or cooking, to the things that make us who we are-our job, interests, hobbies and relationships. Occupational therapists find solutions to everyday problems. (British Association of Occupational Therapists and The Royal College of Occupational Therapists, 2013).
In line with the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, at Underley Garden we:

  • Work with the child, parents, care workers and teachers to find solutions to minimise the difficulties children face, helping them get the most from life
  • Adapt and adjust environments to improve functional performance and manage sensory processing needs
  • Provide support and advice for daily activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, cooking, working and learning, anxiety management and relaxation
  • Provide intervention in the most appropriate context relative to need

Ayres Sensory Integration® at Underley Garden

In November 2019, we opened our new Sensory Integration Space and we are now able to offer this as an assessment and intervention.

Sensory Integration describes the process we go through when we register process and respond to sensory information. When a person takes in, process and responds to sensory input from inside their body or from the outside environment, sensory integration happens. Part of this is working out what has just happened, what is occurring right now and what will happen next. We need to be able to do this, to have effective responses to the demands of the situation or task.

Sensory integration difficulties describe what happens when sensory integration does not or cannot happen effectively. If a person has sensory integration, difficulties this can make many aspects of everyday life, such as personal care, getting on with others, learning, tricky and challenging.

At Underley Garden, our Occupational Therapists have undergone postgraduate training in Ayres Sensory Integration® leading to certification in the Collaborative for Leadership in Ayres Sensory Integration®. CLASI – see this website for more information .

We offer assessment and intervention using this approach, where it is prioritised as beneficial to the young person.
Ayres Sensory Integration is recognised as an evidence based intervention for children with autism in a recent report from the National Clearinghouse on Autism Evidence and Practice (Steinbrenner et al, 2020).
This page is a PDF published by the American OT which has more information on frequently asked questions about Ayres Sensory Integration® click here for more information

Occupational Therapists support a variety of targets, including:

  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Handwriting and ICT Skills
  • Gross Motor Skills
  • Seating and Posture
  • Visual Motor Integration Skills
  • Activities of Daily Living such as self-care, productivity and leisure
  • Planning and sequencing skills
  • Sensory strategies and promotion of sensory processing awareness to support young peoples’ regulation throughout the school and care days

Meet the team

Jennifer Heath


Lead Organisational Practitioner for Health & Therapy
See ‘Meet the Team’ for more information about Jennifer, as her role includes being part of the Senior Leadership Team at Underley Garden.

Hanna Munro


• Works at Underley Garden 4 days a week
• BSc Occupational Therapy and an MSc
• 13 years OT experience
• Is undertaking post graduate training in sensory integration
• Has worked at Underley Garden since September 2019
• Member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists

Kathryn Tidswell


• Works Monday – Friday 8:30-4:30pm
• MSc in Occupational Therapy
• Currently working towards attaining a postgraduate Certificate in Ayres Sensory Integration (CASI)
• Has worked at Underley Garden since 2019
• Member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists

Bridie Ross-Mowat


• Works 2 days a week at Underley Garden
• Works 3 days a week as a Children’s OT for the NHS
• MSc Occupational Therapy
• Has worked at Underley Garden since September 2019
• Is undertaking post graduate training in sensory integration
• Member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists