Speech and Language Therapy

Beth will be in school on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays supporting our students’ communication skills.

She will be providing:

  • Assessments for students’ communication skills
  • Individualised support for specific difficulties
  • Whole class group support
  • Parent and teacher training and support

Examples of the types of support groups she offers include:

  • Lego groups
  • Emotional regulation
  • Memory strategies
  • Comprehension monitoring (what to do when you don’t understand)
  • Social skills lower level (eye contact, turn taking etc)
  • Social skills higher level (fact and opinion, conflict, insults etc)

Beth can be contacted via the school office.

Creative Arts Therapy

Claudia McGowan is our Creative Arts Therapist:

I work with students in secondary education, generally offering once weekly therapy sessions.
Therapy aims to provide the young person with a supportive and containing space and with the possibility of building a positive and consistent relationship with a trusted adult. Within the safety of the therapeutic environment a young person can begin exploring significant past and present experiences, and to engage in a process that will help them make sense of current difficulties so as to find new solutions to issues that are negatively impacting on their lives.
Young people can choose to verbalise their thoughts and feelings, or they can decide to access the art materials made available to them in the room.

Young people are often naturally drawn to symbols, making, and graphic representations and therefore are attracted to art as language. The externalisation of an internal stress through art will allow the young person to gain some distance from the problem or dilemma and to work with the therapist towards a resolution.

I generally adopt a non-directive, person-centred approach which allows the young person real choices on how to use the materials and on what the focus of one particular session should be. There are times when a more structured approach that utilises focused or directive techniques would be beneficial to facilitate further progress and it is therefore adopted as either the primary therapeutic modality or in combination with non-directive techniques.

Mindfulness: I am a trained mindfulness coach and when appropriate I incorporate mindfulness skills in the sessions in order to encourage affect regulation and the development of skills useful in the management of stress, anxiety and anger.

Family work: I aim to work with parents as much as possible so to support them in the use of behaviour management techniques in the home environment and to develop healthy patterns of communication within the family. When appropriate, joint parent-child sessions may be advised.

Play Therapy

Giusi Liccardo is our Play Therapist:

I have based my career and studies on helping children with their feelings and I have been trained to use play as a way of supporting them.

Play is very important in every child’s life as it helps them understand their world and the experiences they live: children learn while playing.

What is play therapy?

Play therapy is a form of psychotherapy that aims to support a child’s wellbeing through the medium of play. Play therapy specifically helps children between the ages of 3 to 12 years old. In play therapy child and therapist work together in a safe space – the play room. The room is equipped with a variety of toys and the toolkit is specifically selected for its therapeutic potential.

The therapeutic toolkit consists of:

-Art and clay materials

-Sand tray and miniatures

-Drama, role play and dressing up materials


-Nurturing toys

-Musical instruments

-Therapeutic stories

-Meditation exercises.

I will be meeting your child once a week for 45 minutes. The day and time of our session will stay the same during the course of therapy, it is very important that your child attends each session as this will allow therapy to run smoothly.

Why play therapy?

Children often struggle to express their feeling using words; this difficulty often manifests itself in maladaptive behaviours, where they will “act out” their frustrations. Play, on the other hand, is children`s   natural way of communicating .   Play therapy and its creative tools enable children to safely access their feelings without the need for words using the metaphor of play.

In my practice I use non-directive and directive play therapy.

In Non-directive therapy the child is able to engage with their preferred part of the tool kit and the trained therapist works alongside the child supporting the healing process and enabling the child to establish new coping skills.

In directive therapy, the therapist will suggest games or exercises to untangle specific issues.

How does it work?

At Nightingale Community Academy I offer a tailored variety of interventions:

-Individual long term therapy

-Individual short term therapy

-Whole classroom mini therapeutic workshops

During individual long and short term interventions I will be meeting your child once a week for 45 minutes. The day and time of our session will stay the same during the course of therapy. It is very important that your child attends each session; this will allow therapy to run smoothly.

Short term interventions will be planned to support your child with specific issues (transitions, bereavement, grief…)

Whole classroom workshops will include a variety of age/stage appropriate activities around  specific topics  ( sensory and soothing activities, Teamwork and Communication games)

Play therapy aims to:

-Increase self-esteem and confidence

-Reduce maladaptive behaviours

-Support the child healing process

-Support the child in finding new copying skills

-Reduce anxieties and fears

-Support the child in expressing and recognising his feelings

Who is play therapy for?

Every child could benefit from play therapy!

Play therapy can help when:

  • Something in your child’s life suddenly changes or is about to and you see them acting differently. (Changes might vary from moving school/ home/ town to more dramatic ones like a loss in the family.)
  • Your child has had to deal with something very difficult in their life and you think they might need some help.
  • A child might need support dealing with everyday life, getting through different demands and tasks (ASD, ADHD, ODD are all conditions that weight on the child`s ability to smoothly process events and safely express feelings).

If you are worried about your child or you would simply like some support, please don’t hesitate to contact the school.