Tell us a bit about yourself …
G: I’m Gemma Milne and I’m Head of Therapy at Victoria – my background is in occupational therapy (OT). I’ve been at Victoria for 16 years and in this role for nearly a year.
L: And I’m Lorraine Dredge, and I’m a Senior Speech and Language Assistant. I started as a care assistant here 19 years ago and have worked in the therapy team for 16 years.
What does your work look like?
L: It changes every day for me – that’s the joy of working in a school. I work with students from nursery age to 19 years, and I particularly love working with AAC [augmentative and alternative communication]. So that might be eye-gaze technology, direct access devices and switching to communicate. I work one-to-one and in communication groups. I create lots of resources such as communication books to support language learning. We have an environmental controls room where students can use technology to control curtains, TV and music – all great for boosting independence.
G: My work is 70% managerial and 30% clinical. So on the managerial side, I’m dealing with policy, effective delivery of therapy, which includes physio, OT and speech and language therapy, and integrating therapy and education, amongst many other things! I wanted to keep a good proportion of my clinical work as I find that massively rewarding.
Can you share an experience that was particularly rewarding?
G: Yes, we had one young man who was very, very shy with high levels of social anxiety. We worked with him on using his voice to order something, and we took him to a café to order a drink, something that many of us would completely take for granted. We’d given him a script, told him where to look and he did it. I just remember him sitting there and saying: ‘I’m so proud of myself, I did that all by myself!’
What about you, Lorraine?
L: One young man learned to use an iPad with direct access and specific communication software when he came to Victoria, and told his mum he loved her, for the very first time. That’s why I do this job!
What difference does your work make to students’ futures?
G: A lot of our parents understandably have concerns about their children, especially when we start doing independence skills. We help them to increase independence, whether that’s through clinical skills or with equipment. So at a review, we’ll say to parents, for instance, ‘your child went into a shop’ and the parents are amazed because they don’t expect that.
L: Yes, what we do makes students more independent for adult life.
What’s it like working in the therapy team?
L: We’re a really friendly team, and as assistants, we like to learn from the SALT team. Our role is varied and exciting and it is great to work within a multidisciplinary team. I particularly enjoy working independently under the guidance of the Speech and Language Therapist and problem-solving with AAC technology. The department is dynamic and I am constantly able to learn and develop my skills.
G: If you come to work here, it’s a really nice, friendly team that’s keen to be innovative.
Take a look at some of the roles we have available in our education settings here or for specific therapy roles see below.
Livability Victoria School is a school for students aged 3-19 with primarily physical and medical needs and associated learning difficulties in Poole, Dorset. Working with us can provide you with exciting career development and training opportunities. You will receive a comprehensive induction programme, access to training, regular supervision and excellent support.
We are seeking an experienced and motivated Chef Manager to deliver a high quality catering service for our School including meals that meet the complex needs of our students.Chef manager - Victoria School >