Doucecroft School

A Collaborative Approach

At Doucecroft School, therapists work integrally with teaching colleagues providing a dynamic, child centred approach.

We place the child at the centre of everything we do, building on individual strengths, and taking time to provide a nurturing environment where a child can flourish.

We realise that children need to be engaged in their learning and strive to respond and provide opportunities. The value of an innovative and irresistible play-based approach is entwined throughout the curriculum.

We understand that a child’s well-being is crucial to learning so we take the time to truly listen and value their thoughts and actions.

The Universal model of provision

  • The Therapy team at Doucecroft School offer provision at the Universal, Targeted and Specialist levels. 
  • All pupils are allocated therapists and access full assessment upon admission.
  • Assessment reports contain clear evidence based recommendations regarding interventions for the pupil. 

Our Therapy Team

Katherine Wright MSc. - Therapy Lead Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist.

Katherine has been working with children and adults with autism for nearly 20 years. 

She is an experienced practitioner and has worked in a variety of contexts including mainstream schools, Local Authority SEN schools, and the private sector.  

She is an Elklan tutor, trained in SCERTS, Pragmatic Organisational Dynamic display books (POD), Intensive Interaction, and diagnostically (ADOS/ADI-R). 

Katherine believes ‘there is no better way to respect and value a child than to take the time to learn their language’.

Dr. Laura Emrich - Senior Clinical Psychologist

Laura has been working with children and adults with mental health difficulties for 13 years.

She has worked in a variety of settings including community services, psychiatric inpatient services, forensic services and education services. Laura has contributed to research within various areas of mental health.

She is diagnostically trained and trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) as well as other approaches including psychodynamic therapy and systemic approaches.

Laura believes ‘every person's experiences, beliefs and personal journey should be given the time to be heard and understood’.


Amy Hall MSc. - Music Therapist

Amy has worked as a music therapist in a variety of settings including, SEN schools, dementia care homes, the NHS and with refugees and asylum seekers. 

Amy trained in psychodynamic music therapy at The University of South Wales but uses aspects of Nordoff Robins, NMT and person-centred approaches in her work. 

Amy believes in ‘Facilitating children to find their own, unique, musical ‘voice’ where they can fully express themselves and be accepted’. 

Michelle Garrad-Knott BSc. - Highly Specialist Occupational Therapist

Michelle started off her occupational Therapy career 23 years ago working within the adult learning disability team. For the past 12 years she has specialised in Paediatric services including the NHS, Charity organisations, Private sector, and schools (including Specialist and mainstream).

Michelle is a proud parent of three children and feels that her personal experiences of bringing up a daughter with special educational needs has added to her overall understanding of difficulties children and parents face on a daily basis.

Michelle has gained her advanced sensory integration practitioner status, trained in SCERTS, therapeutic Listening and ADOS.

Michelle believes that ‘all individuals should be given the opportunity to reach their full potential and with the correct support this is made possible’. 

Esther Wood MSc. - Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Esther has experience working in a variety of different settings including preschools, mainstreams schools, special needs schools and family homes. 

Throughout these settings she has worked closely with children and young people with Autism, supporting school staff and families. Esther has worked in NHS settings as well as the private sector. 

Esther is passionate about her role in supporting students with their communication and thus empowering them to get their voice heard.

Esther believes… ‘At Doucecroft we are in a privileged position to discover our students’ most suitable means of communication, provide them with activities worth talking about, and create opportunities for meaningful communication and interaction!’

Rachel Burnett BSc. - Specialist Occupational Therapist

Rachel has worked with children abroad and in the UK for several years in various roles; both mainstream, special needs schools, individually with the family as well as working on a mental health inpatient ward.  

She became an occupational therapist to enable and advocate for others thus enabling them to participate in purposeful meaningful activities, achieving their goals.

Rachel believes; ‘instead of  asking, what is the matter with you - ask what matters to you?’

Naomi Davis MSc. - Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Naomi has worked with young people with Autism since 2011 across a variety of settings including nurseries, mainstream and SEN schools and directly with parents in the home. 

Naomi has experience and training in Attention Autism, Intensive Interaction, Social Stories and Makaton. She is trained in the ADOS and ADI-R, both specialist instruments in the diagnosis of autism.

Naomi prioritises building trusting relationships with the young people she works with in order to build upon their strengths. She believes that “The best way to help people with autism is to understand them and then change what we do.” 

Sarah Murphy MSc. - Speech and Language Therapist

Sarah has worked with children for over 15 years.

She has worked in various settings including the NHS, mainstream schools and alternative provision units.

She is interested in how the arts can support language development.

Sarah believes ‘play is the answer to how anything new comes about’ -  Piaget

Our Incredible Therapy Assistants

Much of the therapeutic work across the school is done by our skilled therapy assistants Molly Wilding, Hannah Sexton, Ellen Franklin and Verity Fisher.

It is their role to embed and support teaching teams in embedding therapeutic approaches in the classrooms and wider contexts. 

They are highly skilled practitioners and offer a range of approaches such as Gym trails, TACPAC, Attention Autism and Lego therapy.  

The school utilises a range of therapeutic approaches in order to meet a child’s individual needs:

  • Sensory Integration
  • Psychological formulation
  • Anxiety management techniques
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Play based therapy
  • Integrative therapy
  • Attention Autism
  • Intensive Interaction
  • PECs
  • High tech AAC – Proloquo2Go
  • Makaton
  • Objects of reference
  • Phonological interventions
  • TalkAbout social skills groups
  • Lego Therapy
  • Gym trails
  • Comic strip conversations
  • Social stories
  • Music therapy; matching, mirroring and grounding. 
  • Therapeutic song writing
  • Sensory motor approaches
  • Interoceptive curriculum
  • Therapeutic listening
  • Zones of regulation
  • Emotional regulation therapies
  • Sensory diets

A joined up approach to therapy and learning.

Therapists will draw on each other’s skills to support children, as demonstrated by Rachel OT, and Amy Music therapist

Embedding Social Communication Emotional Regulation and Transactional Supports (SCERTS) into everything we do. 

Doucecroft school uses SCERTS to help provide the best possible provision for pupils who are taught in the autism-specific classrooms.  

SCERTS is a framework which enables a range of interventions to be used in a holistic approach to autism (e.g. TEACCH, PECS, Intensive Interaction, Sensory Diets etc).  

As children begin to move successfully through the SCERTS programme, they will be able to more fully access other curriculum areas. 

The SCERTS programme is used in co-operation with the whole wrap-around school team, as well as  parents and outside agencies where required.  

Doucecroft school considers SCERTS an important part of the curriculum and it will therefore form an important part of the annual review process and feed into Individual Student Plans (ISPs) for our pupils.  

For more information about the SCERTS model:

The SCERTS model   

The acronym “SCERTS” refers to the focus on:

“SC” - Social Communication – the development of spontaneous, functional communication, emotional expression and secure and trusting relationships with children and adults.

“ER” - Emotional Regulation – the development of the ability to maintain a well-regulated emotional state to cope with everyday stress, and to be most available for learning and interacting.

“TS” – Transactional Support – the development and implementation of supports to help partners respond to the person’s needs and interests, modify the environment, and provide tools to enhance learning. 

Individual Student Plans are reviewed and developed on a termly basis to provide educational and emotional support to families, and to foster teamwork among professionals.