As part of our commitment to meeting the diverse needs of our pupil’s, Hope High school commissioned a Specialist Teacher and Speech and Language Therapist to provide a high-quality individualised and specialist learning support service to the young people in school. 

They work in close collaboration with each other and with our established provision within school, such as the Learning Resource facility and Willow room, to ensure that a holistic approach to supporting all pupil’s needs is provided. 


Melanie Cookson: Speech and Language Therapist

As the Speech and Language Therapist at Hope High school I work with pupils in school identified as having Speech, Language and Communication Needs; either through their Education and Health Care Plans, by school staff or their parents/carers. 

I provide specialist assessment of children’s speech, language and communication needs, as well as individual and small group therapy to support their needs identified through assessment.  In addition to this, I work within class to ensure that language and communication is integral to the learning environment, and provide training, strategies and advice for staff to support the language needs of all pupils within school.

Speech & Language Therapy


Sensory Integration Therapy

Sensory integration is about how our brain receives and processes sensory information so that we can do the things we need to do in our everyday life. There is a theory of sensory integration and a therapeutic approach based on the theory.

The concept was developed in the late 60s and 70s by Jean Ayres, an occupational therapist and psychologist with an understanding of neuroscience. Jean Ayres was interested in explaining how difficulties with receiving and processing sensory information from one’s body and environment could relate to difficulties at school or using one’s body to engage in everyday life.

Sensory integration occurs when we are young as part of our normal development and in the things we do such as rolling, crawling, walking and in play; for others sensory integration is less well developed.

Mrs Melanie Cookson is studying a Post Graduate Certificate in Sensory Integration, delivered by the Sensory Integration Network and Ulster University.

As part of this qualification Mrs Cookson will be undertaking 30 hours of clinical practise in school. The provision will include Sensory Integration assessments and subsequent therapy for a pilot cohort of Hope High School pupils (with parental consent) who will benefit from this support.

Mrs Cookson will be supervised by an Advanced SI Practitioner, who is a qualified Speech and Language Therapist and has a Masters Degree in Sensory Integration.


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24 February 2020

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