All students at Kaka Street have direct access to Speech Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy. The therapists provide a wide range of therapies based on the students’ needs and in consultation with families and staff. A parent or carer of a student is very welcome to discuss the student’s therapy needs with any of our Therapist team at any time. The Therapists also form the Multi-Disciplinary Team. This team co-ordinated by the Associate Principal, provides extra support for students, staff and parents. Extra specialists can be sought if required.


  • Music Therapy - Music therapy is the planned use of music to assist the healing and personal growth of people with identified emotional, intellectual, physical or social needs” (Music Therapy New Zealand, 2011)

Helen McGann is a registered and fully qualified music therapist. Music therapists have specific training and must hold a Masters in Music Therapy, they are competent musicians and hold registration in order to practice music therapy.

At Kaka street, Helen conducts weekly, child-centered, individualised and goal orientated one-on-one music therapy sessions. Each class also has a weekly group which has a particular focus. The current groups help to develop:


  1. social skills e.g. turn taking activities

  2. communication skills e.g. building anticipation in music, encouraging students to make requests, utilisting PECS, the Picture Exchange Communication System

  3. body awareness e.g. involving sensory experiences with music

Helen sings, plays the guitar, piano and flute and uses a variety of percussive and melodic instruments during the sessions. Music therapy goals are planned through an assessment process and align with the student’s IEP goals. Music is highly motivating for many of the students, and it provides a medium for the students at Kaka Street to attend to their specific needs and develop their learning.




  • Speech and Language Therapy – Communication is a basic human right, every student at Kaka Street has a right to have their communication style recognised and supported. We use a Total Communication approach, using any means of communication to help our students' to understand their world and to be understood. This may include:

  1. Gesture and body posture

  1. Facial expression

  2. Tone of voice

  3. Vocalisations

  4. Sign Language

  5. Picture based systems

  6. Reading

  7. Speech

  8. Assistive Technology - Voice Output Communication Aids to Communication books

  9. Objects of reference

The Speech and Language Therapists are an intrinsic part of each class at Base school and at the Satellite classes. They provide assessment on levels of communication, environmental assessments and functional use of language. Individual assessments and programmes for speech, oral skills and feeding/swallowing safety are done also.

Communication strategies and adapted environments are used in each class to support all the students. All new students admitted have an Assessment period, individual programmes are set as required. Students are supported around major transition periods or through transition to other schools.

Workshops and in-house training about communication are run annually as well as community focused workshops, e.g. Communication passports, signing.



  • Occupational Therapy - The Occupational Therapist assists students to develop in their school related occupations.

This may include

1. Work and educational occupations

Reading ( eye movements, visual perception)
Hand function ( pencil skills, using scissors, using a switch/ mouse for the computer )
Following class routines ( using visual timetables, task analysis, sequence strips)
Sensory processing (sensory programmes, sensory diets)

2. Play and leisure occupations

Social skills
Play skills

3. Life skills and personal care occupations

Feeding /toileting / drinking
Going to the toilet
Dressing and undressing
Food preparation
Accessing recreational activities

4. Accessing the environment

Mobility (walking, running, swimming, using wheelchair)
Assistive equipment

The occupational therapist has a time slot in each classroom once a week. Sometimes she works individually with a student, sometimes in a small group session, sometimes in an advisory capacity with the teacher to set up and monitor activities that are to be part of the student’s regular daily / weekly programme.

Where ever possible therapy programmes are integrated into classroom routines so that best practise happens throughout the day.


  • Physiotherapy - The Physiotherapy team at Kaka Street includes a Physiotherapist and Physiotherapy Assistant. Ourstudents are involved in an active daily programme based on the MOVE programme (Mobility Opportunities via Education). This enables the students to

  1. Acquire increased independence in sitting, standing and walking.

  2. Learn and gain more mobility.

  3. Experience better health and enhanced personal dignity.

As well as hands on physical therapy, we use standing frames, walkers, tricycles and Riding for the Disabled to achieve our goals. We have an intensive all year round swimming programme, both therapeutic and learn to swim in our heated swimming pool. With our more mobile students, we implement programmes to increase their general fitness, co-ordination, balance and strength.

We may also accompany students with their family on visits to specialists, clinics or agencies to

  1. Discuss medical needs and intervention.

  2. Advocate for changes or alterations or equipment.

  3. Provide a link between educational and medical needs.

  4. Discuss equipment for independence.



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