Chernobyl Children’s Hospital Revisited

By Richard A Street M.B.E. Chairman Chernobyl Children Life Line

We have just returned from our visit to Belarus where we give support to the families and children affected in some way by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. This is a trip we undertake each year and sometimes twice per year. As I have told you there are not the facilities available in Belarus as we take so much for granted in the UK and over the years we have taken many things to support the care of the children and their recovery.

We have purchased a number of items from Rompa especially sensory lights which are not available in Belarus. We are also grateful for the items which were donated by Rompa to use to assist the children’s recovery and time, especially in the Children’s Cancer Hospital, however this year we also supplied some lights to the Social Services in Osipovichi for use with the day patients and users there. All of what we took was extremely well accepted and will benefit all that attend both places.

Rompa Donations to Chernobyl Children's Hospital

Below is a letter I received from Elena the child psychologist at the Children’s Cancer Hospital just before my visit where she is telling me about the benefits of items we have taken on earlier visits.  The letter refers particularly to Laser Sky Projector, the LED Projector and the `magic ball` is the Laser Sphere Projector. I think the letter describes the great benefits gained by the lights at the Hospital.

Thank you once again for your help and support in the work we do with the children of Belarus in giving them some hope in their lives.

Dear Richard!

I congratulate you on the coming Easter holiday! I wish that you, and all members of your family, all volunteers of the organization have everything in the best way. All of your health, joy, strength, happiness, success!

Thank you very much for helping the children of Belarus! I especially thank you for helping children with cancer. Many and many children and parents find comfort when they come to us for relaxation sessions and have the opportunity to observe the starry sky (and other pictures) on the flow of the relaxation room. It became possible thanks to the projectors transferred to our centre. Still in the procedural room of the day hospital a special love is enjoyed by the "magic ball", shimmering with different colours, which the child can look during the procedure and be distracted, and after the procedure, children can put their hand on it and make a wish - the ball is "magic"! .. This not only raises the mood - it's comforting!  It is interesting that many children say that wishes come true!

But have not miracles happened during the years of our friendship and cooperation? The day before yesterday I saw Nastya, yes, that girl, who was sick of myeloblastic leukaemia, who was lying in an isolated box, dreamed of drawing, but she could not, because on her right arm was connected a dropper. The very one I gave to the beautiful pencil brought by you said that it was a pencil for your left hand, specially brought by you from England - and she learned to draw with her left hand and was very happy about it (which is important, when you lie in an isolated box and other joys are not available to you! ... she did not even have a TV, or a computer to watch cartoons ..) Now this is a big, beautiful girl who defeated the disease and became so strong that she could come to children's holidays without a mask!  Please accept greetings from Nastya and her family!

If you would like more information about the work Chernobyl Children Life Line do or would like to make a donation you can contact them directly:

Richard A Street, 91 Wharf Road, Pinxton, Derbyshire NG16 6LH

Charity No. 1014274

Tel :01773 810712 / 07816 913787

email richard-street@btconnect.com

Understanding Makaton

Makaton Badge

Makaton is a language programme using signs and symbols to help people to communicate. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order.

Using signs can help people who have no speech or whose speech is unclear. Using symbols can help people who have limited speech and those who cannot, or prefer not to sign. With Makaton, children and adults can communicate straight away using signs and symbols. Many people then drop the signs or symbols naturally at their own pace, as they develop speech.

Makaton Nursery Rhymes

Being able to communicate is one of the most important skills we need in life. Almost everything we do involves communication; everyday tasks such as learning at school, asking for food and drink, sorting out problems, making friends and having fun. These all rely on our ability to communicate with each other.

For those who have experienced the frustration of being unable to communicate meaningfully or effectively, Makaton really can help. Makaton takes away that frustration and enables individuals to connect with other people and the world around them.

Makaton is extremely flexible as it can be personalised to an individual's needs and used at a level suitable for them.

    • It can be used to:

    • share thoughts, choices and emotions
    • label real objects, pictures, photos and places
    • take part in games and songs
    • listen to, read and tell stories
    • create recipes, menus and shopping lists
    • write letters and messages
    • help people find their way around public buildings.

Makaton Make and Do Activities

Today over a million children and adults use Makaton symbols and signs. Most people start using Makaton as children then naturally stop using the signs and symbols as they no longer need them.

However, some people will need to use Makaton for their whole lives.

The Makaton Charity exists to ensure that everyone living with learning or communication difficulties has the tools and resources they need to communicate. Our nationwide network of over 1,000 licensed Makaton Tutors and Trainers across the UK deliver training to over 30,000 parents, carers and professionals each year.

Makaton National Curriculum Symbols BookOur wide range of printed and electronic resources extends from nursery rhyme DVDs to vocabulary books covering a wide range of subjects. Our vision is a world in which all people with learning or communication difficulties are able to communicate, participate and achieve their potential.

For further information visit makaton.org

Rompa Saver Packs… Saving you time and money!

Rompa’s range of saver packs have been specially selected by our product team and in some instances OT advisors. They are designed to help you to find what you need easily and with a saving.

With the end of year budgets rapidly approaching, if you are fortunate enough to have some cash left in the pot choose to invest it wisely in a Saver Pack.

From the immensely popular bubble tube corner kits to the smaller home packs there are a range of saver packs designed to help you.

Saving You Time:

Move & Groove Saver Pack

Lean on our expertise! We have selected the products for each kit with a specific application in mind. The saver packs range from more simplistic kits such as the Smells Set which has been designed to address a specific sense. To more complex such as the Sensory Circuits Saver Packs designed to provide all the equipment needed to provide a specific type of therapy. Each will save you time in selecting the products and ordering them individually.

 

Saving You Money:

Snoezelen® Bubble Tube Sensory Corner Kit

Alongside this saving of time often also comes a cash saving. Saver packs  come with a reduction in cost from under £10 to over £300 dependent on the size and scale of the saver pack.  This equates to a nice saving and provides our customers with the opportunity to access and try our products.

 

 

Rompa® quality that you can trust...

Rompa® have been providing Snoezelen® Multi-Sensory products for over 30 years. We've been established this long because our products have been built to last. Whilst there are seemingly similar options available on the market take a look at the reviews from our customers why you should choose Rompa®:

Colin E. Verified Buyer

Snoezelen® Bubble Tube Sensory Corner Kit
Excellent products and very useful to have everything you need in one package at a discounted price!
Find out more about our saver packs online now: www.rompa.com

Product Focus – Singing Elephant

This little guy stole the hearts of the Rompa team during product training this week. Check out the video below of it in action to see why!

Activate your first switch to make this gorgeous elephant play peek-a-boo and use a second switch to hear the song "Do Your Ears Hang Low" in a cute child's voice.

Functions with only one switch connected, but most meaningful if two are used as this encourages listening skills, choice, co-operative play and turn-taking. Audible, visual and tactile, with ears that flap.

£39.95+VAT (switches not included)

Find Out More:

https://www.rompa.com/switch-adapted-elephant.html

 

Snoezelen Senstation – Taking the Sensory Experience to Where You Need It

Tired of taking people to the sensory room...? Ever thought of taking the room to the people who need it?!

Introducing the new Snoezelen® Senstation, the mobile unit that brings the key elements of a Snoezelen® Multi-Sensory Environment to you.

Includes Snoezelen® favourites such as:

Cost Effective

This all in one solution is a cost effective alternative to a Snoezelen® Multi-Sensory environment and is perfect for larger institutions who need to take the sensory products to various places in the building. At just £7995+VAT and without an installation fee this product is a fantastic alternative to having a Snoezelen® Multi-Sensory Environment.

360 of Snoezelen® Sensory Activity:

With products on each side the Snoezelen® Senstation provides stimulation for up to 4 people at once.

Make it your own:

Use the storage provided to personalise the experience by introducing smaller sensory products, favourite items or assessments.

Find Out More:

Visit: www.rompa.com/senstation or speak to one of our advisors on 01246 211 777.

Carddies Awards

What Are Carddies?

What are Carddies?

Raquel & Esther - Creators of Carddies

Raquel & Esther, creators of Carddies, tell their story

Carddies colouring in and play sets are Card People and animals who live in a box: you can bring them to life by colouring them in, giving them names and making up their stories. Carddies are perfect for outings and travel, as well as for play time at home. The toy is self-contained, very portable and durable.

Click Here to Buy Carddies.

Winslow kindly asked me to explain how the Carddies came about, and why they might be suitable for you and your child.

How did Carddies come about?

Carddies are loved by hundreds of children, typically aged 3 to 10, but they started off by chance. I used to make "cardboard people" for my three girls whilst on holiday. I would draw hundreds of little figures (on request), cut them out, and they would colour them in and play with them for HOURS AND DAYS, in fact over several years! They gave the Carddies names, made up stories, songs and games, and treasured them.

Carddies Creators StandingOver time, when I saw other children's reaction to Carddies, I realised they had wider appeal... The first set I made for other children, was a Victorian family at the request of a little girl; her older brother asked me for a football set. It so happens that the boy has autism and moderate learning difficulties. Although he has poor fine motor skills, he enjoyed colouring in his Carddies and it was good for his imaginary play when he used them to play a football game.

With the involvement and hard work of my sister Esther, we made sure that the Carddies retain all the principles we care about. We wanted the Carddies to be hand drawn (by us!), top quality, Made in the UK, with strong eco credentials; packaging that was compact and sturdy, yet attractive to children so that they would keep their Carddies in a lovely little home... pencils of artist quality... Basically we wanted a toy that as parents we would be happy to buy for our own children.

What is a Carddies set?

Carddies SetEach Carddies set has:
-A theme that appeals to children (Knights, School, Football, Fairies, etc).
- 12 double-sided card figures, 12 colouring pencils, 12 plastic stands, a fold-out scene that also doubles up as a naming card.
-In the case of the Carddies Football set, a little plastic sphere so the child can play a pretend football game.

Colouring in. We made the figures double-sided to extend their colouring-in value and to make them more realistic.
Play value. The stands facilitate play (we realised that although my own children were happy to play with the little people flat, or holding them up, the stands enabled children to move them around as they would other little toy figures).
Imagination. The idea of a fold-out scene to colour in and use as a backdrop came from one of my girls, making the toy similar to a mini-theatre.

Personalising. The idea of a naming card (on the reverse of the scene) first arose from my children always wanting to give the Carddies names.

What makes Carddies special?

We have been delighted to see how the Carddies have appealed to a very wide number of children, including, for example, where attention, verbal or motor skills might be more limited, and also in the case of physical disability.

These are a few of the reactions to the Carddies:

Storytelling/Imagination.

Rebecca, who reviews toys from a disability point of view, (mainly from a child's perspective), gave Carddies a big thumbs-up, and showed how brilliant they are for play (note the wonderful names she gave the Cavepeople!): http://critiquesandtests.weebly.com/carddies---cavemen-set.html

Educational

We have often been told that Carddies are a valuable educational tool, and could even be useful in therapy:

"These Carddies sets could easily be a great resource in the early years and primary classrooms, with the different themes allowing for a diverse array of storytelling opportunities. Adding the use of simple technology, stories can be developed, supporting language and literacy skills or used as a teaching aide so teachers create their own stories."

https://ukedchat.com/magazine/

Fine Motor Skills/Creativity/Communication/Sharing.

"I love the idea behind Carddies and feel they would be brilliant for creating social stories for a child on the autism spectrum while encouraging creativity and improvements in fine motor skills... The fact Little man was sent a football theme box of Carddies made all the difference and he had fun actually designing the kits for the players. It was a great way to unleash some inner creativity that he has and he remained on task for a little longer than usual."

(A Boy With Asperger's: http://aspergersinfo.wordpress.com/?s=carddies)

If a child needs a bit of help with colouring in, or placing the figures in stands, the toy can be used with the help of an adult, or siblings/friends:

"My son sat colouring for about 15 minutes but because he has poor pencil grip he tends to tire of writing/colouring for longer periods however his 2 1/2 year old sister helped by doing some colouring too while my son kept saying thank you A you good girl!"

(Sarah's World: http://sarahandc.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/carddies-review.html )

Personal connection/collectability value.

A reviewer early on wrote this about her boy whose "attention span with this sort of toy can be quite limited":

"S has particularly enjoyed his Carddies. He coloured in the background really carefully and some of his characters, making sure that the colours matched on both the back and the front of their clothes. He talked about the different members of his family, and has named some of them on the back of the background, where there are pictures of each character and a space for their name."

This from another reviewer:

"I bought these Carddies for my 4 1/2 yr old daughter who was finding it hard to settle into school. She enjoyed colouring them in and name tagging them with the names of the children in her class, she has role played the time spent at school through her eyes with them and now knows all the names of the children in her class and is beginning to settle into school. A fantastic toy."

Relaxing and Absorbing. My friend (whose daughter has ASD) said:

"We were meeting a friend for lunch and L asked if she could take her Carddies with her. She sat yesterday and named them all and wanted to carry on... She sat the entire time in the restaurant colouring them in and placing them in the "ballet classroom". It was great in so many ways-so quick and neat to store away when the food came, such high quality pencils and colours AND she still has loads to do in terms of colouring and playing!! I will be taking them out with me on future trips!"

L wanted me to tell you "the Carddies are brilliant... I really love them. May many others love them too!!"

On that note, we really hope that you give the Carddies a go!

Carddies are available from Winslow Resources

Constructive Cutlery

Construction Cutlery for Picky Eaters

Construction Cutlery

Construction Cutlery

Unfortunately with toddlers, difficult mealtimes can be a given. How can parents possibly hope to make sure healthy options are included on the plate when some little ones won’t touch anything, let alone something green? With the Construction Cutlery, mealtimes becomes a fun affair instead of a dreaded struggle when their peas turn into gravel and their pasta into building blocks. Adding a little fun to mealtimes gets kids to the table and encourages them to stay there longer, which gives parents an improved chance to fill their tummies with yummy and healthy goodness.

Buy Construction Cutlery

Construction Cutlery Set

Construction Cutlery Set

The folks at Constructive Eating know this because they’ve been there when the struggle was all too real. Parents Carter & Jackie Malcolm couldn’t get their toddler to stay at the table long enough to munch on anything before he was distracted by the draw of his construction equipment toys. The imaginary world where he was in control of building and demolishing anything his heart desired was so much better than the boring reality of eating his fruits and veggies.

He was absolutely obsessed with everything that belonged on a construction site, from cranes and bulldozers to excavators and jackhammers. The stage knew no boundaries. Anything and everything became focused on construction. Before long, their child was asking to put Cheerios on the floor to act as rubble for his bulldozer. This made them ponder...  What if breakfast, lunch and dinner could become "rubble"? What if forks, spoons and pushers were the "machines"? Carter and Jackie put on their entrepreneurial hardhats, designed the fleet of Construction Utensils, and began Constructive Eating.

Since those early days, Constructive Eating has added several award-winning products to

Construction Cutlery Plate

Construction Cutlery Plate

embrace creative play at and away from table. The focus has always been on fostering a fun AND productive mealtime for parents and kids. Especially in children with sensory and developmental disorders, a positive association with food and sitting at the dinner table can be key in overcoming feeding challenges.

What parents say about Construction Cutlery

"My 5 year old son has severe apraxia of speech and autism. We've done three years of feeding therapy, countless hours of exercises, and so much begging for him to eat. He has about ten foods he will eat, and that is it.

I ordered the entire eating set thinking it was cute and I figured, it's $35 let's just give it a shot. My son just ate yogurt. A food we've tried over and over again without success. He just ate it, by himself, no incentives.

Thank you guys so much for making Constructive Cutlery! I was worried it was a fluke or that the novelty would wear off, but it hasn't!

"He's currently eating lunch- I put yogurt and peaches on his plate today. Normally that

Construction Cutlery

Construction Cutlery

would result in him refusing to eat anything on the plate. He's actually ate his yogurt first because he loves the pushing tool so much! Seriously, this product is ingenious."

Stories like these from parents, caregivers, educators, and therapists overjoy the workers at Constructive Eating Headquarters. Knowing that a small company with an emphasis on quality products, good business practices, and top notch customer service can make such a positive impact on the lives of their customers makes every box that leaves the door with “Constructive Eating” emblazoned in yellow and orange special.

Where is Construction Cutlery Made?

All of Constructive Eating’s products are manufactured in the USA with only the best and safest FDA approved dishwasher and microwave safe materials, so parents can feel good about what they’re giving their kids. Specialty textured easy-grip rubberized handles make it even easier for little hands to lift and hold the utensils, which helps develop fine motor skills.

When parents purchase from Constructive Eating, they’re not just getting cleverly designed and cute utensils, but an entire experience of continually fostering development, fun, and healthy eating with their kids at the dinner table.

Narrative Therapy

Narrative Therapy – The River, Roads and The World of Trains

By Gali Salpeter - Creator of Narrative Therapy tools, The River, Roads and The World of Trains

Background

Gali Salpeter

Gali Salpeter

I am an Expressive Therapist with specialisation in Drama and Narrative therapy and a background in Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology.

My fields of study, work and life are closely intertwined; I have worked and volunteered as a therapist in a few countries and I feel blessed to have chosen this field of work, which enables me to connect with, support and be touched by, so many wonderful people across the world.

I live in beautiful Norway with my husband and 3 children (my most meaningful creation).

Projective cards – underlying concepts

I began to use projective cards as a psychological tool when I was working as a therapist with children having special needs. Combining the cards with art, drama and stories proved to be very useful and I realised it helped my clients raise and share the issues they were dealing with. It supplemented the verbal mode of communication in many ways.

However, with time, I felt that something was missing; putting separate cards apart from each other in order to tell stories, was in fact "losing" the idea of flow. It looked as if there was no connection or transition between the different parts of the stories that the clients were telling. I have started to search for ways to make the images illustrated on the cards "connect" so that the flow of the stories that the clients told will become visual as well.

Narrative Therapy

Joining up the cards to create a story

The metaphors of the river and roads, flow and paths, were metaphors I found enriching when speaking of processes that people are dealing with. People often speak about journeys they make, paths they choose, steps they take or a continuum of periods in their lives.

Both the metaphor of the river and the metaphor of roads enabled my clients and me as the therapist to relate to the "whole" as made of different parts. It helped clients realise that the stories they tell are built of certain chapters and to observe the processes they described as made of many stages or several sub-periods.

Thus, using the metaphors of rivers and paths matched my goals as a therapist; to help my clients tell, observe, work with, and retell their experiences in life in new ways.

The River Set

The first set I have created is "The River". Like most journeys, it begun with a personal experience. This time it was a sad one... My grandmothers died in a short period, I was a mother of young kids and as a way to cope with my grief, I wrote "The river story". It dealt with my interpretation of life and death, relationships, identity and memories, strengths and weaknesses. I often use writing as a tool to process the personal experiences I encounter in life so that story almost ended up "in the drawer" like many others...

Since I was working with projective cards I came to the idea of drawing the story in the form of cards. Derived from the story, the atmosphere I chose for the cards was one of - nature - as I have perceived it. I looked for subtle stimuli, and not too much fantasy in the images drawn.

One thing led to the other, "The river guidebook" kind of wrote itself, the ideas for ways to use cards kept on flowing from my experience and imagination, and then - after a long "pregnancy" - ״The River set״ was born. Like many wonderful things, it was born out of pain but it holds the strengths of sharing hope.

Roads Deck

״Roads״ was created several years later when I was living elsewhere. I like travelling to new experiences and I have lived in wonderful countries around our globe. My journey and the paths that I have chosen (and the ones which have chosen me) always led me to interesting places both within myself and in the cultures around me.

The metaphor of "Roads" for me means that I have a road that is mine, with the obstacles I encounter and the "gifts" I find along it, my own beginnings, the steps I take and the ends. However, it is also a road that goes in amazingly different surroundings, with interesting people I was lucky and maybe brave enough to get to know. So perhaps "Roads" for me is this journey as a whole – a journey that is one and unique and "mine", but it is also many meaningful journeys, stories, paths and periods which I have experienced with others around me.

I believe that although each of us have a unique path in life, we are changing in many ways along it. I decided that the stimuli will be clear in that deck, I wanted to use fantasy and include obvious objects. The colours and atmosphere was completely different than the ones used in ״The River ״so as the method of painting used.

In a sense I think that the sets complete one another. Hopefully having these different sets enable clients to choose the most suitable tool and image they would like to work with, in each given moment.

The World of Trains set

״The world of trains” set is being edited for print in these days. I am not objective, but I think that it is a very special set. The set is designed for therapeutic work with children in settings of individual therapy and group therapy. It contains a deck of illustrated cards, a deck of story-cards and a comprehensive guidebook for therapists. The guidebook describes in detail numerous professional suggestions for application of the cards, according to the different settings and relevant issues children cope with.

Final Thoughts

It is my hope that every person working with the sets will enjoy the opportunity of telling her/his story and the wonder of discovering its rich layers and intertwining chapters.
We all have stories waiting to be told.
Thank you for reading a chapter of mine...
Gali

Supporting The Special Olympics 2017

Sensory Bus at the Special Olympics 2017

When the opportunity arose to provide sensory support at the Special Olympics GB National Games we couldn't wait to be involved. Our friends at Sparkle Sheffield arranged for us to bring the Sensory Bus to the Athletes' Village situated at The Edge in Sheffield.

Why are Rompa Supporting the Special Olympics?

Rompa are providing a Snoezelen® sensory space for athletes who may become anxious or need to relax and manage their sensory needs. We will be supporting the Special Olympics all week until mid afternoon Friday.

Rompa sell Snoezelen® Multi-Sensory Environments and products throughout the UK. These products are often used to help people with Autism and Learning Difficulties. We thought it would be great opportunity to give something back and support the Athletes throughout the week.

As the athletes were arriving yesterday we had a lot of people take an interest in the bus, some of whom explained to us how sensory products such as the Infinity Panel and Snoezelen® Bubble Tube Sensory Corner Kit help them to relax.

Is the Sensory Bus Available For My Event?

The Special Olympics is an amazing event to be a part of and a great launch pad for the sensory bus! If you are organising an event and are interested in Rompa bringing the sensory bus please get in touch!  Call us on 01246 211 777 or email: sales@rompa.com and we will give you a call to find out more!

Emergency Services Event

Children Enjoying the Sensory Bus

Our friends at Sparkle Sheffield invited us along to their Emergency Services Event at the Lifewise Centre  on Sunday and we had a brilliant time!

What was the Emergency Services Event?

For people with autism, the emergency services can be scary and resemble bad experiences. This could lead to them not approaching  police officers or fireman for help which could lead to dangerous situations . The Emergency Services event was organised by Sparkle to build bridges between the emergency services and people who have autism. We're pleased to say it was a massive success! The children were dressing up as police officers, being shown around a police car and fire engine (and trying out the sirens!), exploring the fantastic set of the Lifewise centre and of course enjoying the sensory bus!

Who are Sparkle Sheffield?

Started by parents of autistic children, Sparkle Sheffield exists to help families with autistic children meet the challenges they face, feel less isolated, less frightened and more empowered. Autism affects families in different ways but only the parent of an autistic child can truly understand what life is like for us.

Find out More on their website: http://www.sparklesheffield.co.uk