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Guest Blogging

About Guest Blogging

From time to time we invite charities, carers and those in care professions to contribute to our blog to provide an insight into what they do and how we work together to improve people's lives. If you are interested in contributing please click here to contact us.

Caroline Molloy at the Deepti Centre

The Deepti Centre, Kerala, South India

By Occupational Therapist Caroline Molloy

Caroline Molloy at the Deepti Centre

Caroline at the Deepti Centre

Five years ago, I heard a mother speak about how hard it was to get services for her disabled child in her town in India and how she was determined to make a change by opening a special school herself. When I offered to help, it was in fact by means of a bit of fund raising or helps with accessing some resources. I never imagined that I would be taking an active role in the development of the service and that through it I would find that same light of commitment which is still burning strong after 5 years and 5 trips to India.



The Deepti Centre is situated in Kerala , South India. It is a rural, lush community popular with tourists as a holiday destination. The local language is Malayalam, although English is spoken by most people and taught at school. The word “Deepti” means light in Malayam, and from the very beginning it has been a shining example of love and care in action, that has family values at its core.

Deepti CentreDeepti was started as a centre for children with cerebral palsy, although it has broadened its remit to admit any child with special needs in the area. It was founded. By Dr Susan Mathew, who has is a mother of 4 sons whose youngest was born with cerebral palsy. Her son Jyothish is the inspiration behind Deepti, not even Susan would have imagined the growth of Deepti from 1 to 71 children in 5 years.

Our aim for our most recent trip was to set up a sensory room, in a small building next door to the physiotherapy room. We were very thankful for a significant number of items from Rompa which are now part of the sensory assessment crate, which we have left ready for use. It’s true to say that you don’t know what is missing until you realise it’s missing, but we hadn’t realised we had so few resources for our children who had visual problems. Once we had been to the shops to buy heavy suiting material for black out blinds, we were able to equip the new sensory room with battery operated lights, and soft lighting so that the Occupational Therapist could create a relaxed and calming atmosphere for our children with sensory needs. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when one of our boys was given a flashing light ball, he rolled it around the floor, held it up to his face, and we could see he could see it! He called to his mother “I can see the light, I can see the light” it was indeed a very moving experience.

Deepti CentreOur time at Deepti is always so short, and this year we stepped up and delivered our training program from the local hotel conference suite. This enabled us to professionally film all our training, so that this can be edited and translated into other languages, which will have a significant impact in rural communities across Asia. As an accidental consequence, our training was also filmed by 2 Keralan TV stations and was on air for 8 mins on national TV. I can’t tell you what impact that had on our mothers and families, to receive that kind of media attention, and acknowledgement that both they and their children had significance and value.

If you would like more information about the Deepti Centre please visit www.carolineinkerala.wordpress.com

Guest Blog – Jigsaw OT Events

Jigsaw Occupational Therapy is a specialist provider for children and young people living in the South East of England. Our dedicated assessment and sensory integration therapy centre is the first and only one of it’s kind in Sussex.

Jigsaw OT was founded in order to offer effective and personalised assessment and therapy specifically designed around each individual child and young person’s needs. However, for a parent or a professional, upon establishing that a child may have some difficulties or challenges, trying to understand these difficulties can often generate more questions than answers. More and more information is available now on conditions such as, Sensory Processing Disorders, however, the sheer volume of documentation can become overwhelming and confusing. 

Here at Jigsaw OT we decided it would be great if we could bring together parents, teachers, SENCo’s, Teaching Assistants, INA’s, health care professionals and carers by providing the opportunity to not only learn more about their respective child’s challenges but also have the chance to meet and talk with others who may be dealing with similar circumstances.


And so it was, that last week we were able to arrange a ‘drop-in morning’ and a training day, on consecutive days! We opened our doors for all to come and visit and to learn about what our sensory integration therapy can do. All of our OT’s were on hand to talk to and lend advice, we urged our visitors to step into our sensory integration therapy room and explore the array of specialist equipment provided by Rompa. Just a few of the items on display included the Bolster Swing, the Flexion Disc Swing, the Scooter Board, Weighted Vests, Spinning Cones, Knobbly Rolls and much, much more! For many of our visitors it was the first time they had been introduced to such apparatus and provided a much clearer indication of how the equipment works in relation to a child’s needs. Invaluable information for both parents and professionals.

Our training event focused ‘supporting children with Sensory Processing Difficulties’. Some children have difficulty “behaving appropriately” as their brain does not send their senses the correct messages. These children may have Autistic Spectrum Disorder, ADHD or other learning difficulties. Those attending the event gained a better understanding of sensory processing, how to recognise children with sensory processing difficulties and how to support them in the classroom and at home.

An array of sensory toys were handed out to each of the attendees, items such as Massage Tubes, Vibration Pillows, Knot Balls, Spiky Balls, Squeezies etc. all of which were evaluated to understand how to use them as a strategy to support a child. Examples of sensory strategies were provided, involving movement, touch and deep pressure and how different items of equipment could be used together. For example, placing a weighted blanket on top of a child lying on a Walrus mattress.

All in all, both days were a fantastic success and we were delighted that we were able to reach out to so many people, both from the home and school environment. The majority of our feedback commented on how fantastic it was to be able to meet and talk to others who are experiencing similar situations. This has convinced us that it is vital that we continue to provide this platform for people and we will be arranging similar events on a regular basis in the future. For more information about what Jigsaw OT can do for your child, please contact me at dominic@jigsawot.co.uk.

Thank You!
Dominic

Advent House Sensory Room

The experience of sourcing and costing a sensory room for people with learning difficulties, physical and sensory impairments, autism and mental health needs is a tall order. Deciding on equipment is a minefield, do we need bubble tubes? Yes. Do we need soft furnishings? Yes. Do we need seating and bean bags? yes. Will it be safe? The ultimate question. When I was discussing a new service with the Jayne, the Responsible Individual, the sensory room was high on the wish list. What shall we buy? How much will it cost? What about people with autism, physical needs, sensory needs? Jayne and I are both from a nursing background in the learning disability field we had both worked with ROMPA® products before so after a look at the catalogue and seeing a plethora of equipment we were both undecided about the amount of equipment we would need to fill the space we had.

We phoned ROMPA® and arranged a meeting where we could look and try the equipment and experience what our service users would. We were greeted by friendly knowledgeable staff who showed off their equipment. What a truly fantastic experience it was, we were introduced to Sensory Magic. The company showed off and championed this equipment – and why not it is truly a magical piece of kit. I can remember coming out of the experience “buzzing” and daring to ask if we could afford this unique, quality piece of kit.  After negotiations with the Directors we were told to look into the next steps of costing and measuring up. The ROMPA® team came up to our house whilst it was being built, took specifications, liaised with the building team and developed a blue print of the sensory room along with a 3D drawing of what it would look like when it was completed. The 3D picture was stuck on the door of the sensory room and whilst commissioning I explained to people who were interested in placing service users with us that “this is what it will look like when it’s finished”

When the electrics and the tracking and hoists were in place the technical team from ROMPA® came and fitted all the equipment we had asked for, stayed and showed us how to use it and gave us the confidence to work with the system utilising it to the max. For the first week or so the room got used at every opportunity and I introduced it to other Managers who I work alongside – I thought that maybe there would be a decline in it’s use after the initial novelty period. How wrong I was! Other homes started to book time in to use it and we started to have events where we could use the sensory room for multiple uses for multiple service users.

The upshot of this is that we have a quality piece of equipment that has multiple uses, is safe, is suitable for many different service users, is adaptable, can be upgraded, has a technical support that is second to none (they can even solve problems from their base in Chesterfield whilst we are in Wakefield).

The feedback we have received is of admiration of the room and it’s equipment, not solely from the people who use it but from the support workers, families of service users, commissioners, people who come to do training at the service and the people who regulate us the C.Q.C. However, the feedback doesn’t just equate to people telling us what they think of the room, they keep coming back!

Richard Burton
Registered Manager

Massage for children with ASD or SPD

senSI - Sensory Integration Therapy As a Holistic and Beauty Therapist with a background in SEN, I was asked by senSI Limited to consider providing Complimentary Therapies for children they work with, with a population predominately having Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD).    I was excited by this opportunity, as I recognise how massage can make a big impact on someone both emotionally and physically, and that few clinics and centres offer such treatments for children, with or without additional needs. Touch is an important influence on a child’s healthy development and in my opinion, whether you have a treatment for relaxation or to ease aches and pains, massage should be an essential for life for all ages.

massage

Adapting Complimentary Therapy for children with Sensory Processing Disorders

I have applied my knowledge and understanding of Swedish Body Massage and adapted the approach for children with ASD and SPD.  senSI complete an initial assessment and from this, identify whether massage, reiki, relaxation sessions etc would be helpful.  Together we devise a treatment plan to incorporate their needs.  I always discuss the treatment plan with both parents and the child, as it is very important to me that the child is comfortable and feels safe.

  • We create visual aids to support the child, i.e. body maps to help them anticipate the touch, stop signs for children who struggle to express this verbally, pressure indicator to help them remain in control as to the amount of force they like.
  • We use sandtimers if needed, to help with predictability so that the child is as comfortable as they can be before we start.
  • Due to Olfactory sensitivity, I use non-scented products
  • Due to Vestibular sensitivity/ gravitational insecurity, I am flexible in how I position the child, and understand if they cannot manage to tolerate backward space or a supine position.
  • I use inflatable mattresses and equipment if this gentle vestibular movement helps the child relax
  • I use white noise within sessions if the child likes this
  • I use dimmed lighting for the child with visual sensitivity
  • I use aromatherapy and scents for a child who is olfactory seeking
  • I use weighted eye masks, weighted blankets and other equipment throughout sessions, and at the end of the therapy, which most of the children have positively commented on
  • I use natural warmth, such as warm towels and hot water bottles to help promote the sense of calm
  • I use the child’s motivators and special interests within my sessions i.e. Thomas the Tank Engine visuals and pillows for example

I only use relaxing methods and work on only hands and feet to begin with and over various sessions build to include additional limbs.  Currently I am working with a 10 year boy who would only let me work on his hands, forearms, feet and lower legs however now, after his sixth session I have been able to provide massage on his neck and face.  This is hugely encouraging for the child, parents and me.  They were all surprised that he has let me provide such a thorough treatment.  Furthermore, to watch their child lie for an hour and relax (almost to the point of being asleep) is something that his parents thought they would never see. This makes my job extremely rewarding.

massage2

Results

We have found that for some children with ASD and SPD, massage seems to often provide relaxation, stress reduction and calm muscle spasms.  Over time, touch therapy also helps the child to become more accustomed to tactile stimulation and really helps develop body awareness.  Often by incorporating massage therapy into daily routines, children with ASD may experience improved sleeping.

Here a few other reasons why massage therapy can be beneficial;

  • Better sensory regulation
  • Better self regulation, with children more able to identify feelings of stress and strategies that can help them relax
  • Improved motor skills, especially for children with ADHD we have found
  • Body awareness –  touch and proprioception feedback
  • Emotional development
  • Enhanced Attachment, especially when we teach the caregivers certain techniques to apply to their child, rather than be therapist led
  • Improved Self-esteem / confidence
  • Self awareness
  • Improved daily living skills, particularly washing and dressing
  • Ability to recognise the difference between good and bad touch
  • Improved bonding with one case, where I have taught the parents basic massage principles and they have been facilitating this with their child

I hope you have found this useful and should you be interested in a treatment for your child in East Anglia, please contact me at; theholisticbeautycompany@gmail.com or via senSI at info@sensitreatment.com

Thank You!

Fran

Holistic Therapist

senSI Limited

Jigsaw Occupational Therapy

Today we welcome a blog contribution from Dominic Simpson of Jigsaw Occupational Therapy.

Jigsaw Occupational Therapy is a specialist provider for childrenJigsaw Occupational Therapy and young people living in the South East of England. We work with children and young people experiencing a wide array of profound and multiple disabilities. Some of these conditions include cerebral palsy, autism and Asperger’s, sensory processing disorders, acquired brain injuries, motor coordination difficulties and learning disabilities.

Jigsaw OT was founded in 2010, by Vicky Ruffle, in order to offer more effective and personalised assessments and therapy specifically designed around each individual child and young person’s needs, in addition to providing assistance and training to school staff, parents and carers. Jigsaw OT has two additional occupational therapists (Mel Campbell and Kaye Johnson) and each of our OT’s are trained sensory integration practitioners too and advanced sensory integration therapy level or up to level 3.

Jigsaw Sensory Integration

We have just opened a dedicated assessment and sensory integration therapy centre, the first and only one of it’s kind in Sussex. We are also working closely with local schools in the mid-sussex area, maximising children’s access to education and social inclusion.

Our new therapy room is filled to the brim with Rompa equipment and resources but the most popular Rompa equipment that the children have just loved, have been the Beano Swing, Southpaw Large Inflatable Barrel and of course the fantastic Soft Play Super Set. In fact, we’ve seen some great activities involving all three items at once! One recent task was to use the Beano Swing to knock down a tower made from the Soft Play Super Set, aiding a child seeking ‘crash and bump’ sensation and then also using the Beano Swing to drop down into the up-turned barrel helping motor planning and body awareness.

We are planning an open day on the 17th June, where we will open the doors of the centre to anyone who would be interested in visiting us to view our facilities, chat to our occupational therapists and learn more about what Jigsaw OT can offer.

For more information please visit http://www.jigsaw-ot.co.uk/news-events/2014/4/29/jigsaw-ot-opening-day.