Category Archives: In the community

Digital Donkeys

On a chilly afternoon in January with Rompa’s Marketing Manager Kayleigh, our IT Director Graham and I found ourselves at a donkey sanctuary just outside Knottingly, near Pontefract.

Our mission: To discuss online marketing strategies and how Wonkey Donkey can improve their website and online presence. We talked about the opportunities available through Facebook, Pintrest and Instagram pointing out that the donkeys are a content generating resource in themselves.

After our meeting we had the opportunity to meet the donkeys and Jenny took us through all their backstories. All of theses stories began with heartbreaking tales of mistreatment by previous owners. There was always a happy conclusion to these tales of woe, the turning point being the donkey’s rescue by the Wonkey Donkey Sanctuary.

Find out more about Wonkey Doneky’s work

Website: http://www.wonkey-donkey.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Wonkey-Donkey

Purple Tuesday – The UK’s Accessible Shopping Day

For people with hidden disabilities a shopping trip can be an overwhelming ordeal as loud noises, bright lights, crowds and unusual smells flood the senses. This experience can leave an autistic child (for example) feeling very agitated and unhappy, making the shopping trip impossible for both them and their parent or carer. This is one of the many reasons why the disability organisation Purple, with endorsement from the Department for Work and Pensions have introduced Purple Tuesday.

Taking place on Tuesday 13th November 2018, Purple Tuesday is the UK’s first accessible shopping day. On this day major retailers and shopping centres are expected to promote accessible shopping by making one long term commitment which makes their venue more inclusive and improves the shopping experience for disabled customers. This could mean installing a sensory room where people with hidden disabilities can go to for some quiet time after or during the shopping trip or introducing a quiet hour.

Making Shopping Inclusive is big business

  • The purple pound is worth £249 billion to the UK economy
  • Autism affects 1 in 100 That’s over 700,000 people in the UK which means that
  • Approximately 2.8m people have a relative on the Autism Spectrum.
  • More than 11 million people in the UK are considered disabled

Rompa proudly supports Purple Tuesday and similar initiatives

Rompa have worked with many businesses in the retail sector that have taken the initiative to make their venues more inclusive. For example, Meadowhall Shopping centre asked us to provide a pop-up sensory room in aid of Autism Awareness Week. The feedback from this was so positive that a permanent sensory room has now made an addition to their facilities as well as a Rompa corner kit being installed into the baby changing area.

Here at Rompa we provide a variety of products for not only shopping centres to consider for Purple Tuesday but for parents and carers alike during their shopping trip. 

Take a look at our tactile range of products: https://www.rompa.com/purple-tuesday

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

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

 

Guest Blog – Emily from PAN reviews more products!

Emily Brailsford

 

Hi its me again.  I’ve had the chance to play with some more products from Rompa and Winslow.

 

The first couple of products were the ‘Soothersack‘ and the ‘huggabuddies cat‘. I loved the cat and so did my son.  Not only does is it quite heavy so it provides pressure, the soft fur is also a nice sensory experience.

 

The Soothersack is your standard pillow which you warm in the microwave and then can place on certain parts of your body to relieve aches and pains or across a child’s knees again to help ground them. Essential oils can be added to the pillow to help with relaxation. The ‘huggabuddies’ cat was a lot better for me as I sat with it snuggled on my shoulder with the heat going where I wanted it too whereas the pillow, as I’m sure many of you know, loses its filling to either end of the pillow so there was no heat on the top of my shoulder where I wanted it.

These two pieces of kit are nice to help your child but also nice to have around for when you might (if miracles occur) get 10 minutes relaxation to yourself!

3stars

I would give them both 3 stars.

Tangle Therapy

Tangle Therapy

Another product which I looked at was the ‘Tangle Therapy’ toy. Again, a product which I’m sure many of you will have come across.  I particularly liked this version as it was a bit larger than others I have seen.  It is not recommended for children under 3 as the pieces can be separated and potentially swallowed, but with older children I have found they enjoy taking the tangle toys to pieces as it provides a nice clicking noise!  Some of the sections also had a clear rubber coating with small raised bobbles.  I did wonder if these would get picked off over time though.

4 Stars

 

 

On the whole I felt this deserved 4 stars

Developmental Play – Impacting Children Across The World

The Deepti Centre family 2015

The Deepti Centre family 2015

Occupational Therapists Caroline Clay and Caroline Essame report on the latest news from The Deepti Centre in Kerala, India and the launch of the new training centre that’s impacting thousands of children in rural India.

 

The Deepti Centre is a special school and rehabilitation centre for children and young adults based in rural Kerala, South India. In 2010 we set out from different continents (Caroline Essame from Singapore and Caroline Clay from the UK) to support the development of The Deepti Centre in any way that we could. In fact we didn’t realise how deeply involved we would get. In our first few years there we formed relationships with the children the staff and the parents and found that we shared the passion and drive to provide the very best service for the local community.

 

Good relationships are the foundation that makes the biggest impact in the world, and it’s who you work with and who you partner with that build sustainable change. So we are very grateful to Rompa for their encouragement and support for our children and families at The Deepti Centre.

 So we are very grateful to Rompa for their encouragement and support for our children and families at The Deepti Centre.

At the time of our first visit to the centre there were under 30 children attending daily and our work was mainly directly with the children and drew on our experiences in Art Therapy, Creative Arts, Sensory Processing, Occupational Therapy and seating and posture.

In October 2016 there were 150 children attending daily and a growing curriculum of arts, crafts, drama, role play and sensory work to promote learning through play. The recent addition of a sports teacher and band leader has seen our children win competitions in regional events for a variety of sports and music. Though the band consists of mainly drums and bugles and is more rhythmic than tuneful, there’s no doubt that the immense fun is in the taking part and gives a real sense of belonging.

 

Dr Susan Mathew, the director of The Deepti Centre encouraged us to train more teachers across the region as this would have a greater impact on children in different schools. This was a step up for both us and all the staff at the centre, and several events have been endorsed by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI).

watch a video about tactile sensory play:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xgZQzW5BxI&feature=youtu.be

In October 2016 we trained 50 special needs teachers and local Occupational Therapists in a new course “Developmental Play “ another 30 teachers and parents  from Deepti special school also attended gaining the certificate in Developmental Play. The course was so successful that we have decided to offer it in the UK aswell.

 

In January 2017 Caroline Essame and Dr Suvi Pitkola undertook a 2 day conference on the “Development of play and social skills in children with ASD” this time to an audience of 100 attendees.

 

 

Play matters. It’s the language of childhood. It’s the way that children make sense of their world. Play is also the process through which children learn about how their bodies work and how they can use them to have an impact on the world, whether that is through splashing in the bath or waving at someone who waves back. It’s about cause and effect, exploration and identity.

 

Our Developmental Play  course has been designed by Occupational, Play and Creative Arts Therapists with both educational, health and social service backgrounds and brings ideas and expertise to the field of play therapy and play based learning.  It specifically focuses on the stages that children go through to develop through play, so it has particular relevance for people who work with clients with special needs or very young children.

 

It is relationship-centred and based on contemporary research and practice, including:

  • Attachment theory and playful creative relationships
  • Neuro-dramatic play and neuro-linguistics
  • Creative arts education and play based learning
  • Eco-play, nature play and play in the outdoors
  • Sensory processing and bodywork

 

This June will see the launch of the UK training in Newcastle for level 1 of this 3 level certificate course introducing Developmental Play theory and practice.

By the end of the course participants will be able to understand and identify developmental play stages and apply developmental play practice to their work situation.

 

Each level has a three-day training workshop as well as online content, training and resources. Students undergo practical assignments and at the end of level 3, in order to qualify as the advanced practitioner, there is a written assignment to be submitted online. There is also an opportunity to study level 2 and 3 in India in October 2017 and work alongside the course coordinators in their special education practice at the Deepti Special School, so not only will you get to learn about play but also how to adapt it for children with special needs cross culturally.

 

On completion of all levels participants are accredited play practitioners and can register with CREATECATT’s Play Practitioners database.

 

For more information about the upcoming course in June 15th – 17th Newcastle or for details of training in India please contact either of the Caroline’s at :

 

info@createcatt.com

www.createcatt.com

www.facebook.com/createplaymoveandlearn

www.deepticentre.com

 

Caroline Essame and Caroline Clay

 

Caroline Essame and Caroline Clay travel to India every year to work with children at The Deepti Centre in Kerala, India on a voluntary basis. Their unique style of training crosses language barriers bringing creative fun to learning. They aim to impact thousands of children by supporting educators and therapists across the world.

Guest Blog: Emily Brailsford of Parenting Additional Needs Reviews talks about Transition

Emily BrailsfordI should probably introduce myself, I am a married stay at home mother of three (2 boys and a girl) the oldest who has ADHD, Autism and epilepsy.

The guys and girls at ROMPA have asked me to have look at some of the products which they think might help my son as he’s going through a bit of a transitional period at the moment.  Not only is he choosing his GCSE’s but hormones are setting in too (he’ll love me for saying that!)

 

So I looked at a few products, some good, some not as good, but on the whole ……Good

Coping With Stress

The first product was the ‘Coping with stress’ card game.  I hate games.  I’d rather stick a fork in my eye than play a card game with my son (other mums of ADHD kids will no doubt understand) but this game was different.

Its more of a talking game.  It says for ages 6-12 and 2-4 players but I think it would have benefits for older children and young adults too depending on their level of understanding.

There were 4 types of card:- reducing stress, learning to relax, self talk and finally visualisation cards.  There was also a 12 sided die with body parts listed on it to use with some of the cards and help with relaxation.

This game could even be used in the car as there aren’t loads of pieces to go missing

5 stars

It is definitely worth the money and I gave it 5 out of 5 stars!

 

Another product which I looked at was the Theraputty.  I liked the look of this because Theraputtywhen my son has fidget toys in class, they need to be silent so not as to distract the other children.  The Theraputty is like a very firm Plasticine  which is also scented.

Now when I say firm ,I mean firm!  We tried four different putties each with varying firmness and a different aroma.  The tan Theraputty was supposed to be the softest but CRIKEY it was hard to manipulate!  My son is 13 and 5 ft 7 and he struggled.  On a positive note though, the scent was nice and it didn’t linger on our hands after playing with the putty.  Also the putty stayed together so I wasn’t picking it out of school uniform for days to come!  In my opinion it is better suited for hand injury rehabilitation, which I think is was the original idea behind this product.

3stars

 

 

I would give the Theraputty 3 out of 5 stars.

 

 

Rompa Pop Up Sensory Room at Chesterfield FC

SPIREITES’ POP-UP SENSORY ROOM A HUGE SUCCESS

The use of a pop-up sensory room provided by Rompa at the Proact Stadium for Chesterfield’s game against Northampton Town at the weekend has been hailed as a huge success.

A number of youngsters who are affected by autism, together with their families, were invited to use the room as guests of the club.

The initiative was organised by the Chesterfield FC Community Trust in partnership with Accessible Derbyshire, a charity with the aim of improving the lives of disabled people, their families, friends and carers living in or visiting Derbyshire and the Peak District.

View the video slideshow

Accessible Derbyshire co-founder Gillian Scotford said: “It was so easy to arrange with the help of such a supportive club like Chesterfield FC. TM Accounting Services kindly provided the space and we invited families affected by autism. We also arranged for Rompa, the specialist sensory equipment company, to set up the equipment for the day.

“We never dreamed it would be such a success! All the families came along, all of them stayed and all of them enjoyed the day. For many it was their first experience of a match and it was smiles all around.

“The children were fascinated by the bubble tubes, interactive lights, sensory toys, ear defenders and sensory aromas. It was a very ‘safe and comforting’ environment. Knowing you are amongst others who understand makes the whole experience more relaxing. We have already had emails asking us to let them know about the next event!”

Ray Watts, who attended the match with his six-year-old son Jake, said: “It gave families with autism a priceless gift – the chance to experience something as a whole family in a safe and autism-friendly environment.

“A simple trip to the supermarket can be daunting for a person with autism, so to be able to enjoy a football match was absolutely amazing. I cannot thank Chesterfield Football Club enough for supporting this venture. It is a true testament to the club’s determination to make football accessible for everyone.”

Dawn Cook and her son Lewis also took up the invitation to use the sensory room. She said: ”This was the first time that Lewis, who’s 19, has ever been to a football match. Normally the noise alone would make seeing a game impossible for us but Lewis watched the entire 90 minutes and really enjoyed it thanks to the quieter environment.”

If you are a football club or a venue that would like to speak to us about becoming more accessible please feel free to get in touch – 01246 211 777 or by contacting danc@rompa.com

Rompa Provide 3 Sensory Rooms at Notts County Football Club

 

Notts County have opened three sensory rooms at Meadow Lane, becoming the first EFL club to provide specialist facilities for those who experience anxiety in stadium environments.

 

In a ceremony which also saw the club sign the Autism Alliance charter, the rooms were officially opened ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two match against Grimsby Town by Notts head groundsman Trevor Hutchinson and his daughter Tyler, who has complex learning difficulties.

 

Hutchinson said: “It was quite emotional to be honest. To see Tyler react the way she did, and how much she joined in and enjoyed it, was brilliant. I think that was down to all the cameras – she’s quite a poser when it comes to having her picture taken!

 

“Even after that she remained very calm, which proves the rooms do what they say on the tin.

 

“It was a great day and I’m really proud of what we’ve managed to achieve.”

 

The club launched the project after seeking advice from a number of specialists including Autism East Midlands, Rompa, the Shippey campaign and Indigo to ensure the rooms would fully meet the needs of those with complex learning difficulties.

 

Rompa, a leading organisation in sensory equipment and multi-sensory environments, developed the rooms, which are located in the executive boxes of the Haydn Green Stand.

 

Dan Casey, marketing manager at Rompa, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Notts, the oldest Football League club in the world, are on board and we hope this will show other clubs it can be done.

 

“We’ve provided three sensory areas to make the club accessible to people with complex learning difficulties, including autism. It’s such a great thing.”

 

The idea was first floated by Debbie Austin, who visited the club earlier this year in her role as specialist awareness trainer at Autism East Midlands.

 

Six months later, her suggestion has come to fruition – bigger and better than she ever envisaged.

 

She said: “Typically it would perhaps be one area or room, but here at Notts County there is an array of rooms – not only for people with sensory issues, but a room for parents as well.

 

“I am a woman on the autism spectrum, so I know myself that noise and crowded spaces can be overwhelming. People with this type of condition, who would otherwise have stayed away, can now be a part of the game.

 

“It feels extremely supportive. I think it’s wonderful.”

 

Apply for free tickets

 

To celebrate the launch, Notts are offering complimentary access to their sensory rooms for their next four Sky Bet League Two home matches:

Saturday 24 September: Leyton Orient

 

Saturday 1 October: Morecambe

 

Saturday 15 October: Crewe Alexandra

 

There will be an opportunity for sensory room users to make a charitable donation at each match.

 

To apply for complimentary tickets, please email beverley.markland@nottscountyfc.co.uk. Recipients will be selected at random from those who apply.

 

Future ticketing process

 

From the Luton Town match (Saturday 29 October) onwards, each sensory room can be hired for £40. The maximum capacity for each room is eight people, with a ratio of one sensory room user to a maximum of two parents/carers.

 

The rooms will be available to book in-person at the Meadow Lane ticket office or by calling 0115 955 7210.

 

Each room in detail

 

The rooms cater for differing needs:

 

The Rompa Snoezelen® Multi-Sensory Room

 

The Snoezelen® Multi-Sensory Room provides resources to calm people using light, sound, smell and touch while giving a fantastic view of the game. The room boasts a bubble tube in a padded base, fibre-optics, eight-colour controller, milky way fibre-optic carpet, laser sky projector, aroma diffuser as well as vibrating pillows to provide a relaxing environment to enjoy the match in.

 

The Rompa Multi-Sensory Room 2

 

This room provides simple resources to engage those who may find the main sensory room distracting. It boasts hand-held products to hold, squeeze and manipulate as well as a calming space projector which features a slow-moving lava lamp-like projection, a spotlight and mirror ball. There is also an aroma-diffuser which can be changed for different users.

 

The Rompa Sensory Integration Room

 

This room is for the more active and those with sensory processing disorders. It includes spinning, rocking, bouncing and balance as well weighted and compression vests to help those who can be calmed with this type of sensory input. It also has a range of hand-held tactile products to touch and explore, including hard, soft, aroma, smooth and vibration. Each viewing area also provides ear defenders for people who are sensitive to sounds (such as sudden cheers).

 

Information for parents/carers

 

– Parents/carers remain responsible for sensory room users at all times

 

– The parents’ room can be used by the parents/carers provided at least one parent/carer remains in the sensory room with the user at all times

 

– The sensory suite is manned by volunteers who are there to provide support to the users, but who are unable to provide dedicated caring support. Parents and carers must therefore retain full supervision of their sensory room user at all times

 

– Notts County intend to review their sensory room ticketing policy after three months as part of their commitment to ensuring the rooms are accessible as possible to those who need them. The club therefore invite supporters to send their feedback to beverley.markland@nottscountyfc.co.uk

 

– All parents/carers will be asked to complete a profile form on arrival, which will enable the club to gain an understanding of users’ needs. Please note – personal data will be shared with staff and sensory suite volunteers but will not be used for any other purpose

-If you would like to find out more about how Rompa can help your club please contact danc@rompa.com or call 01246 211 777

Chernobyl Children’s Life Line Return to Minsk

There were four members of our group that visited Belarus in late April to undertake charitable support as part of our work helping the unfortunate child victims of the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster. As you might remember, back in November (read article)  we were able to take some sensitive lighting that you at ROMPA kindly helped us with, and which made a massive impact on the children who are receiving treatment in the hospital. Well, you will be pleased to know the lights are still being thoroughly enjoyed by the children at the Children’s Cancer Hospital in Minsk and we were able to also let them have the further equipment you were able to donate towards our work. So a big thank you to ROMPA in supporting the work we do in trying to put a little hope in the children’s lives.

One special moment at the Cancer Hospital was when I was asked by a child what I would be doing and I told her I would be visiting the British Ambassador the next morning and she asked me to pass on her best wishes, which I did. I also asked the Ambassador if he would reply with a personal letter which he promptly did and I took it to the girl at the hospital. She was absolutely amazed that she had received a personal letter from such an important person who didn’t know her and it was such a special moment for her. The child psychologist at the hospital told me it was the best medicine any one could give the child as it made her feel special and that someone somewhere was thinking of her and took the time to write to her. To see her face was a very emotional moment for all of us including her mother who was not the only one with tears in her eyes.

While we were in Minsk we took some diabetes testing equipment to the endocrine hospital and also visited an orphanage, the British Embassy and many other places around the City. At every place we visited we took lots of toys for the children and tried to make it a very special day for them in their lives.

After leaving Minsk later in the week we proceeded to the town of Osipovichi where we visited school No 4, the school from where we take our children from when they visit our area for a convalescing break during the summer. Whist there we had an opportunity to meet the parents and the children who are due to be coming in July and enjoy a concert in the school. The remainder of our time in Belarus was spent visiting homes and families to get a better idea of the problems these unfortunate families have to deal with on a daily basis and again there were many emotional moments as we visited these wonderful people, that despite their poor conditions always made us welcome and were so hospitable in every way.

We will be continuing with our work helping these unfortunate children and if you know of anyone who would like to join with us or host a child in their home please pass on our details to them. Likewise if there is anyone who would like to support us in any other way please pass on our details. Chernobyl Children Life Line is a totally voluntary charity with no salaries or huge on going costs, so you can be assured that any support given is used for its intended purpose and very much appreciated.

Richard A Street
91 Wharf Road
Pinxton
Derbyshire
NG16 6LH

Email: richard-street@btconnect.com
Web: www.ccll.org.uk/pinxton