Category Archives: Installations

Rompa install sensory rooms the length and breadth of the country but we’re not limited to the UK and have traveled as far as the US, Canada and Eastern Europe to work our sensory room magic.

Explaining the Pool Activity Level (PAL) Instrument

Jackie PoolI am an Occupational Therapist with a specialism in dementia and in 1999, I developed the Pool Activity Level (PAL) Instrument with the encouragement and mentorship of Professor Tom Kitwood. I was convinced that a more helpful view of dementia is to identify the ability level of each individual. With that viewpoint, we are likely to enable rather than disable the person as we understand the physical and social environment required to sustain those abilities. If we only recognise the difficulties an individual is having, we will always disable them as we will only provide care and support to address their difficulties. So, the PAL Instrument uses a strengths based approach, underpinned by cognitive developmental theory.

The PAL Instrument has a Checklist of statements that identifies how the person can perform in nine every day activities. There are four statements for each of the activities and each statement describes a slightly different level of ability. By completing the PAL Checklist, it is possible to identify the overall level of cognitive and functional ability. From that knowledge, we can select the appropriate PAL Profile which describes how to support the person at that level of ability.

Pool Activity Level InstrumentI began developing the PAL Instrument by building on the work of Claudia K Allen. She had developed an Occupational Therapy model for understanding cognitive disability, based on developmental theory. Allen’s model has a robust assessment for OTs and then relies on their professional knowledge to interpret the outcomes of the assessment. I wanted a tool that would self-interpret and provide a guide to those without the clinical skills so that they could enable individuals with cognitive difficulties to be less disabled in every-day activities.

The first draft of the PAL Instrument was tested out in a local Hospital ward for people living with severe dementia and also in care homes where people were living with early to moderate dementia. Following feedback, I refined the PAL Checklist and Profiles and, with the support of Professor Tom Kitwood, published the first edition of the PAL book. This was published by Jessica Kingsley publishers as part of the Bradford Dementia Group Good Practice Guide series.

In 2008, the PAL Instrument Checklist was validated by Jennifer Wenborn and team at the Department of Mental Health Sciences, University College London.

The book is now in its 4th edition, with additions to the case studies and guidance on the use of the PAL Instrument. The PAL is now translated into several languages and is used within research programmes and also in health and social care settings to support care and activity planning. I regularly receive wonderful messages from care professionals telling me of the difference that using the PAL Instrument has made to their service. Their feedback describes the positive impact it has had on enabling people with dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment, including acquired brain injury, stroke and, learning disability to live meaningful and fulfilling lives.

Click Here to buy the Pool Activity Level (PAL) Instrument

Dr Anna van der Gaag talks to us about the CASP assessment tool

Dr Anna van der Gaag CBE talks to us about her background and the Communications Assessment Profile also known as the CASP profiling tool.

What’s your background?

Anna van der Gaag

When I finished school, I had little idea of what I wanted to do, and ended up volunteering in a school for children with learning disabilities. I met Pat Stephenson, a speech and language therapist, who encouraged me to apply, despite my lack of any science A levels. Much to everyone’s surprise, I was accepted at the National Hospital College of Speech Sciences (now UCL) in London, and qualified in 1981.

Immediately after I qualified, I went to India to work as a volunteer for 8 months, and when I returned I found myself in Glasgow, where I first encountered an “Adult Training Centre” for adults with learning disabilities. It very quickly became clear that all the communication assessments that used to assess adults had been developed for children. I returned to London a few years later, determined to use my Masters degree at the University of London as a route to developing an assessment designed for use with adults. It took many more years than my masters to complete this work, and I was fortunate to have the support of various research grants that allowed me to complete the work.

The Communication Assessment Profile was first published in 1988. It remains the only communication assessment standardized with adults – over the course of three clinical trials, its reliability and validity were tested with over 350 individuals, 66 SLTs, and 384 care workers working in 21 hospitals and 31 Adult Training Centres across the UK. We were incredibly fortunate to achieve this level of testing before we published the final version of the CASP. Since then, CASP has been updated, modernised and revised, with input from UK users and therapists, and is now in its third, colour, edition. All the data from the reliability and validity studies are included in the CASP manual. I am grateful to all those who took part and to the many people who helped me along the way.

Who can use CASP?

CASP is designed for individuals with learning disabilities, used by speech and language therapists, psychologists and OTs, working with care workers, peers and families. It has also been used with young people on the autistic spectrum and with adults with dementia (particularly the section on communication environment and vocabulary use).

What was the purpose behind CASP?

CASP Assessment ToolThe drive behind the research was simple – to develop a way of assessing communication skills of adults with learning disabilities that was respectful, relevant and robust. This meant using age appropriate photographs and materials, like money, toothpaste and shoes, rather than toys and farm animals.

There were three other important innovations – CASP was designed as a joint assessment – in which the care worker who worked most closely with the individual – was given a formal role in assessing communication. Hard to believe, but this was highly contentious at the time, as many professionals said they did not think that an ‘unqualified’ person should have a formal role in assessment. I argued that care workers (this included family members too) were frequently the people who really knew what was happening on a day-to-day basis and knew the most about the person’s experience of communication. Click here to find out more.

The second was that the CASP assessed not only the individual’s speech and language skills, their understanding and expressive skills, but also their communication environment, and the demands made upon them to use their skills. We conducted a piece of research which showed that adults with learning disabilities under-utilise their communication skills if they live in poor communication environments (click here to read this) and published this work in a paper called ‘the view from Walter’s window’ in 1989.

The third innovation was that CASP was designed to assess and build upon the person’s strengths – now called an ‘asset based’ approach – rather than their ‘deficits’ or what the person cannot do. The final part of the assessment is when the therapists, the individual and their care worker come together to talk about ‘priorities for change’ – which might mean change in their communication or it might mean change in their environment and the way that people around them communicate.

I’m delighted that all three of these innovations – seen as radical in the 1980s, have now become mainstream, part of how we approach our work, with many new advances and further innovations along the same lines occurring across the globe. CASP is now used in other parts of Europe, Canada, the US and Australia and New Zealand as well as continuing to be used in the UK. It has stood the test of time, I think, because it reflects contemporary approaches to working with people, rather than (as was the case) doing things to them.

What’s been your inspiration?
My inspiration was a man called William, who came to me for help during my years working as an SLT in Glasgow. He helped me make a short film about the CASP, and was as excited as I was that at last there was something that respected him as an adult. He had very limited expressive skills but his understanding of language far exceeded his ability to make himself understood – and he, like others, had suffered from discrimination, having been dismissed or ignored because he could not communicate like everyone else around him.

The other inspiration was a book by Joanna Ryan, called the ‘Politics of Mental Handicap’ (the title shows how long ago that was!) in which she exposed the systemic discrimination against people with learning disabilities that existed at the time. My sense from my days working in Glasgow was that people with learning disabilities and communication difficulties experienced even more discrimination – and part of my goal was to design an assessment that they were comfortable with, that showed them the respect they deserved, and was based on rigorous research.

Over the last few decades, I have been involved in teaching, research and regulation and have worn many hats. When I look at CASP, I feel that this is work I am most proud to have started, and most pleased that it continues to have practical relevance to the lived experience of people with learning disabilities.

References

The view from Walters window (1989)
van der Gaag, A (2009) eliminating professional myopia

The Wonkey Donkey and Rompa

What is Wonkey Donkey I hear you ask? Well the clue is in the name – Wonkey Donkey is a donkey sanctuary and visitors centre that looks after over 21 Donkeys. What makes this Donkey Sanctuary unique is that they have a vision to make their sanctuary more accessible to disabled, elderly and autistic visitors.

Where does Rompa come in?

Rompa has been working with the Wonkey Donkey for over 2 years now. The story began when our MD visited the sanctuary with a friend. She was amazed at what was being done for the animals and was then thrilled to find out that the centre wanted to make themselves more accessible to disabled visitors. During her visit she noticed a small boy with autism at the sanctuary, he had a great time with the Donkey’s but unfortunately when his parents wanted to take a well-earned break in the café there was nothing to comfort him. This visit sparked a long term relationship between Rompa and Wonkey Donkey which followed in the sanctuary installing a sensory area and ball pool.

Accessible days out

For individuals with a disability having a day out somewhere can be a stressful ordeal and often leads to sensory overload, especially for people with hidden disabilities such as autism. Providing a space for people to calm down such as the sensory room at Wonkey Donkey is an excellent way to not only help these people and broaden your market. Autism effects 1 in 100 people in the UK which is over 700,000 in total.

Rompa are proud to work with Wonkey Donkey as they provide an inclusive family day out. For more information take a look at the Wonkey Donkey website www.wonkey-donkey.co.uk

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

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

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.

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!

Sensory Van

The Rompa Sensory Bus

We recently did our first out door show and decided that we needed a new way of showcasing our product range. To enable us to bring a Rompa Sensory Room to you, we have created the Rompa Sensory Bus!

The bus contains all the typical components of a normal Rompa sensory room but this one is installed in a large vehicle that we can take to shows and events up and down the country. The sensory bus has:

  • Rainbow bumpers
  • A tactile wall
  • A sensory room projector
  • A waterless bubble tube
  • An aroma panel
  • An interactive floor
  • An infinity and beyond panel
  • A colour changing panel
  • Fibre Optics

We think this will prove a great way to bring the concept of Snoezelen sensory environments to a wider audience and demonstrate the immersive quality of a Rompa sensory room.

Science Zone Sensory Room a Success!

At Rompa® we have provided Snoezelen® Multi-Sensory equipment to a variety of places. When we were approached by Neil at the Science Zone in Bournemouth we were excited to be a part of a different experience.

The Science Zone is a new exciting science adventure for children, sponsored by Science Dome UK, based in the centre of the historic Royal Arcade in Boscombe, Bournemouth. It offers visitors access to science ‘zones’, where each zone has a variety of activities and features that will both stimulate and inspire children to learn more about the world around them.  From life-size dinosaurs, planetarium shows, musical bubble columns to digging for fossils and explosive experiments, every visitor, both large and small, will be entertained as well as educated. Also as the only registered telescope distributor in Bournemouth, there are state-of-the art Visionary telescopes and binoculars on offer for star and planet gazing as well as marine observing. It’s perfect if you’re looking for something that’s educational as well as fun for your child. There’s something there for everyone!

We recently caught up with Neil Carrington the founder of Science Zone UK to find out more about this brilliant project:

Rompa: Hi Neil, thank you for your time today and for choosing Rompa to help you with this project. Could I ask…Why did you choose to have a sensory room?

NC: We have already a large connection with schools and they were asking for a interactive physical activity rather than a visual dome experience. We also wanted to help SEN school needs 

Rompa: What difference has it made to the Science Dome?

NC: We have been operating for 10 years as a planetarium and science traveling resource to schools. The sensory room and OptiMusic equipment has allowed us to offer a permanent science service called the Science Zone – with different areas or zones of interactive nature and a planetarium – see Facebook Science Zone UK 

Rompa: What made you choose Rompa for the project?

NC: We have been purchasing equipment from Rompa for years – from a planet themed parachute to soft seating for our planetarium- so know good quality 

Rompa: Has the Sensory Room allowed more people to visit the sensory dome? 

NC: Yes – previous service was only portable travelling school service- the sensory room is open to public and toddler groups -previously not covered. Hundreds of the public have been experiencing science and sensory areas this year. We had 400 people for our opening day!

If you want to find out more about the Science Zone and Science Dome visit:

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