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 :
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.