ISSUE 8 / JULY 2020
IN THIS ISSUE... MAJOR HOME ADAPTATIONS – SOUND ADVICE HOME SCHOOLING TOP TIPS
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WELCOME TO OUR LATEST ISSUE
s our children and young people start to venture out after months indoors, we hope the new ‘normal’ will just be around the corner and we can all start to look forward to good times ahead and hopefully a fabulous summer. We have some really good articles in this edition of the Kidz to Adultz Magazine. I am totally inspired by Hayley, whose ambitions go way beyond her sports interest and insists ‘I’m differently abled’, she collared David Walliams for a quick photo and mingled very confidently at Buckingham Palace! David Alcock’s article, Planning a Major Home Adaptation, highlighted a point we may not automatically consider – incorporating high quality accommodation for carers/PA’s who live-in or sleep over, may be a factor in retaining staff. Bladder & Bowel UK have published a range of information leaflets covering bladder and bowel problems in children. These brilliantly illustrated booklets with cartoon characters like ‘Mr Poo’ are available to download free from their website. Cadent Gas gives sound advice about scams, we learn about Sleep Hygiene and you can find out about new equipment, services and fun things through our virtual Kidz to Adultz Exhibitions: Live! Facebook channel. And we have so much more… Unfortunately, the Corona Virus has had a massive impact on the Kidz to Adultz Exhibitions, resulting in postponing our events in Farnborough, Newport and Edinburgh until next year. We are hopeful Kidz to Adultz North at EventCity will go ahead and we will adhere to government guidelines. In the mean time be active on social media, ring us if you want a chat and keep sending through your suggestions of content for future editions of the magazine. Stay Alert, Stay Safe and be happy! Carmel Hourigan Editor & Manager Kidz to Adultz Exhibitions Disabled Living #kidztoadultz
CONTENTS... Learning at Home?...............4 Kidz to Adultz: Live!.............9 “I’m not disabled, I’m differently abled”.............. 10 Online fitness sessions for kids!..................................... 12 Planning major home adaptations?...................... 14 It’s showtime!.................... 19 ‘Talk about…’ information leaflets................................ 20 We want a mascot!............ 23 Birds of Prey Unlocking the Bridge to Communication ................ 24 16+ and looking to drive?.30 Occupational Therapy’s Role in sleep hygiene........ 32 Accessible Tourism........... 34 Do you need to access the toilet urgently?.................. 36 Wilbur Wheels.................... 42
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Learning at Home? HOME SCHOOLING IS TEACHING PARENTS QUITE A LOT IN 2020
JAN TIPPETT SUGGESTS HOME SCHOOLING WAS SEEN AS THE PRESERVE OF FAMILIES THAT COULD AFFORD FOR ONE PARTNER TO STAY AT HOME, EDUCATING THEIR CHILDREN WHILE THE OTHER WENT TO WORK
easons for home schooling can be ideological, religious, cultural or for health reasons. Alternatively, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) may be the reason for choosing home schooling. Where there is dissatisfaction with the school system, home schooling is a last resort for families with a child who has additional needs that canâ€™t be met by local schools. Now at this time of plague, all
parents who are not working for the NHS or on the frontline of this crisis, know what home schooling is like day after relentless day. Some parent carers have embraced the home school challenge wholeheartedly and adore this opportunity for quality time together, whereas others have found the whole experience a torture and a torment. Filling the education gap can leave many parents overwhelmed, especially when their child has SEND.
Legally, parents are responsible for ensuring that their child is fully educated. If parent carers request a state-funded school place, then the Local Authority (LA) is obliged to find a suitable education setting. Home education works well when it is a positive choice with regard to the needs of the child. Schools provide for the additional needs of children with SEND through SEN Support Plans, outlining support provision that is not legally
binding, or by an Education Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) which is a legal document. An EHC Plan sets out exactly what will be provided for a child with complex needs. This ‘duty to specify’ is important when holding an LA to account if the provision is not offered as described in the EHC Plan. When a child has additional needs there are two ways of arranging home education with an EHC Plan (EHCP): • Elective home education - where there is a suitable school for a child, but parents choose to make their own arrangements to educate their child at home. This absolves the LA of any duty to make provision, though they must still maintain and review the EHC Plan. • LA arranges provision under section 61 of the Children and Families Act 2014. This allows the LA to make special education provision otherwise than at school where it is not appropriate for the provision to be made in a school.
The parents of children with complex medical needs often use this approach but all children with an EHC Plan can benefit from this arrangement. Remember that permission must be obtained from the LA to begin home schooling if a child has an EHCP. Flexi-schooling is becoming a popular choice where part of a child’s education takes place at school, which could provide the best of both educational worlds. Parents can choose flexi-schooling so that part of their child’s education is at school as well as at home. Unfortunately, education settings are under no obligation to do this so an individual positive pact will need to be made for this arrangement, as with a split placement between two settings. It should be noted that many parent carers with children who have complex needs are under great pressure right now in the Covid-19 lockdown. With no respite from providing constant care and supporting their child’s learning,
parents need a break. The constant pressure they are under needs to be acknowledged and strategies need to be in place to prevent a breakdown in the health of these vital parent carers. Many families that home educate seek advice from the Home Education Advisory Service (HEAS) https://www.heas.org.uk, local parent carers forums or other parent carers groups. The National Network for Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) website http://www.nnpcf.org.uk will show parent carers where their nearest Parent Carer Forum is and what support they offer with home schooling. Remember there is no legal requirement to teach the National Curriculum at home. In addition, parents do not have to provide lesson plans, formal lessons, to reproduce peer group socials or formally assess their child. It can feel as though the pressure is off when home schooling. However, keep in mind your child’s rights: are they
‘If they can’t learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn’ Ole Ivar Lovaas
10 TOP TIPS FOR HOME LEARNING
happy? Is home schooling the child’s preference? Recently charities and support organisations have stepped forward in greater numbers to help online with videos, home schooling activity packs and worksheets that go beyond government guidance. There are great offers by the Home School Alliance from the time before Covid-19: https://bravewriter.com/ homeschool-alliance and Education Otherwise also provides tried and tested advice: https://www. educationotherwise.org The brightest light in home education right now is BBC home learning: https://www.bbc.co.uk/ bitesize/dailylessons recommended by many families that are home schooling. There are many more great websites to help with home learning, one of which is Twinkl, usually for teachers but now with free subscription for parent carers. Twinkl’s home learning section is certainly worth a look with a Beginners’ Guide to Home Educating in the UK https://www.twinkl.co.uk/ resource/beginners-guide-to-homeeducating-in-the-uk-t-ukn-1082 There’s also Twinkl’s Home Education Membership Guide https://www. twinkl.co.uk/resource/home-edmembers-guide-t-ug-101 and a free Home Education Resources Sample Pack too https://www.twinkl.co.uk/ resource/t-he-770-free-homeeducation-resources-sample-pack
Here are my top tips for home learning for parents who are considering it as an option when deciding whether their children are returning to school. 1. Make a gradual start - don’t do too much at once. Try a couple of activities that you know your child enjoys and add a learning experience too, such as measuring water during water play. 2. Listen to your child - what does your child enjoy? When are they most motivated? What makes them enthusiastic? Then aim for those moments. 3. Routine - Repetition - Selfesteem - three vital themes for neuro-disabilities and SEND learning in general. Children with low working memory or difficulties with cognitive load need to learn routines through repetition and maintain their self-esteem so they can work through a difficulty, rather than catastrophise when something isn’t right straightaway. 4. Stay organised even when you think everything is slipping out of control. Keep to your routine so you remain confident. 5. Travel at the pace of the child because it’s less tiring to home educate when you go with the flow and follow their enthusiasm. 6. Be easy on yourself. You’re doing something new and learning too. It doesn’t have to be perfect first time around and you can problem-solve together which teaches children resilience. 7. Embrace the great outdoors. The lockdown has let us all explore our surroundings more and take our time. Learning doesn’t have to happen indoors so find local guide books or children’s books about your locality like this lovely Little Urban Fox series: https:// www.littleurbanfoxandfriends. co.uk/little-urban-fox-exploresendcliffe-park/ 8. You don’t have to replicate school. Home education
doesn’t have to be around a table with a pencil and paper. It’s not about the symbols and clichés of school, this is about education in its essence. Education means to ‘lead out’ of the darkness and into the light. You are enlightening your child and giving them alternative viewpoints of the world. Always make sure you provide balanced arguments and don’t force your own opinions on a child where there is a subject that has different points of view. 9. A happy child is a learning child. No child ever said to their teacher that they loved the worksheet they did in class but they will enthuse about an expedition to count the fish in the school pond and all the fun they had doing it successfully. Make it fun and enjoy learning together. 10. ‘A moving child is a learning child’ according to Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy. These two child development experts outline in their book how the body teaches the brain to think: https://www.movingsmart. co.nz/Blog/Instance/A-MovingChild-Is-a-Learning-Child-1 Educators agree that a holistic approach to learning is so important for all children. Experiential learning is key when home schooling and in order to teach the child we must ‘learn’ the child. Every child is unique and home education is a good choice for individualised learning. As Ole Ivar Lovaas, clinical psychologist at UCLA, said, “If they can’t learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn.” Jan Tippett is the former education adviser for Shine charity’s Little Stars project, is currently the volunteer coordinator for Sheffield Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (SHASBAH) www. shasbah.co.uk and is a supporter of conductive education https://www. cepeg.org.uk
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Missing the Kidz to Adultz Exhibitions? We have...
Kidz to Adultz Exhibitions: We know there is nothing like attending a Kidz to Adultz exhibition - going round the stands, learning about new services, viewing equipment, having a demonstration and picking the brains of the knowledgeable company reps. While we have the Covid 19 restrictions in place, we are taking things virtual! Jack from the Kidz team, our presenter extraordinaire will bring you a weekly feast of interactive live videos from our vast range of exhibitors. There will be an opportunity to chat live with the experts, keep up to date with the latest equipment developments and even try something new! Join our growing audience of over 6,000 followers who have tuned in to watch over 25 videos. Here are just a few... • Equipment demonstrations from: Jiraffe, Theraposture, Centrobed and Smartbox Assistive Technology • Disney Dance Lessons from Kate Stanforth & BundleBean • Irwin Mitchell – SEND Education Covid update
! e Liv
• Slater + Gordon – Transitioning from Disability Allowance to a PIP • Embrace LD – Signalong Activity • Paces Sheffield & Connections Neuroservices – Active Movement Sessions • Access Your Life – Travel Tips for Individuals with a Disability, including going out and about during the Covid Pandemic View previous videos and the upcoming schedule...
Join us on
MONDAY, WEDNESDAY & FRIDAY 12.30PM 9
“I’m not disabled, I’m differently abled” HAYLEY CASSIN HAD A FIGHT ON HER HANDS FROM DAY ONE. HERE, MUM, SUSAN SHARES THE BARRIERS AND CHALLENGES THEY FACED, HIGHLIGHTING HOW SHEER DETERMINATION CAN PROVIDE THE MOST FABULOUS OPPORTUNITIES 10
ayley was born at 28 weeks’ gestation weighing 2lb, diagnosed with Meningitis at five days old, she was an absolute fighter from the start. We first became aware Hayley had delay in both gross and fine motor skills when she failed to meet her milestones and was diagnosed with Spastic Dyplegia Cerebral Palsy at eighteen months old. Hayley worked hard with an excellent physiotherapy team and progressed to walk with a Kaye walker. It was obvious Hayley was going to need equipment to enhance her life and development. Always a fighter, she was determined to achieve what every other child did, and we quickly realised that it was us that had to keep up with Hayley! It was when Hayley was growing out of her pram and it was time for a wheelchair, we really needed to know what equipment was out there and that was our first visit over the Pennines to the Kidz up North Exhibition in Bolton. This was just what we needed, a show where we could find equipment, advice and support all in one place. Hayley started at the local school, her early school life was tough, she faced discrimination, a lack of understanding and support, and was bullied. We tried and tried to ‘educate the educators’ but to no avail, and as parents we found this soul destroying. At this time, we decided to home educate Hayley, giving her as many experiences
as possible. We decided to enrol Hayley with the Sheffield Steelers Wheelchair Basketball Club and wow, what a difference that made. Hayley became a happy, confident and very committed basketball player, going on to play for Wakefield Worldwinds, being named Coaches Player of the Year and representing Yorkshire in the under 14’s. Hayley has gone from strength to strength, she loves sport, especially wheelchair basketball and has done a podcast for CBBC promoting her sport. This short film was about sport and how, having the right equipment can enhance a child’s life. Hayley is also an avid swimmer and has a passion for singing which has led to her joining a choir. Hayley is now an Ambassador for Variety, the children’s charity who provided the funding for her new basketball chair. Hayley loves this role, as she says it’s her way of helping others. The new role involves attending various fundraising events, such as an evening reception at Buckingham Palace to celebrate Variety’s 70th Anniversary, where she met David Walliams, together with many other celebrities. Promoting the work of Variety is really important to Hayley, especially locally and she was invited to do just that, at the Yorkshire Business Awards. This event helped raise £120,000 for Variety. Hayley’s wish at this event was to help raise money for every child to receive the equipment they
needed to have a good life. Max Wheelchairs Ltd, who manufacture performance wheelchairs and supplied Hayley’s wheelchair asked her to be an Ambassador for their company. Max Wheelchairs are very supportive of Hayley and she can often be seen on their stand at exhibitions demonstrating equipment. Whilst on the subject of exhibitions, I just want to emphasise how important the Kidz to Adultz exhibitions have been to us. I cannot put into words how grateful we are for these events; they have allowed us to make contacts for the right support and the best equipment. They have been invaluable in enhancing Hayley’s quality of life. I cannot believe it is almost ten years since we were introduced to what has become more of a social experience where Hayley will meet up with other young people she has made friends with over the years. Hayley’s motto is “I’m not disabled I’m differently abled” and her view is to make the most of her life and we are sure she’s on track to do that. Hayley is a very motivated girl and with the right support has absolutely flourished. She is now in a very supportive school and her future looks rosy. Hayley has a couple of long- term ambitions, one is to represent Team GB in the Olympics and the other is to set up her own business selling equipment for disabled people. Watch this space!
online fitness SESSIONS FOR KIDS!
HOME WORKOUT FOR CHILDREN WITH LIMB DIFFERENCE EVERY TUESDAY AND THURSDAY MORNINGS ON LIMBPOWER’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL
imbPower is proud to announce that it is running online ‘Adaptive Fitness Fun’ sessions twice a week for children with limb difference. These workout sessions are being run by LimbPower Ambassador Jack Eyers, not only an elite athlete and personal trainer, but also the first amputee to win Mr England. The sessions take place every Tuesday and Thursday morning as part of the #StayInWorkOut campaign by Sport England to keep England Active. Jack’s sessions will focus on fundamental movement skills, agility, balance, co-ordination and cardio for children; adults can join in too! Kiera Roche, Chief Executive Officer of LimbPower, says: “The mental and physical health of our children is paramount, particularly during lockdown. Jack’s sessions will help children to get moving, improve their fitness and remain positive during these challenging times. As a parent myself, I know providing this structure twice a week will make a
huge difference to children and their families.” Jack, who is currently training for the Tokyo Paralympic Games selection, is making each session different, focusing some on cardio and others on movement, coordination and balance. He explains: “These workouts will help children stay healthy and keep fit. I am passionate about making each session fun and accessible for all, so I look forward to seeing you each Tuesday and Thursday!”
Each workout is 20+ minutes and Session 1, Session 2, Session 3, Session 4 and Session 5 are already available on LimbPower’s YouTube Channel.
ABOUT LIMBPOWER LimbPower is the National Disability Sport Organisation that supports amputees and people with limb impairments to reach their sporting potential. The Charity’s mission is to engage amputees and people with limb impairments in regular and sustained participation in recreational and competitive sport and the arts, to improve their quality of life and aid physical, social and psychological rehabilitation. LimbPower aim to put each amputee and limb impaired person in touch with the right sport and leisure activity for their needs and ability. www.limbpower.com
Home adaptations? YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING YEARS TO EMBARK ON THE PROJECT TO ADAPT YOUR HOME INTO THE MOST FABULOUS ENVIRONMENT TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILD’S CURRENT AND FUTURE REQUIREMENTS. YOU HAVE, AT LAST BEEN GIVEN THE ‘GREEN LIGHT’ TO GO AHEAD
ou have been planning the space in your head, you can visualise the end result, and you just want to get on with it. David Alcock, Chartered Surveyor and Disabilities Accommodation Expert urges you not to rush and offers some sound advice. It can be a daunting process knowing where to start and what to do when embarking on major
adaptations work. There can often be a compulsion to ‘rush’, not only in identifying a suitable property but also in achieving the adaptation works. Home adaptations and where necessary, finding a suitable property are likely to be one of the largest capital outlays following the success of a claim or through other means and it’s important to give it the time and thought it requires, so as to
avoid potentially poor choices and decisions. The initial point should always be to establish the ‘property team’. This is likely to include your Legal Advisor and Case Manager (if appointed), an Occupational Therapist experienced in major adaptations, your Support Worker and not least an accommodation expert, who will either be a specialist disability
Level access ensuite showering facility
Architect or Surveyor. As time continues, others may be required to assist with various aspects. This â€˜property teamâ€™ are there to assist and guide you in your decisions and are an essential resource in both advice and assistance, from inception to completion of the adaptions project. Assembling the property team early, will allow for the fostering of good relationships and teamwork as the adaptions project develops. The property team have many objectives; the first is to understand through both communication and listening to the needs of the whole family, especially the person with the disability if that is possible. It is essential to understand the family dynamics, i.e. how the family lives together as a unit. It is also important to understand what current and future care needs are going to be required. The complexity, extent, and range of disabilities for any individual will determine what is going to be required and bespoke for each situation. Each situation is unique and so are the needs that arise. The purpose of these understandings is to establish the type and size of facilities that are going to be necessary. Secondly, it is important to consider factors like location, local amenities and facilities that are preferred. For some families the close proximity of friends or relatives for example, is of major importance, for others,
Rise and fall bath with track and hoist over
they may know of preferred locations that they feel are more suitable, for example a location with less outside distractions or an area that is more secure or has a more level terrain. Together these factors help to establish the brief of what is required and what is likely to be suitable and what is likely to be unsuitable. Once properties have been identified though a search and/or visits, your accommodation expert will be able to take measurements, prepare initial drawings to determine what will and what will not be feasible. Proposals will be prepared for discussion with you and the property team will provide advice on technical matters, such as whether Planning Permission is going to be necessary. You should be provided with some initial cost advice, to help you with early decision making and choices. When preparing proposal drawings your accommodation expert will consider more specific factors in the design, including the size and space you require. This will be factors like the size of a suitable bedroom and wet room ensuite, space for therapy, quiet space, space for carer support, and other reception rooms such a family dining kitchen and lounge areas. There will be a calculation of the number of other bedrooms, bathrooms and storage facilities that are going to be required, together with any additional bespoke space that is required, with consideration for circulation space. All elements
will be discussed with you and your property team and often go through a process of adjustment and refinement until a design is agreed and finalised. Where carers accommodation is required, either now or in the future, it is important to give this good thought and it is important to consider the carers needs. Retaining good care, may in part be influenced by the standard and quality of accommodation provided, this is also certainly important if sleep-in-care and night care is going to be required. It will be important to consider some level of selfcontainment of care accommodation where possible, so that there can be a separation between family life and care support. Whilst considering space and room facilities, it is essential you are aware of the wide range of specialised equipment and products available to support independence, make life easier, and improve the quality of life, not just for the young person with the disability, but for the family as a whole. Your Occupational Therapist will be able to provide you with suggestions and you can visit one of the Kidz to Adultz Exhibitions. There is a vast range of equipment available in the UK with new or improved designs being launch regularly - equipment to assist with care, such as specialist baths and hoisting facilities, others are aimed at encouraging maximum independence such as specially
Adapted kitchen with rise and fall worktops and wall units.
adapted rise and fall type kitchens, rise and fall wash hand basins and specialist toilets. Guidance on what is best suited for an individualsâ€™ needs together with an understanding of likely outlay and running costs, should be commenced early. A fundament design consideration will be access and circulation space. There is most likely a need to consider door widths, so that they are suitable for wheelchairs both inside the home and to the doors leading to the outside. It will also be necessary to ensure the floors are level inside the home, but also leading from the inside of the home to the outside pathway and garden areas. It is best to consider properties with minimal changes in floor level and to avoid steep sites, together with considering properties providing suitable parking spaces and in some instances, external canopies to protect from inclement weather. The accessibility requirement will determine corridor widths and space for turning within room areas. In some properties, it may be necessary to consider the fitting of a suitable through floor lift internally and on some occasions, also externally. The outlay costs and future running costs of through floor lifts should be considered early in the design project. Depending on the nature of the disability, many other factors may need to be considered, not least heating and air conditioning facilities for those with temperature regulation issues, but also lighting levels, both natural and artificial together with good ventilation. For many individuals, assisted
Self-contained carers accommodation with its own separate entrance
technology including heating and lighting controls, external door and gate intercoms, automated door / window openers may be considered, to assist both with access, comfort, security and increasing independence in and around the home. In addition, it is important to consider a security alarm and CCTV provision. For some people, dependant on their disability, individuals may benefit from various therapies, not least exercise through equipment or through aqua facilities. Sensory equipment within the home or through touch and smell in sensory garden spaces may be a consideration. Access to facilities in the garden are so important for young people such as accessible play equipment, sunken trampolines, raised planting beds and possibly an accessible greenhouse. A good home adaptation needs to ideally meet all the necessary factors and designed to be bespoke to each individual and family whilst keeping within a reasonable cost. Your
dream, accessible property needs to function on many levels whilst presenting as a comfortable home, whilst not creating an environment that is to clinical. To achieve this goal, calls for expertise, good communication, regular discussions and timely decisions throughout the design and construction process. David J Alcock BSc (Honâ€™s) MRICS, Chartered Surveyor & Disabilities Accommodation Expert. DMA Associates www. accommodation-expert.com
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SAVE THE DATES FOR OUR FUTURE EVENTS...
NORTH Thursday 12th November 2020 EventCity, Manchester
Thursday 18th March 2021 Ricoh Arena, Coventry
SOUTH Tuesday 18th May 2021 Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre, Farnborough
WALES & WEST Friday 25th June 2021 The International Conference Centre (ICC), Newport
SCOTLAND Thursday 9th September 2021 Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!
Talk about Constipation
blems the ow to
INTRODUCING & BOWEL UK’S June Rogers BLADDER MBE
‘Talk about…’ information leaflets PromoCon
June Rogers MBE Director of PromoCon Disabled Centre Norgine Pharmaceuticals Limited provided an Living educational grantManchester to support
issues. The Spring edition is available understandof thethis problems they are ladder & Bowel UK has the production and distribution booklet. Norgine Pharmaceuticals to view online. Sign up for the having and what needs to be done to produced a range of booklets Limited had no editorial input into the content of this booklet other than aby visiting Summer newsletter help things get better. and leaflets covering bladder Illustrator Les Eaves review of medical accuracy. www.bbuk.org.uk/newsletter BBUK has recently launched a and bowel problems in children quarterly e-newsletter for children The ‘Talk about…’ range of booklets and adults with bladder and bowel are aimed at children to help them
a similar range of resources for adults with bladder and/ or bowel problems and would also welcome any suggestions regarding specific topics you would like to see developed.
In addition to the Talk about… series, BBUK have produced many other helpful information leaflets: •
The ‘Understanding…’ range is aimed at carers and professionals to help them understand specific issues and how best to address them. We are currently developing
The ‘Discussing…’ range will be aimed at adults and reflect the ‘Talk about…’ range of
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The ‘Facts about…’ range will be aimed more at professionals and carers to give a deeper understanding and explanation of the specific conditions and treatments.
To view the range of resources available please visit the website www.bbuk.org.uk/children-youngpeople/children-resources
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CALLING ALL KIDZ FANS
we want a mascot!
Can you put your creative hats on and design a mascot that we can use to promote the Kidz to Adultz exhibitions? While you are still off school or college, we know you have plenty of time on your hands so there is no excuse not to enter our competition!
• Open to anybody 25 years and under • Your design can be hand-drawn or computer designed • Your mascot must be in colour and fit on one side of A4 paper • Email your design to info@ disabledliving.co.uk • Closing date 31st July 2020
The Prize £100 Gift voucher
The winning entry may be incorporated into branding materials
Birds of Prey
UNLOCKING THE BRIDGE
TO COMMUNICATION THERE ARE THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS OF SPENDING TIME WITH BIRDS OF PREY 24
hroughout the UK there are several organisations who can offer magical experiences with these fascinating birds. Here, Angela Norwood from Berkshire Birds of Prey shares with us her experiences and tells us why she still gets goose bumps and a lump in her throat. People often ask me why I do what I do with the birds. Visiting schools, care homes, parties and more often about working with children and adults who have additional needs. All I can say is when you see a child with additional needs, who is hyperactive, finding everything overwhelming and fearful, and I sit with them, with PJ, our White Face Scoops Owl, and that child becomes calm, gentle and with no fear in their face, their body language changes from being tense and ridged to calm and fully relaxed. This is what spurs me on and every single time I get goose bumps and a lump in my throat. It is exhausting but so very rewarding. The sessions are from thirty minutes up to an hour depending on the client’s needs. We work 1:1 or in small groups, giving the clients the opportunity to hold and touch the birds, even fly them. Angela recollects, ‘one of the most overwhelming moments was working with a six-year-old boy, David*. David had never spoken, with the teachers suggesting there was no apparent medical reason why he hadn’t– he just hadn’t. David very rarely interacted with people but would sit and watch everyone else. Sometimes he would become angry with no obvious triggers.
When this happened, he would destroy displays or toys and hurt people. I was asked to help him. With very little information I went and visited David at school. He was sat in the room looking at me with no expression - no eye contact. I introduced myself and told him why I was there. I introduced PJ and he just sat watching me. I sat talking to PJ and not to David. After ten minutes or so, David moved closer to me, sitting side-wards on, looking at PJ. PJ noticed him and started making her noises, to which he chuckled. I knew then, I had him! That session David did not touch PJ, however when I arrived for the next session David was waiting, sat on the chair I had sat on previously. I went and sat next to him. At first, I did not get PJ out of the box. I just sat. After five minutes or so, David gave me the glove, which was on top of the box. Still there was no eye contact. I asked David if he wanted PJ to come out. Where is PJ? David pointed to the box. He didn’t hold her, but looked intensely at her, moving his head side to side, and turning his body round to look at her. This was a massive step forward. Sessions three and four played out the same but with me spending time talking to him, explaining about the birds and their problems. At the fifth session, the teacher told me David had been making more noises in class and was trying to draw and pick up different
pencils. One of the drawings was a sort of circle with two wobbly legs. The teacher thought his was PJ. A major wow moment. In this session I managed to get David to hold PJ. His face came alive, his body was relaxed, and he was faced straight at me. Not only did he hold PJ but stroked her very softly. My heart was skipping a beat and the lump in my throat felt as if it was going to explode. I was trying to hold back the tears of joy but didn’t manage it! Every time we left, I would say, ‘Say goodbye to PJ and we will see you soon’, hoping David might wave. Today we got a, “bbbbbbb” Oh my gosh, what I felt then was indescribable. Session six was interesting. David greeted us at the door, he then put on a glove and pointed, offering some eye contact. The teacher told me; David had been behaving differently in class with less outbursts since the last visit. David had made a new friend in PJ. Over the next four sessions David’s eye contact improved and he even started to use some basic sign language. On the last session David said ‘bye’ as clear as day and gave PJ a kiss. That is why I do what I do. For more information about Berkshire Birds of Prey contact Angela or visit the Facebook page: Berkshire Birds of Prey email@example.com *child’s name has been changed
SPOT, STOP AND PREVENT SCAMS SCAMS COST THE UK ECONOMY £5-10 BILLION A YEAR IN COMPARISON TO DOMESTIC BURGLARY COSTING APPROX. £4.1 BILLION A YEAR. 1
1 in 3 people have been contacted by a scammer since the Coronavirus outbreak began and over 2,500 victims have lost a total of over £8.1m to Coronavirus related scams3. Scams can affect anyone, so it’s important to know how to spot one. Be Scam Aware.
We’re working with other utility companies to take a stand against scams. Visit cadentgas.com/coronavirusscams 1. FAS Website homepage, friendsagainstscams.org.uk, October 2019.
2. The economic and social costs of crime Second edition Research Report 99, Matthew Heeks, Sasha Reed, Mariam Tafsiri and Stuart Prince. July 2018. 3. Action Fraud 19 June 2020.
HOW DO YOU SPOT A SCAM?
If you know what to look out for you’re less likely to fall victim to a scam. Scams come in a variety of formats whether it is
If you speak to an operator, you could be at risk
email offering a prize in return for money or personal
financial details, which could result in identity theft or
someone knocking on the door to gain entry, or an information or they could include unexpected,
unsolicited calls with recorded messages asking you to either speak to an operator or press a button on your phone for more information.
of giving them your personal information or your
financial loss. If you press a button on your phone you could be connected to a high-cost premium number,
leaving you liable for a significant call cost. Fake texts claiming to come from the Government are another
ploy sometimes involving a demand for payment of a fine or the offer of a tax refund of some kind.
TOP TIPS TO AVOID TELEPHONE SCAMS 1 Call back if you are unsure – using a number on a bill or via a trusted website.
2 Have you heard about call blocker technology to prevent calls from scammers? 3 Don’t be pressured to make a decision on the spot. 4 If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
5 Just because they are friendly doesn’t mean you can trust them. 6 Don’t provide your personal or account details.
BEWARE OF BOGUS CALLERS As a gas distribution network, Cadent, sometimes
Be scam aware
essential work. If this is planned gas pipe replacement
just follow these simple steps to protect yourself from
need to access people’s properties to carry out
work you should receive a letter in advance, or we
maybe there to deal with a suspected gas escape.
If something doesn’t feel right it may well not be, so the confidence tricksters while also ensuring you don’t miss out on essential services.
In both instances there are simple steps you can take
A good three step process in dealing with suspected
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by the fact
SPOT: If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.
to protect yourself from any potential scammers.
that a caller is wearing an official looking uniform or driving a branded vehicle, as these could be fake. Anyone working for Cadent carries an official
identification card which should be inspected before giving access to your property. Remember like
branded uniforms and vehicles, IDs can be fakes. If
you’re in any doubt close the door and do not admit
scams of all types is as follows:
STOP: Take some time to stop and think before
parting with your details, money or letting people into your property – it could keep you safe.
PREVENT: If you spot a scam or think you’ve fallen for a scam, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040
and get help (If you feel in immediate danger call 999).
the caller. You can verify if someone works for us
For advice visit:
can confirm whether the visitor works for us or not.
by calling 0345 835 1111, select Option 2 and we
Anyone working for us is trained to understand the verification process and will not be offended.
If you arrange an appointment with us through
your gas supplier, the engineer can also be given a
password to use to keep you safe on the doorstep. Alternatively, you can also have a password set for energy companies like Cadent to use through the
Priority Services Register (PSR). This is a register that supports people who may have reduced mobility,
additional communication needs, a serious illness or who is currently living in a vulnerable situation.
It’s free of charge to register and can give you extra
peace of mind – to find out more speak to your energy supplier or contact Cadent on 0345 835 111 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• cadentgas.com/coronavirusscams We have created some helpful tools showing the top tips on detailed above including:
• An internal door sticker – with the top tips
for preventing doorstep scams. It also has
an external message warning the scammer that they will be asked to prove their identity.
• A notebook for use by the telephone - it
gives details of main contacts and includes the tips on preventing telephone scams.
If you would like copies of these please contact email@example.com
PROTECT YOURSELF WITH OUR 5 TOP TIPS TO STOP DOORSTEP SCAMS 1 Be aware that uniforms and ID can be copied/fake. If in doubt close the door and contact the company using a number off a bill or website. 2 Do you have a pre-booked appointment? Utilities rarely turn up without one.
3 If you don’t have an appointment call the company before allowing entry – they won’t mind waiting if they are legitimate. 4 Do you have a doorstep password? Make sure they provide this. 5 Stay safe – if you feel in immediate danger call 999.
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16+ AND LOOKING
GET BEHIND THE WHEEL WITH DRIVING MOBILITY ASSESSMENT CENTRES
he charity Driving Mobility oversees 20 driving assessment centres, with over 70 outreach facilities, which provide professional advice and support so individuals with restricted mobility can drive safely. If you have a disability, you can drive a car from aged 16 if you receive, or have applied for, the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Driving Mobility centres help provisional and licenced drivers, of all ages, who live with a disability or have experienced life changing circumstances. In addition to driving assessments and guidance regarding accessible vehicles and adapted controls, Driving Mobility provides many more services for children and young adults. These include mobility equipment assessments, accessible travel advice including flying, specialist paediatric car seat guidance and powered wheelchair loans for young children to name a few. So, if you contact a centre what can you expect? SIGNPOSTING Young people who use Driving Mobility services either self-refer or are signposted from the DVLA, Motability, the Police or healthcare professionals such as GPs and Occupational Therapists (OTs). Each
centre is operated by an independent charity or an NHS department so the availability of additional services may differ between organisations. Nevertheless, driving assessments are standard throughout the network. The nearest centre to you can be located on the Driving Mobility website by entering your postcode at: https://www. drivingmobility.org.uk/find-a-centre/ Once contact is made, an initial telephone assessment is completed followed by the booking of an appointment at a centre. The cost of a driving assessment will vary and depend on whether you are selfreferring or have been signposted. Other services such as mobility scooter assessments or equipment loading advice tend to be lower in cost and some sessions are free. CORONAVIRUS PROTECTED SERVICES Due to the recent outbreak of Covid-19, Driving Mobility centres have introduced a comprehensive range of safety measures to minimise risk of infection. These strict protocols are in place to protect you and their staff which includes wearing PPE, stringent vehicle cleaning measures and social distancing where possible. These can be explained in detail on the telephone before visiting a centre so you are reassured.
JAMES’ EXPERIENCE East Anglian DriveAbility (EAD) enabled James Kipling from Kings Lynn to return to driving following a motorbike-related spinal injury. James said: “I felt quite nervous when I arrived at EAD but I was very impressed from the start. The Driving Assessment was amazing! The same adaptations were fitted to a simulator and a car which meant I picked up using them straight away. The whole experience was made straightforward and easy for me.” Following his assessment, James was given a comprehensive written report which he took to his GP for medical approval to drive. The DVLA were updated and James subsequently passed his theory test. He is now applying for a Motability vehicle which will be fitted with the recommended driving controls and is looking forward to his driving test. VISITING A CENTRE When you arrive at a centre, with the support of a relative, carer or friend, you will be greeted by a friendly team. Attending a driving assessment is not like taking your driving test! You will be supported by caring and understanding staff who will put you at ease during the process. The assessment will vary dependent on your needs, however typically you will start by completing a series of desk-based questions in a consultation room with an OT and an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). Certain centres have static driving rigs within their facilities which you may be asked to use.
DRIVING ASSESSMENT The next stage is an in-car assessment in one of the centre’s adapted cars or wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs). For safety, this part of the process must be completed without anyone who may have accompanied you for support. You will be asked to drive on local private and public roads with an ADI and a Clinician. They will assess all aspects of your driving including medical fitness, vision, awareness, reactions, decision-making and physical ability to operate controls. At the end of an assessment you will receive verbal advice and a written report. POSITIVE OUTCOMES This report can then be used in a variety of ways. For example, if the DVLA requested that you have a driving assessment, then the details will be sent to them so your driving licence status can be confirmed. You may use the information to seek an appropriate accessible vehicle or adapted controls – centres can signpost you to trustworthy vehicle convertors. In some circumstances, more driver tuition is recommended with subsequent assessments to evaluate progress and ability. Each centre will support you to gain as much independence as possible – whether that involves driving a car, using accessible public transport
or owning appropriate assistive equipment. GET GOING LIVE EVENTS Originally part of the long running national Mobility Roadshow, Get Going Live! is a regional event held annually at the QEF charity in Carlshalton, South London. It
provides the opportunity for young visitors and their families, including teenagers from the age of 15, to try a vast range of adapted vehicles around a safe test track accompanied by ADIs. For further details or to find the nearest Driving Mobility centre, visit: https://www.drivingmobility.org.uk
IZZY’S EXPERIENCE Izzy, 16, was referred to Derby DriveAbility by her OT as she wanted to discover ways to drive as a quadruple amputee. The Driving Mobility team in Derby teamed Izzy up with another client, Angela, who had the same disabilities to discover the right adapted vehicle for her. Izzy attended the centre and completed a driving assessment using a radial accelerator and push away brake, steering cup fitted to the wheel for use with her left arm, additionally lightened power assisted steering and a Lodgesons bleeper control system for indicators, horn etc. She comfortably drove using these controls so was signposted to vehicle adaptation specialists Des Gosling Mobility who were able to modify a Motability car. The Covid-19 pandemic delayed the process however Izzy has just sat in her new car to check the controls and feels ready to get going. If it hadn’t been for the virus lockdown, she could have passed her test before her 17th birthday as you can drive a year earlier with a disability.
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPYâ€™S ROLE IN
SLEEP DISTURBANCES IN CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH NEURODEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES ARE COMMON AND PERSISTENT AND HAVE A PROFOUND EFFECT ON THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF THE PERSON, AS WELL AS THE ENTIRE FAMILY.
leep difficulties are associated with negative outcomes for the child or young person such as challenging behaviour and impaired educational or work performance, and the family in terms of increased stress and relationship difficulties. Although interventions for sleep difficulties often involve a combination of behavioural and pharmacologic
(medication) strategies, an essential first intervention for behavioural sleep difficulties is sleep hygiene education. This advises parents and carers on creating optimal sleeping conditions for their child and exposes them to activities and cues that prepare them for and promote
appropriately timed and effective sleep. We teach the families to be able to unpick and problem solve the sleep issues so that they can manage them more effectively. Despite the importance of sleephygiene principles, defined as basic optimal environmental, scheduling, sleep-practice, and physiologic sleeppromoting
factors, many clinicians often lack appropriate knowledge and skills to implement them, particularly within the SEND and Disabilities community. Restful and adequate sleep provides the foundation for optimal occupational performance, participation, and engagement in daily life, a concept that is historically consistent with the development of occupational therapy. The impact of sleep on function and participation is incorporated into the repertoire of occupational therapists and addressed across the lifespan. Prevention and intervention strategies to address the individual and family needs, lie within the scope of practice for occupational therapy and represent another way in which the profession approaches clients from a holistic perspective to help them live life to its fullest. Occupational therapists use knowledge of sleep physiology, sleep disorders, and evidence-based sleep promotion practices to evaluate and address the ramifications of sleep insufficiency or sleep disorders on occupational performance and participation. Sleep difficulties are addressed with all clients and framed from the perspective of health maintenance and health promotion. Here is a case study of how occupational therapists may address sleep difficulties among this client population. CASE STUDY – CHILDREN WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER Occupational therapists working with families of children with an autism spectrum disorder or another developmental disorder explore the impact of sleep deprivation on the family unit and the child’s and caregivers’ ability to function effectively during the day. We support families to systematically trial changes in bedtime routines, habits and patterns. Cognitive or behavioural therapy interventions, or strategies to address sensory avoiding or sensory seeking behaviours are used. Thomas is a 14-year-old with
Autism, he is minimally verbal, has high sensory needs and can present with challenging behaviour. Thomas has been taking Melatonin in increasing doses since he was 6 and at the time of initial assessment was taking 3-4 hours to settle for bed and waking multiple times per night. When awake Thomas was at risk of absconding, risky behaviour and usually woke the rest of the house.
For Thomas, intervention involved: • a social story, with supporting pictures depicting his bedtime routines, • loose, lightweight pyjamas with soft waistband, • use of a weighted blanket at night, • addition of white noise and a fan to drown out distracting sensory stimuli, • a sensory calm down programme to regulate the sensory systems before bed, • removal of iPad an hour before bedtime, replaced with audio books played in his bedroom, • introduction of a gro-clock and symbol system to signal to Thomas when he could get up and when he needed to stay in his bedroom, • door sensors to alert parents if Thomas leaves his room. Managing the physical environment and enhancing observation skills help parents anticipate reactions to changes in clothing, toys, or family schedules. Calming activities and routines that do not burden the family and can be consistently carried out may facilitate sleep. Some tips you can try to support your families sleep habits: • Set a wind down routine that is followed strictly – this provides
prompts and cues to the young person about the upcoming bedtime. • Try turning off screens at least 30 minutes before sleep. • Calm activities such as reading, puzzles and fine motor skills activities work well. • Avoid caffeine – drink water, juice, squash or milk where possible. • Have a light snack such as toast, or bananas, cherries and oats are particularly full of melatonin or support the body to produce it. • Use of deep pressure and calming sensory strategies to support the wind down routine. • Getting enough physical exercise is also important during the day. We recommend 20-30 minutes of exercise three to four times a week. Exercising in the morning or afternoon is best to promote sleep. Exercise too close to bedtime can interfere with sleep due to the adrenalin release. For more sleep strategies, sleep hygiene education or for bespoke support to manage yours or your child’s sleep, get in touch with an Occupational Therapist or Breakthrough Therapy Solutions quoting Kidz2Adultz Alison Wyatt Specialist Occupational Therapist Breakthrough Therapy Solutions Ltd. breakthroughtherapysolutions.co.uk
NEW MINI DOCUMENTARY SERIES PUTS THE
IN THE SPOTLIGHT FOR ACCESSIBLE TOURISM
WITH ONE IN FIVE PEOPLE IN THE UK HAVING A DISABILITY, THE SERIES HOPES TO SHED LIGHT ON THE DAY-TO-DAY BARRIERS FACED BY PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
ith ‘Staycations’ in the UK being the likely choice for holidays this year, these documentaries will offer a valuable insight in accessibility. A six-part mini documentary filmed across the Fylde Coast has recently been released. The series follows families and friends from across the UK – with visible and invisible disabilities - on a visit to the area, including Becky Dann, who starred in Channel 4s The Undateables. It is hosted by Mike Goody, former RAF gunner and Invictus Games hero. With one in five people in the UK having a disability, the series hopes to shed light on the day-to-day barriers faced by people with disabilities. Alan Reid, CEO of Blackpool charity Disability First, which is spearheading the Access Fylde Coast project funded by the Coastal Communities Fund, says: “Having a visible or invisible disability affects the choices of where to stay or visit whether just for a day or a week – and that accounts for 1 in 5 people in the UK.
There is often a great deal of research which goes into which hotel or bed and breakfast to stay at, transport considerations, can they access restaurants or tourist attractions. So many businesses and tourist attractions across the Fylde Coast have been playing their part over the years to make their businesses more welcoming for people with physical, sensory and other ‘hidden’ disabilities and our project has further helped another 400-plus businesses across the area to make small changes which will make a big difference to disabled people, their families and the elderly too. “The Fylde Coast is just starting to open up to tourism following the UK lockdown due to Corona Virus and many businesses have been hit hard, but we hope that when the UK is back up and running fully, that after watching this series people will see all the positive changes which have been made in this fabulous area to make it a welcoming place for all and will flock here.”
Mike Goody says the series will help “pave the way” for understanding disabled access across the UK. The former RAF gunner was on patrol in Afghanistan in 2008 when the armoured vehicle he was driving hit a roadside bomb. Mike was trapped under the wreckage for three hours, causing severe injuries to his leg. Over two-and-a-half-years and 14 operations, Mike eventually had his leg amputated from the knee. The swimmer and runner, who has a good haul of gold medals from the Invictus Games and has swam the channel
since losing his limb, was keen to be involved in the series put together by Access Fylde Coast, knowing all too well the difficulties faced by disabled people heading out on day trips or going on holiday. Says Mike: “I think Access Fylde Coast is a fantastic idea”. “I’ve travelled all over the UK for a plethora of different reasons since I’ve been injured and it kind of feels to me that whenever you mention to someone about being disabled, they automatically kick into “stereotype mode” and expect you to arrive in a wheelchair or crutches. I’ve lost count of the times when arriving at a hotel, for example, and they’ve asked why I have requested an accessible/ walk in bathroom. I’ve even been refused a couple of years ago to have the accessible room & tried to move me to a ‘normal room’ as I wasn’t a wheelchair user?! I did NOT stay at that hotel that night or ever since!” “I’d love to think that Access Fylde Coast is going to pave the way for not only tourist areas but the whole of the UK. A project that local councils up and down the country can get involved with and follow suit. To educate and change peoples’ perspectives. Encourage local businesses to make the sometimes very small but necessary changes required to make life easier for anyone with a disability. It’s not all ramps and handrails. It’s also not about paying lip-service to current laws protecting people with disabilities and equal opportunities like unfortunately a small number of businesses do. It’s about making life easier for anyone and everyone that needs it.” The six-part series also features Becky Dann, a 25-year-old professional photographer from Cambridgeshire, who was diagnosed with scoliosis when she was four years old. Becky, who visited with her friend Dean, is well-known for appearing in series 8 of Channel 4s The Undateables.She travelled to Blackpool by train with her electric wheelchair for the first time. Becky was apprehensive about making
the trip but enjoyed the hospitality for disabled people which Blackpool afforded – including watching the Paraorchestra at the Winter Gardens, which was hosted by Access Fylde Coast. Becky says: “Generally, for me, going on holiday can be extremely stressful. Being in a wheelchair means you have to rely on so many other people to make your journey happen safely. You can’t be independent. Getting planes you risk your wheelchair being damaged, or worse lost, and going on trains you have to rely on the train staff being there to get ramps to get you on and off - and in some cases they’re not there to get you off. The fear of being stranded on a train hits me a lot. I rarely go on holiday out of pure fear of the stress I might face on my journey. I think the work that Access Fylde Coast are doing is amazing.
To have so many people working to improve and promote access for disabled people is incredible. The options available for help and support in the area alleviates so much stress for people like me who usually experience a lot of barriers wherever they travel.” The series highlights best practice for businesses and helps businesses to gain an insight into the barriers disabled people and their families face – whether that is choosing where to stay, where to eat, where to visit. With businesses just starting to open up this week, and having in place new social distancing measures in place, we are sending posters out to businesses across the Fylde Coast to ensure that they themselves and their staff can continue to support people with disabilities and also to ask fellow customers to have consideration. We have our top tips to businesses - whether considering where they put A-frames, wearing facemasks, the typeface and size of their new social distance signage etc.. and also suggesting they post any images of new layout and new systems on their websites to aid people....so that businesses can be more accommodating to people with differing needs. And, when the UK returns to daily life, that for disabled people thinking of coming to stay in Blackpool, Fylde or Wyre, it hopes to give a great snap shot of what these gems of the North West have to offer. To view the documentaries https:// www.accessfyldecoast.co.uk/videos/ For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
DO YOU TO ACCESS THE Do you needNEED to access the toilet urgently?
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LET NEUROSCIENCE TAKE THE STRESS OUT OF YOUR
day… and night!
“I’M SO STRESSED”. “I SUFFER FROM ANXIETY, REALLY BADLY”, “I JUST CAN’T SLEEP...”
ound familiar? These are some of the most common phrases we here from loved ones – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Touchpoints are a therapeutic tool which uses neuroscience to help connect neurological pathways in the brain – this is key to managing stress, anxiety and even helping with sleep issues. It is now commonly known that stress/anxiety effect our ability to sleep, usually because we are worrying about the events of the day or fearful for the events of the next day – we struggle to sleep. When we struggle to sleep the stress levels also increase the next day. We need to look at managing stress and sleep together - this is how Touchpoints can help. WHAT ARE TOUCHPOINTS? Touchpoints therapeutic devices are neuroscientific wearables they come as a pair and should be worn either side of the body, like watches. The devices are manually operated by you, they emit gentle vibrations which will be felt on the left and the right hand side of the body. Touchpoints will help the user
to reduce the side effects of stress and anxiety in real time. They are available for use by everyone in the home as well as professionals in care settings. The devices which work via a tiny infared connection with one another, have 3 pre-programmed settings to help with Sleep (Blue), Stress/ anxiety (Yellow) and Anger (Pink) – so when you or your child experience difficulties in these areas you can simply press the devices, select the desired setting and let Touchpoints bring relief. HOW DO TOUCHPOINTS ACTUALLY WORK? The neuroscience technology behind the devices is generally left for those wearing the white coats to discuss
– but we want to share some of the details, so you understand a little more about the devices. Most people are familiar with the fight, flight and freeze mechanism built within each of us. This is activated when danger, uncertainty or in today’s modern world when stressful situation presents itself, and as a result our body has an emotional response – this could be physical symptoms like a shortness of breath, upset stomach or localised pain. What the devices enable us to do, is effectively reduce these emotional responses, so we can think clearly about the situation we are in, making us calm and able to make rational decisions. Touchpoints use a technology called bi-lateral stimulation (BLAST).
This comes in the form of very gentle vibrations delivered to each side of the body. The body feels the vibrations and the brain receives the signals from the left and right stimulation – this allows the neurological pathways to connect. But why do we need this to happen? Look at the evidence below to show how the technology helps to reduce beta waves (stress) in the brain using Touchpoints. MANY OF YOU WILL BE THINKING – BUT HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO ME OR MY CIRCUMSTANCES? When you ask someone to think about the impact of disability and the lives of individuals affected by it, most people will think of issues relating to access – summoning up images of wheelchairs users, perhaps of those with dexterity issues or often learning disabilities. Although it is great that people are beginning to recognise that not all disabilities are visible, there is still some way to go. Touchpoint Europe recently exhibited at Kidz to Adultz Middle in Coventry. During these events it was great to see so many people had come to see what the industry has to offer in terms of support for disabled living. It became apparent during our discussions that irrespective of the nature of the disabilities people had, they could cope with the physical challenges presented by their disability – but what was needed was more support on a mental health and emotional level. The most common feedback was how people often got stressed, often became anxious about certain scenarios and sometimes becoming angry. One specific example of Touchpoints helping saw the devices used in a school in South Wales where the diagnoses of the children included Autism and Global Developmental Delay and different problematic behaviours were tracked per the individual child. In one child during a 1 week observation period, lying on the
floor and screaming occurred 27 times and 67 times without the devices. With Touchpoints this reduced to 6 times and one time respectively. In another child, the number of incidences of head banging was observed 273 times without the devices and 18 times with the devices. Ali Rodenburg BA(Ed)Hons, MDip, the principal researcher, commented that introducing TouchPoints to the school yielded “an extremely positive impact on pupils who have limited ability to explain how they are feeling and communicate their frustrations.” Every child who used TouchPoints “has displayed a reduction in their visible anxiety/frustration.” Overall, there was an average reduction of 72% of problematic behaviours. “This is outstanding and has huge potential,” she added. “The impact on wellbeing and maintenance on inner calm is overwhelming.” The school plans on continuing to use TouchPoints with more of their students. We mentioned the ‘white coats’ earlier, here we have some words following the findings at the school from Dr. Amy Serin, inventor and Chief Science Officer at Touchpoint who commented, “When you understand how the BLAST technology in TouchPoints works, you can predict what behaviours will spontaneously change when they are applied in individuals who have difficulty regulating for a variety of reasons. We are looking forward to more data as there are several research institutions
and schools around the world currently conducting studies using TouchPoints to examine their effects on stress, sleep, performance, pain, and behaviour.” As individuals or carers we can all recognise that at certain times, or in certain situations those with assisted living needs can experience periods of upset or experience real challenges in their lives. Knowing where and when these happen gives us a real advantage when using Touchpoints - this could be taking a trip to the Doctor or having a deviation from a routine for example. Here the devices can be used before such a situation to calm the individual down on the run up to the event, easing anxiety. Worn during the event itself, the devices can reduce the emotional response in real time. And after the events of the day, Touchpoints can also assist with sleeping – we all lay in bed at night thinking about the events of the day and worry about what tomorrow may bring – using the same calming technology, worn before bedtime Touchpoints can help the user to fall asleep and stay asleep. Please visit the Touchpoint website at www.touchpointeurope.com to learn more and use code for readers KTA25 to get 25% off the online prices.
Employing your own care and support Employing your own personal assistants gives children and their parents choice and control about how they’re supported. Our free, online toolkit can help you get started. ‘Employing personal assistants’ toolkit This toolkit has step by step advice to help you hire your own personal assistants. It’s available online or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for a paper copy.
Individual employer funding There’s also funding to pay for training to help you hire your own personal assistants and to train them. Find out more at www.skillsforcare.org.uk/iefunding.
The Disabled Living Supplier Directory provides information about companies and organisations that provide equipment, products and services to support disabled children, adults and older people. You’ll find the Supplier Directory on our website www.disabledliving.co.uk
As well as being distributed at each of the Kidz to Adultz shows, you’ll find each new issue online, so you can always keep up to date with what’s new and read all the interesting articles. Just visit...
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THIS IS WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO…. DISABLED LIVING
A charity which provides impartial information and advice about products, equipment (assistive technology) and services for disabled children, adults, older people, carers and the professionals who support them. We have a range of services which you can access via our helpline, through the website or at our Kidz to Adultz exhibitions. www.disabledliving.co.uk
The team comprises occupational therapists, trusted assessors, moving and handling specialists, physiotherapists, nurses and continence specialists. We respond to enquiries via our helpline and website. Some people opt to visit the Disabled Living Centre based in Manchester for a free equipment assessment. Helpline: 0161 607 8200
BLADDER & BOWEL UK
The team provide information and advice for children, young people and adults with Bladder & Bowel problems. We provide a confidential helpline managed by a team of specialist nurses and knowledgeable information staff. In addition, the website offers a wide range of downloadable free resources. Helpline: 0161 607 8219 www.bbuk.org.uk
KIDZ TO ADULTZ EXHIBITIONS
We organise the largest FREE UK exhibitions totally dedicated to disabled children, young adults, their families, carers and the professionals who support them, with over 100 exhibitors at each event. We currently deliver deliver 5 events nationally in Coventry, Farnborough, Newport, Edinburgh and Manchester. www.kidzexhibitions.co.uk
We run a comprehensive training programme for professionals and carers. Most of our courses are accredited by Open Awards and others provide CPD opportunities. Our training courses can be ‘tailor made’ to suit your organisations requirements and can be delivered throughout the UK. www.disabledliving.co.uk/training