Accolade For Wyvern Academy
7:46am 10th March 2014
They help physically disabled children gain more freedom of movement.
Now the Wyvern Academy in Weymouth has become the first school in the region to receive a centre of excellence accreditation for their MOVE Programme.
MOVE teaches children with severe physical disabilities to gain new skills to help with their mobility, including sitting upright and walking, which in turn can help with their ability to learn.
"We are absolutely delighted to have received MOVE Centre of Excellence status. "It's a marvellous achievement and will make real a difference to many young lives," says Sue Marshall, Wyvern's MOVE co-ordinator.
"The heart of this programme is that movement is a pre-requisite for learning. A child restricted to a wheelchair lacks the same learning opportunities as an able-bodied youngster to explore their environment.
"The more they are able to interact with the world around them, the more their interest and motivation grows and the more they can learn."
Sue says the most basic of actions - giving a hug, going to the toilet, or raising your head to look out of the window - can often present a huge challenge for many of the UK's 110,000 children with severe physical disabilities.
"A young person who is unable to control their head for instance, might only be able to stare into their lap or else look up at the ceiling, which effectively shuts them off from the rest of the world.
"Gaining movement and strength can make a huge impact on their lives and make a whole world of difference to a child's ability to receive an education and to their general happiness.
"If you can control your head, you can make eye contact with other people. It also means you can look at a screen with the freedom to make your own choices about what you want to explore, just like any other child."
Developing head control also means the child is less likely to choke while eating or drinking, and can improve the position of the spine and internal organs and helps prevent skeletal deformity.
There are currently 22 children on the MOVE Programme at Wyvern Academy which has 81 pupils aged between 3 and 19, all of whom benefit from regular access to the programme and specialist equipment.
Thirteen-year-old Mitchell, who has cerebral palsy, was unable to stand when he started the programme 18 months ago and would spend the majority of his time sat in his powered wheelchair.
Mitchell was provided with a walking frame, and the opportunity to use it was built into his daily routine - for example, taking the register to the office in the morning or walking down to the kitchen to see what was for lunch.
The range of movement in his legs and feet has now improved to the extent he now uses his walker throughout the school day and to go out into the school playground at break times.
His mum Tina, says her son's legs have grown stronger and his digestion has also improved through being more active, along with his confidence levels and self-esteem. He now wants to learn how to ride a bike.
"We have made our home and garden more accessible. Mitchell is happy he has choices now rather than just sitting in his chair."