For children with more significant physical disabilities, The MOVE Programme can have dramatic effects on independence, movement and communication. For many of these children, this is through setting MOVE goals focused on improving head control.

Here Katie Chapman, MOVE Trainer at Watergate School in London, shows 6 ways that MOVE goals focusing on head control can have a tremendous impact on the lives of children with more significant physical disabilities.

1.Communication: “Improved head control will increase the child’s ability to communicate. A pupil at Watergate School, who is non-verbal, has improved his communication skills as a result of increased head control. He can raise his head from a forward position to midline and can turn it in both directions. He is now beginning to activate a switch using his head to give greetings, contribute to stories and speak single words.

2.Connections: “By having better head control, a child is also able to make connections with both adults and their peers. If a child is able to raise their head into a midline position this can enable eye contact and a greater awareness of who is engaging with them. If a child is able to turn their head and bring it back into midline they can look toward other people to track their movements or gain attention. It can increase their awareness of the world around them, for example by being able to look out of a car window.

3.Technology: “Improved head control can increase a child’s access to technology. A second pupil at Watergate School who is also nonverbal was struggling to maintain a head position which would enable him to access an eye gaze device. This piece of technology would allow him to make some choices and answer basic questions. This pupil was given a MOVE Programme and worked on his head control both at home and at school. He is now able to access this device, on which he loves choosing and playing games.

4.Skills Development: “For a number of our pupils, improving their head control via The MOVE Programme has led to the development of other valuable skills. Four of our pupils are propping themselves up through their forearms (either on wedges or on the floor) and bringing their heads up. When positioned together, they are able to engage with each other and participate in activities such as pushing a ball or popping bubbles.

5.Movement: “A few of our pupils are also using their head control as part of the process of initiating rolling. This skill helps them to get themselves into more comfortable positions and take themselves to different locations whilst on the floor, for example toward their peers. Rolling is also a skill which is valuable during personal care, allowing pupils to help with the process.

6.Sitting: “We have also seen improvements in our pupils’ sitting skills due to increased head control. If a pupil is able to maintain an upright head position they will find it easier to achieve a comfortable sitting position and control their upper body. As their head control improves and the pupils are sitting more upright, we may be able to reduce the amount of the support they need when sitting.”

These are just 6 possible outcomes of using The MOVE Programme with children with more complex and significant disabilities.

To find out more about how you can start to use The MOVE Programme in your school or organisation, please contact us.

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