The MOVE Programme can be used to develop a whole host of independent mobility skills, including 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 profoundly disabled children.

1. Communication: improved head control can give children access to forms of communication. A pupil at Watergate School, who is non-verbal, can now raise his head from a forward position to midline and can turn it in both directions. This allows him to use his head to activate a switch to give greetings, contribute to stories and speak single words.

2. Connections: by having better head control, a child is able to make connections with both adults and their peers. If a child can 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. Head control increases their awareness of the world around them and enables them to independently build connections with others.

3. Technology: improved head control can increase a child’s access to technology. A second pupil at Watergate School, who is also non-verbal, was struggling to maintain a head position where he could access an eye gaze device - a piece of technology that 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 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 that can be achieved using the MOVE Programme with profoundly disabled children. To find out more about how you can start using the MOVE Programme in your school or organisation, get in touch!

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