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Let’s Play

In June, I started running a therapy clinic one day a week, out of a local health centre. I was advised to simply have set hours when people knew I would be there and allow people to simply turn up and wait. So that’s what I did. Any given morning I was having between 1 and 12 families come with a wide range of difficulties, some I could help with, others not. I even had a girl travel with her teacher and mother from South Sudan for an assessment.

Assessing is one thing but then came the difficulty of what to do with those that were appropriate for therapy? The numbers were simply too large.

So every Thursday in September I ran two pilot therapy groups. One for under 5’s who aren’t talking (for various reasons) and then one specifically for the families of children with Down Syndrome (more about that in another post). This left Tuesday’s free for doing triage.

12 families came across the two groups and we covered basic topics like, ‘what is communication?, ‘how to talk to your child’ and ‘How to use everyday situations such as bathing, dressing and mealtimes for improving communication.’

My favourite session was definitely week two, ‘play’. The focus was encouraging parents to play with the children, understanding different types of play and showing that play is how children learn. Obviously it wouldn’t be a good session without some practical element so we also made toys and practised playing during the session. Banana fibre dolls and balls, plastic bottle cars, along with paperbag and sock puppets all featured.

There was a lot of laughter in this session. It didn’t take long for the parents to get really stuck into it as they remembered toys they played with as children.

I’ll certainly make some tweaks but overall the groups were a success and it’s great to feel like my therapy work is finally getting off the ground.

Discussing different types of play.

Parents thinking of as many ways as they could to play with a margarine tub (they got to 7.)

One mum making a ball from banana fibre.

A dad with a doll he has just made.

Here’s one I made earlier sock puppet.

The Down Syndrome Support Group in full flow.

A proud group of toy makers.