The importance of Activity Sessions
For individuals with cerebral palsy, providing interesting and challenging activities is extremely important. Not only does it help to develop individual skills, but can also instill a great sense of achievement within the individual.
It is important to realize that cerebral palsy can result in a very diverse range of disability, and activities have to address the needs and capabilities of all individuals.
An establishment accredited by the Care Quality Commission for providing excellent engaging care is Lincolnshire House, a registered charity based in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire and provides residential, day and respite care services for adults with Cerebral Palsy.
Eddie Galpin, the activites manager at the charity, discusses the importance of activity sessions.
At Lincolnshire House, whilst, undertaking large group activities such as music sessions, quizzes, discussion groups, popular games and sports, we also work in smaller groups on more specialized activities, where the carer has more time to interact and assist each individual taking part. This leads to a more rewarding and meaningful experience for the individual.
Arts and Crafts is very popular, but while some individuals enjoy activities such as basic painting or colouring pictures, others take part in more skillful endeavours such as clay –moulding, jewellery-making, card –making etc. and using all sorts of materials to produce items which can then be sold at Fairs to raise valuable funds. This again gives the individuals a sense of pride, achievement and the satisfaction of knowing that they are contributing to their own community in Lincolnshire House.
A lot of individuals have learning difficulties, and as well having an Adult Education class on a Wednesday morning, we also undertake our own literacy, numeracy and life-skills classes, developing or maintaining writing abilities, dealing with weights and measures, telling the time, handling money etc, as well as such skills as meal preparation. In order to obtain funding these days to undertake Adult Education in terms of literacy and numeracy, individuals have to be able to work towards at least a basic level certificate. This means, that anyone unable to achieve this can be left with no ongoing educational programme, with the result that not only have they no opportunity to develop their skills, but they are also at risk of losing what skills they already have. Therefore, educational activities are very important and beneficial.
Physical exercise is very important, especially for individuals who spend all their day sitting in a wheelchair. Gentle limb, neck and shoulder exercises not only help to maintain mobility and muscle tone, but can also provide an enjoyable group activity when such things as balls and a ‘parachute’ are added. We will be investing in a trampoline in the near future, to extend our physical therapy range. We also take groups out swimming, with the exercise benefits which come along with that.
Technology has made great strides in terms of equipment for the disabled, and apart from ordinary computers, we have purchased a system called ‘My Life’ which allows individuals to play interactive games, view various reminiscence material and create their own reminiscence scrapbook, as well as write about their own life history including uploading their own photographs into the on-screen ‘Life Book’.
We are also in the process of purchasing an ‘Imuse’, which is an extremely innovative audio –visual interactive sensory system, providing a very entertaining and relaxing experience. It allows individuals to watch and interact with a computer generated visual display whilst listening to music and ‘feeling’ the music vibrating from a sound box in the floor.
It is important to provide a wide variety of activities to suit all tastes and abilities, so such things as Ten Pin Bowling, New Age Kurling, Drama, Reiki and Reflexology, Archery, Gardening, Flower Arranging and even Power Chair Football play an important role in the lives of our Cerebral Palsy service users. Some of these activities taking place out in the community where they have regular opportunities to interact with other individuals both able -bodied and disabled.
A comprehensive activity programme is a vital tool in enhancing the lives of individuals with Cerebral Palsy and similar disabilities. As I’ve said before, it instills a sense of achievement and pride when they undertake these activities, as well as giving families a sense of pride in what their relatives are achieving. It raises topics of conversation when the families get together, and displays to the wider community, the abilities which individuals have but all too often go unrecognized, ignored or disbelieved.
The importance of activity whether someone is able bodied or with mobility issue can not be doubted and the benefits are well documented. If you are looking for residential or respite care do not forget to ask for details about the activities on offer at the earliest opportunity or you may miss out on some healthy fun.
Images Courtesy of Lincolnshire House