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Whole Child Therapy Newsletter November 2016

Bringing together Families and Whole Child Therapy from Pregnancy to Adulthood

In this issue:

  • Bringing out the inner child with David Hindley
  • Events and News - Ear Foundation, RNIB, Peek Vision
  • Christmas Fair at the Forum with the WCT Elves
  • Enjoy our Nutritional Therapist's delicious Peacan & Orange Brownies
  • Plus, a guest feature - SeeAbility and 'Getting Glasses On'

Bringing out the inner child with David Hindley

The brilliant David Hindley visited WCT for a photo shoot. A huge thank you to him for capturing the play, fun and the warmth of the WCT world. From the sensory adventures, to movement, play and pure joy. The stunning photos provide a window into how children and families experience WCT.

We couldn't have done it without our wonderful families and team that came for the shoot, a huge to thank you to you all. Nerys we loved your pop up hair salon and super curly wavey styling! Is there no end to your talents!

Here are just a few of these special photos, that we will share with you over the coming months. I'm sure they will evoke a WCT memory of your own.

Events and News

It's been a busy month at WCT with Nerys providing a keynote speech for the Ear Foundation at their State of the Art Event, workshops for RNIB and the launch "Getting Glasses On" with SeeAbility. Not forgetting our brilliant team in schools that delivered 292 school days since the beginning of this term.

Ear Foundation: The State of the Art 2016: Implantable Devices - Making Decisions Together

Nerys was invited to speak at The State of the Art event for the Ear Foundation on:

Technology right - what else? SI impacts on non-compliance

Nerys explored the impact of sensory processing and developmental disruption, and how this affects children who wear hearing aids. In recent years, research has highlighted that for children experiencing sensory deprivation or disruption, the whole sensory system can be impacted.

As we begin to further explore the human brain and its relationship with the environment through the senses, we are discovering that the senses do not work in isolation but are in fact connected in multiple ways.

For parents with a hearing impaired child, this may impact on many areas of the child's development, most significantly their brain's ability to adapt and organise in response to sensory stimuli.

More from the Ear Foundation on this event

RNIB workshops: "Fight and flight to comfy and calm"

Nerys delivered the first of her workshops for the RNIB around the country. The workshop supports teachers and professionals with an interest in children and young people with vision impairment and complex needs.

This workshop equips participants with understanding and strategies to address the following issues:

  • helping children to engage in their learning
  • understanding sensory processing difficulties
  • tolerance of wearing glasses or eye patches
  • tolerance of clinical and functional eye assessments
  • considering the sensory learning environment
  • managing self-stimulation and self-harming such as eye poking.

Next workshop: Thursday, 12th January 2017 in London

Congratulations to the visionary Andrew Bastawrous from Peek Vision on winning the Rolex Award for Enterprise. Opening our eyes to how you can enable eyecare for all using smartphone technology. View here the Peek Vision story

Watch this space, WCT is to begin using Peek Acuity for vision testing. Here is Jenna having a go.

Guest feature - "Getting Glasses On"

Our network is broad and wide, that's how we collaborate, share knowledge and innovate. We launched the research and development stage of "Getting Glasses On" this month for SeeAbility. Here they provide an insight into this project and the challenges in providing appropriate, effective eye care to children with additional needs.

An Introduction to SeeAbility and the background to "Getting Glasses On"

The Problem

Children who attend special schools are 28 times more likely to have a problem with their eyes or vision than their peers. SeeAbility is a charity (formerly Royal London School for the Blind), which has been for many years providing residential services for adults with learning disabilities and sight loss. Many of the adults we work with have missed out on basic eye care in childhood, and this has had a detrimental effect on their vision in adult life. We have found that 40% of children who attend special school have no reported history of any previous eye care. Missing out on wearing the glasses you need in childhood frequently limits your visual potential, as well as the obvious social and educational implications of unfocussed vision.

The number one cause of visual impairment worldwide is not having the right pair of glasses. To explore this inequality, SeeAbility have been providing school based eye care to children in the secure environment of their special school since 2013, as well as campaigning to make this a properly funded service available to all children who attend special school across England . We have found that 38% of children attending special schools need glasses and that they also often need stronger glasses than their peers. As part of our work, we have been providing eye tests, glasses and repairs in school as well as providing information and support to teachers and parents/carers so that they can help children get used to their glasses. Even with these efforts, we continue to find children are often struggling to get used to wearing their glasses despite the huge improvement the glasses should make to how clearly they see the world.

How SeeAbility met Nerys

Nerys came to talk to SeeAbility's team of therapists and support workers as part of a training day. She has a wonderful, and clearly deeply empathetic, way of getting across how overwhelming sensory stimulation can be for a child with a sensory processing disorder. Glasses completely alter the visual information a child has to process - this can be a challenge in the absence of a sensory processing disorder. When a child has a sensory processing disorder, glasses may be giving them better focussed vision but they must also make it very difficult for them to make sense of their visual world when it is suddenly so hugely altered! We have known from our work with adults too that getting used to glasses and a change in visual 'input' can be a big challenge for many.

An overview of the "Getting Glasses On" project

We asked Whole Child Therapy to work with us to develop some occupational therapy strategies - initially for six children who attend the Village School, a special school in Brent, who have been struggling to get used to wearing glasses despite the encouragement of teachers and parents. From working in collaboration with these individual children, we hope to gain some insight into how we can assist children in getting used to the glasses that would make their vision clearer and hope to develop some strategies that can be used by dispensing opticians and teaching staff. We are very excited to be collaborating across the professions of occupational therapy, optometry, orthoptics and dispensing optics to learn from each other to support children with sensory processing disorders get used to glasses that will make their visual world clearer.

Open Evening

Thank you to everyone who came to our open evening. It was a chance for our multi-disciplinary team to get together and chat with our lovely families. The prosecco flowed and the Tea's brownies were amazing, a guilt free guilty pleasure!

Make your own amazing Pecan and Orange Brownies

Peacan & Orange Brownies

Free from processed sugar, gluten and lactose

When I was a child, this used to be my favourite cake. I still get excited at the thought of biting into an indulgent combination of chocolate and coconut, so satisfying and completely addictive. I think these luscious squares are even better cold, when the chocolate penetrates the sponge, settles, and becomes firm but slightly sticky. Inside, they should remain moist but dense, with a good bite. It's a sweet heaven.

I hope I have done my Mum justice and made them taste as good gluten, sugar and lactose free.

(Makes a tray roughly A4 size, about 15 squares)

For the sponge:

  • 1 cup of ground almonds
  • 1 cup of oat (GF) flour (made by grounding oats to fine flour texture)
  • 1 cup cacao powder
  • 1 and a half cup of coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup of of melted coconut butter
  • 10 dates (pitted)
  • 1/2 cup of melted cacao butter
  • 1/2 cup of juice (from one orange)
  • 1 cup of pecans

  1. Blend the first set of ingredients in a high speed blender. Add the second set and pulse, You don't want to over blend the pecans as they will separate into solid and oil
  2. Line a baking tray with cling film and press the mixture down well
  3. Roughly chop some walnuts or pecans and sprinkle on top together with the zest of the same orange which juice was used in the recipe.
  4. Freeze for 30 minutes
  5. Take out and chop into squares

All I want for Christmas...The WCT elves love:

Moh Doh

fun, aromatherapy, tactile and colourful play putty. With six different MohDohs to choose from you'll find the perfect one for you. Available to buy at the clinic and, at £4.99, these make the perfect stocking filler.

Upcoming event - December at the Forum

Join us for some Christmas Arts and Crafting with our Elves

Make some tasty Christmas Treats, get ready for Rudolph with some reindeer food, twinkle with some Icicle creations, create your own unique decorated cone.

And that's all folks!