Friends Day Centre's class room operations are run in conjunction with the help of the Western Cape Educational Department, CSPID (Children with Severe to Profound Intellectual Disabilities) team. Daily programmes are set out by the team and followed through by our Programme Implementers and Classroom Carers.
There are six CSPID outreach teams in the Western Cape, working across all of the districts in the province. These trans-disciplinary teams consist of professionals each focusing on a special aspect of care and support to special care centres, while monitoring and implementing the national learning programme introduced by the Department of Basic Education, and supporting learners’ education development.
The educational psychologists focuses on the emotional and psychological well-being of the entire centre community (the child, parents, guardians, neighbourhood and benefactors). They co-ordinate and conduct assessments, referral processes, placement of children in appropriate settings, and ongoing support. They are also involved in the development of caring-for-the-carer programmes as well as support and advice for centre managers in governance issues.
The learning support educator supports the caregiver with developing and implementing a structured daily schedule. In collaboration with the team therapists, integrated and holistic education stimulation programmes are developed according to specific needs. the programmes consist of different useful and practical activities that contribute to the development of appropriate skills such as communication skills (talking and understanding), social and emotional skills (feelings and behaviour), as well as movement and muscle development.
The physiotherapist aims at helping and treating people with physical problems caused by birth, illness or accident. They are well placed to focus on positioning and mobility of all children in the special care centres. They work with children and their family/caregivers to improve mobility, functional ability and quality of life for the children and their families. Physiotherapists are particularly concerned about positioning, to encourage function and to assist in preventing and minimising deformities. They advise on appropriate assistive devices such as adaptive seating, wheelchairs, buggies, and splints.
The occupational therapist focuses on a holistic approach to functional play. If a child cannot play, they cannot learn! The OT adapts the environment to help children with physical and cognitive disabilities to play, so that they can learn through play. If children do not have the skills to play by themselves, parents and caregivers are taught how to play with these children. These skills can then be carried over to skills such as dressing, feeding and social skills, which all contribute to an educational plan.
The speech-language therapist focuses on communication and feeding. Communication includes the abilities to understand and express oneself in order to interact with people in the environment. The speech-language therapist will assist with developing ways to help children to understand and express themselves better. With regard to feeding, the speech-language therapist can assist with positioning a child correctly for feeding, choosing the types of food the child can safely manage to eat, and determining how they can best be fed.
The speech therapist collaborates with the programme implementers and carers to implement developmentally appropriate classroom activities within the daily class programme that encourage language and communication skills. There is also a dedicated speech therapy room to conduct individual sessions for learners using aac (augmentative and alternative communication) as well as to address the specific speech and language delays of learners who are able to speak.
The sensory room is a quiet space to relax with soft music, coloured lighting and temperature controlled air conditioning. Different textures can be felt on the sensory wall for Sensory integration. Children are brought into the sensory room for relaxation time.
The calming and stimulating benefits of gardening shouldn’t be underrated. As just having an outside space that children can go to does wonders for their mind, body and spirit. It’s no secret being out in the great outdoors is good for your health, but it also has significant benefits for children with developmental conditions. The sensory garden is a calm space where they can freely explore their senses without becoming overwhelmed.
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