Donate nowNew sensory equipment to boost early years therapy sessions

The Early Years Therapy team cares for children aged 0-5 years with a physical disability, many of whom also have sensory impairments such as being blind or deaf. The team supports children and their families across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland with clinics located in the city and in the north and south of the county. When children are too poorly to attend a clinic they may be seen at home.

The focus of this appeal is to fund sensory equipment which members of the physiotherapy team feel will have the greatest impact on the therapy sessions they provide to local children and their families. They have chosen items which are over and above what is possible within NHS budgets. A full list of items, suppliers and costs is found here.  The total value of the fundraising appeal is £5,600.

 

Therapeutic aims

For this group of children, their therapy needs will be lifelong. The main aim of therapy is to improve gross and fine motor function. Our therapists work with children who have a vast range of abilities. Some may be working towards being able to use a powered or self-propelled chair. For children who have more complex disabilities, the most important aim is staying straight, and being able to sit straight will have an impact on digestion and respiratory function as the child grows up, obviously affecting their long term health. Working on head control and being able to maintain a symmetrical and upright position is vital to interaction with others, assisting eye contact, communication and hand function, enabling the child to gain function which can increase their play and pleasure they get from the world around them.

The benefits of sensory equipment and toys

Children learn about the world around them through play. Therapy will have best effect when it becomes part of every day life and playtime rather than being a set of exercises which are only done in clinic or when the physio visits. Families can often learn a lot about their child’s needs through use of specialist toys. This will allow them to use toys that are more appropriate to the child’s level of cognition, communication and physical ability. For example, using a simple interactive touch toy gives children a way to play and enjoy their therapy, no matter how profound their difficulties.  They can also encourage learning, improve relaxation, and communication. A report by the charity New Life states that:

  • 87% of families report that specialist toys improved relationships
    82% of parents had a better understanding of their child’s needs (as a result of the toys)
    77% enjoyed quality time as a family though play with appropriate toys

The kit our team currently has access to is limited – there have been so many developments in the resources available and we haven’t had the funding to keep pace.

This appeal will allow therapists to demonstrate the equipment in real life, to stimulate children and give families the confidence to try new equipment and integrate it into everyday life, maximising the therapeutic benefits.

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Fundraising so far

Grants

We were delighted to receive a grant of £2,000 from the Norman C Ashton Trust towards our appeal. 

 

Bake Sale

The Early Years Therapy Team will be channeling their inner Mary Berry on Thursday 7 March as they cook up a storm selling delicious goodies to staff at Trust HQ. All funds raised from the sale will support this appeal - doing good never tasted so good!