Ipads and disability

Ipads will be on many children’s Christmas list this year mainly because of advertised hype and the perceived ‘cool factor’ of possessing the latest Apple product.    It will keep children amused for a certain amount of time but depending on the apps installed, they will likely gravitate back to their laptop.

But for some children – and adults – the iPad could prove invaluable. Read this article which appeared in the New York Times about Owen Cain who has had motor neurone disease from infancy.  His parents say he is a normal boy trapped in a abnormal body.  “We have spent all this time keeping him alive, and now we owe him more than that,” said his mother, Ellen Goldstein, “I see his ability to communicate and to learn as a big part of that challenge — not all of it, but a big part of it.

The iPad has been a tremendous breakthrough and opens up endless possibilities.  So many of it’s features ideally suit those who have limited movements, hearing and sight.  Owen can have his arm hoisted into a position which allows him, with the lightest of touches, to read a book by flicking over the pages.  He even typed up, ” I want to be Han Solo for Hallowe’en” using the onscreen keyboard.

Read the story, watch the video.  It’s made me think, wonder, cry and plan.

Moving and Handling Courses

Well we’re off! It’s good to report that East Lothian’s four Moving and Handling Tutors (Handling People with Special Needs, Education) have recently led their first course and the feedback has been very positive! The six willing participants on this first course were great to work with and there was plenty of laughter all round!

In October four staff from East Lothian and a further 3 from Midlothian qualified as Manual Handling Tutors with a view to delivering training within schools throughout our respective local authorities. Both authorities had identified the need to have qualified ‘in-house’ tutors who could offer this essential training to relevant staff on a regular basis.

The course is designed to cover all aspects of theoretical and practical aspects of handling clients in line with Manual Handling policy. Training covers a variety of modules including Safe Load Management, Legal Requirements, Spinal Awareness, Safety Checkpoints, Risk Assessment and Looking After Yourself as well as practical work and the use of aids and equipment. High quality resources, DVDs and teaching materials enable us offer interesting and dynamic courses.

As well as the generic 6 hour training delivered over two Friday afternoons, sessions can also be tailored to individuual schools or partcular clients. These courses will be in the new CPD brochure and particular requirements should be discussed with the Staff Development Team

MOVE in East Lothian

The East Lothian MOVE programme got an excellent write-up in the latest edition of TESS (page 14 of the Feb 8th issue). This followed on from a very successful publicity and celebration event last September which was attended, and enjoyed, by staff pupils and parents from East and Mid Lothian.

MOVE is an actvity based programme which helps young people with disabilities develop  the skills of sitting standing and walking so that they can become more independent.  The TESS article focuses on one pupil in one school but acknowledges that MOVE is  in place in other schools and that a number of staff are involved. The success of the programme in this authority is down to the hard work and dedication of all the staff, parents and pupils who have been involved. We are one of the few authorities in the UK who are using MOVE (but the number is growing) and it is great to see the efforts of everyone involved being recognised and acknowledged. 

 The MOVE programme is another area where East Lothian is in the forefront of developing innovative, inclusive  practice which supports young people to develop their potential.

If you are interested in finding out more about MOVE go to www.move-europe.org.uk . If you want to be involved in developing the skills to work with pupils on the  MOVE programme we will be organising training events later this year. You can contact me at lherd@eastlothian.gov.uk if you would like more information about the training or MOVE in general.

Liz Herd

Inclusion and Equality Officer