Sam’s MOVE Story: building core strength

Sam is a student at Alfreton Park Community Special School in Derbyshire, a MOVE Centre of Excellence. Here, his mum Carol tells us what the MOVE Programme has enabled Sam to do:

“Sam is 18 and has been using MOVE for 3 or 4 years. He has semi-lobar holoprosencephaly and diplegic cerebral palsy. He is a full-time wheelchair user (unable to weight bear), has left side weakness and requires thorasic support, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting to see and do things. He enjoys ‘people watching’, loud music, shopping and interacting with adults.

Since starting MOVE, Sam has increased upper body strength in both his arms and torso. This has enabled him to transfer himself from different seats without the use of transfer boards and hoists—he likes the fact that he can self-transfer and it’s been a real bonus for us! His torso strength has also enabled him to sit up straight for long periods, which helps his concentration and digestion.

Sam’s general well being is much better since being on MOVE. He is stronger and more willing to try things out of his comfort zone. The moment that stood out to me the most during his time on the MOVE Programme so far is when he went canoeing at the Calvert Trust 2 years ago. I was worried and told staff that he wouldn’t be able to sit without support, but he did it for about 40 minutes without thorasic or back support!

I would recommend the MOVE Programme to other families because it’s fun and involves creating a specific plan for your child. Sam has benefitted a lot from using MOVE—he loves it because it is always fun and never a chore!”

He has also been building his skills using a Rifton Tram to move independently and access activities with his friends:

Want to know how the MOVE Programme could enable your students to achieve their goals just like Sam?

Ruby Rose’s MOVE Story: building confidence

Ruby Rose is a pupil at Shenstone School in Kent, a MOVE Centre of Excellence. Here, her teacher Judit tells us the amazing progress she has made on the MOVE Programme:

“Ruby Rose joined Shenstone School at nursery level in September 2015 and started the MOVE Programme in November 2016. She would arrive to school and travel home using her wheelchair, and she needed a walking frame to walk. Due to having CHARGE Syndrome and Di George Syndrome, Ruby Rose also has medical needs.

Involving family

When Ruby Rose’s mum was first introduced to the programme, she wasn’t sure about it, but after we gave her some information and asked her to think about a meaningful goal for Ruby Rose, she decided it was worth a try! We invited Mum in for a meeting to talk with the physiotherapist, class teacher, class key worker, and MOVE Lead about the skills Ruby Rose already had and what new skills we could support her to develop.

Mum brought Ruby Rose to school on the train or bus, so she said it would be useful if Ruby Rose could walk to school rather than use her wheelchair and if she could climb the steps to get on and off the train and the bus. We went through the assessment process with Mum and decided together that Ruby Rose’s first goal would be to be able to get on and off the bus independently.

Growing her confidence

The first critical skill we worked on was to be able to walk 1 meter holding a flexible strap. Ruby Rose would rely on the strap at first to help her to walk since she was not always very steady. We chose 2 key opportunities for her to practice this skill: taking the morning and afternoon registers back to the school office at the other end of school; and collecting her milk feed from the medical room and walking back to class. With these repeated opportunities every day Ruby grew more confident and steadier in her walking. She also got so strong that she could carry her feed on her back while walking!

Taking her first independent steps

When Ruby Rose was fully confident walking with the strap, we moved onto the next step, walking without it! We encouraged her to walk small distances in class without holding onto anything. She would walk from her Heathfield chair to a table with a fun activity on it, which motivated her to take those independent steps. Over time we built up the distance between classroom furniture so she could walk even further.

One day we decided to measure 7 meters in the playground and, with Mum’s help, encouraged Ruby Rose to walk independently from one person to another. The first length needed lots of encouragement as she was a bit unsteady, but every time she did it, she got more confident and needed less encouragement from us! She was then able to transfer this skill to her jobs in school, walking independently up and down the corridor to the school office to take the register back, and even leaving her wheelchair at the front door of the school and walking down to class.

Only going up

Once Ruby Rose had mastered walking, we introduced the stairs. At first, we started with an obstacle course where she stepped up and down on low steps/boxes, and then began to use both the rigid and soft steps in the soft play room. Ruby Rose practiced this daily as we have plenty of opportunities throughout the week for pupils to use soft play (at least twice a week for lessons and twice a week for a lunchtime play). Ruby Rose has now graduated from the MOVE Programme and continues to transfer her amazing skills into new situations and environments!

Mum is thrilled by how well Ruby Rose is doing at home and at school. Ruby Rose is starting to walk to the station from home with very little support, and Mum even said that on one occasion when she had collected Ruby Rose from school, she walked up the steep hill from the school to the train station!

“I’m glad I agreed to start Ruby on the MOVE programme. She is a strong-willed girl who doesn’t believe in ‘can’t’. Ruby is much happier and more confident now that she has more independence, and she can enjoy playing with her brother. I would definitely recommend MOVE to other families.”

Want to find out how your school can facilitate amazing progress just like Ruby Rose’s?

Liyla’s MOVE story: making progress

Liyla is a pupil at Ivel Valley School in Bedfordshire, a MOVE Quality Mark accredited school. Here, her mum Kaysey tells us the difference the MOVE Programme has made to their lives:

“Liyla started using the MOVE Programme in 2017. Before starting MOVE Liyla had little mobility. She couldn’t stand without support and she couldn’t walk at all, so she used to crawl from place to place.

Since starting MOVE, Liyla’s mobility has improved so much! We worked towards standing with no support, then moved onto supported walking, and finally to walking independently and going up and down steps! This has massively improved our life at home because Liyla has the independence to walk around our house, her school and the local park freely. She has also learned how to open and shut doors so she can go where she wants to.

I have also seen a massive social interaction change with Liyla. Before starting MOVE she didn’t like to interact much with others. Now that she is up at the same level as the people around her, she loves being social! Because she is interacting more her communication has improved too.

The moment that stood out to me the most was definitely Liyla’s walking. She started off without much confidence, but the more she did MOVE, the more confident she got and then one day she just started walking! It still amazes me to this day.

I can’t believe how much the MOVE Programme has changed my daughter’s life and our family life. Liyla has come so far thanks to this amazing programme. We can’t be any more thankful.”

Want to know how your students could make amazing progress just like Liyla?

Ben’s MOVE story: exceeding expectations

Ben is a pupil at Wyvern Academy in Dorset, a MOVE Centre of Excellence. Here, his teacher Sue tells us the amazing progress Ben has made on the MOVE Programme:

“When Ben joined the MOVE Programme in December 2013, he required a significant level of support, needing help to sit, stand and transfer. Due to his complex medical needs, Ben also required a high level of medical support. In the past, Ben’s health varied from good to very poor and his movement was limited, always facilitated by the adults around him. Key professionals had placed low expectations on Ben’s potential for development.

When his mum was introduced to the MOVE Programme, it gave the family hope. Working on positive goals set by his family, Ben’s teacher and wider school staff provided him with regular opportunity to practise and acquire important functional skills linked to his goals. MOVE’s collaborative approach has enhanced Ben’s physical progress because he can practise every day with every member of his core team, including the physiotherapist”

Sitting skills

Before starting on MOVE, Ben required multiple supports when sitting, but now he has generalised his sitting skills and is now able to sit stably in different environments.

During circle time, Ben used to sit in his wheelchair supported by a chest harness and pelvic lap strap, which meant that he was at a different height to his peers. He can now sit independently on a therapy bench during circle time, which allows him to interact with other children while he learns. Ben has also developed his movement while sitting and can reach forward to grasp objects, which has helped him develop his play skills because he can reach for toys he wants instead of relying on others to pass them to him.

Alongside these social skills, Ben has developed more physical strength and he is now able to bring himself from lying down to sitting up. He is continuing to build his sitting skills by learning to sit independently on the changing table, which will mean that he can help his parents to dress and undress him. This will give him more independence and reduce pressure on his parents.

Standing and walking skills

MOVE has enabled Ben to learn skills no one would have thought he could. Ben can now walk with his walker. He can manoeuvre his walker really well and has also learnt some very good techniques for turning and reversing. Getting around independently means he can make choices about where he wants to go and who he wants to interact with. This has made a huge difference to his social interactions because it enables to him approach the other pupils to play instead of sitting and waiting for them to come to him. Ben’s inquisitive nature has been brought out by this new-found independence – he loves using his walker to explore the school and visit his friends in different classes.

Ben is currently working on independent standing using a solid table support, which allows him to be more functional and use his hands to complete learning activities. Class staff have noticed that is more engaged with activities when he is in a standing position than when sitting in his chair, so he is really motivated to stand independently. He enjoys standing at the worktable to join in with group activities such as art. 

Helping family

Ben’s ability to sit, stand and walk also have a beneficial impact on family. His mum is thrilled by his progress on the programme:

“MOVE has improved our home life immensely, Ben is now able to move around the house in his walker with purpose and independence, which has been lovely to see. The first time Ben got himself up into a sitting position and was able to maintain this was a real WOW moment. It has meant that Ben can finally sit on the floor and play with his younger brother! MOVE has given him a better and more functional life and has opened up so many possibilities for him.”

Ben’s family are very much part of the MOVE team, practising his skills with him at home. His parents are working on Ben sitting on the edge of his bed to help with his early morning routine of medical needs, personal care and dressing. MOVE puts families first, which is a great feature of the programme.

Ben has excelled on the MOVE Programme. He has been very responsive, seizing every opportunity to experience movement, learn valuable skills and become more independent and confident. Everyone at Wyvern Academy is so proud of his determination and motivation to reach his full potential.”

Want to know how your students could make amazing progress just like Ben?

Ibrahim’s MOVE Story: becoming independent

Ibrahim is a student at Cherry Garden School in London, a MOVE Centre of Excellence. Since starting the MOVE Programme he has made excellent progress and can now walk independently! You can see his whole journey in this fantastic video from Cherry Garden:

Since this video was created, Ibrahim spent 12 months at home over due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was not able to weight bear at all due to his splints not fitting properly. This meant he lost the ability to stand and walk. However, since coming back to school in March 2021, he has regained his standing and walking skills, and has even starting cartwheeling in the playground! 

“[Ibrahim] has already made fantastic progress since returning to school and starting his MOVE programme again…Now more than ever, MOVE is an essential part of our curriculum” – Senior Teacher, Cherry Garden School, London

Want to know how your students could make amazing progress just like Ibrahim?

Olivia’s MOVE Story: improving wellbeing

Olivia is a pupil at Ivy House School in Derby, a MOVE Centre of Excellence, and has been on the MOVE Programme since September 2017. Here, her mum Nicola explains the difference that MOVE has made to Olivia’s life:

“When Olivia first started on the MOVE Programme she crawled everywhere, and would only very occasionally pull herself up to stand. I always thought she was happy as she was, but it’s not until now that she has lots more independence that she seems so much happier.

Today, Olivia can walk unaided for short spurts, and walks quite comfortably holding someone’s hand. When Olivia started at Ivy House, she couldn’t sit on a normal chair unaided, and now she can sit on it and get on and off by herself!

Olivia is becoming so much more confident with other people, and gives good eye contact now which previously she did not do often. I remember when she started school, I had a meeting with Lisa, the school physiotherapist, and I told her I would love Olivia to be able to walk on a beach with me – something I wasn’t sure she would ever do, but she can do it now!

The MOVE Programme has improved our home life. Olivia can crawl upstairs now, which is amazing, as she is quite heavy and my back suffered for carrying her so much before. The MOVE Programme has given us the opportunity to see our wonderful daughter blossom, not only physically but emotionally too. Olivia is an all round happier little girl. We are very proud of her and how far she has come over such a short period of time.”

Want to know how your students could make amazing progress just like Olivia?


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