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.”

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