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.”

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