Care Management Group (CMG), a leading provider of residential care, supported living services and domiciliary care for people with learning disabilities in England, has hosted a unique Supportive Therapies event which is designed specifically for people living with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD). The aim of the day is to stimulate interest, broaden opportunities and enhance social and emotional wellbeing.
There was a sensory art corner, with many activities which stimulated different senses. The service users had the opportunity to experiment with ice balloons, ‘cornflour mayhem’ and ‘fluffy slime’, as well as fly swatting and water pistol painting which provided great entertainment and messy, creative fun. Art therapies were also used in helping individuals to express themselves non-verbally, alongside increasing self-confidence and improving mental well-being. Art activities also help to develop pre-communication skills, enabling individuals to enjoy valuable relationships with those around them.
As part of the day, an uplifting sensory allegory was performed, around the story of a Bear Spirit Animal who, in Native American culture, symbolises courage, confidence and a grounding energy to those he meets. The professional re-enactment of the story evoked the imagination, with flutes, drums and dancing, proving to be a rich sensory experience. The service users also had the opportunity to make their own feathered headdresses and drums, so that they were able to participate in the production themselves.
A range of wildlife usually found in Africa also paid a special visit to the Supportive Therapies Day, from a pygmy hedgehog and a hissing cockroach, to a lizard and a royal python. The session saw many of the service users thrive, first entering the room with an air of caution and leaving with a real sense of accomplishment after holding the animals. Henry the horse also made an appearance in the afternoon, and was lavished with attention, love and carrots.
Many of the service users tried out the hydrotherapy pool at CMG’s Lilliputs site, which allows freedom from restrictive seating for those with little or no voluntary movement, relieving muscle spasms, easing any pains and increasing joint mobility.
The special day was rounded off with a disco and the infamous ‘Pimp My Chair’ challenge, which encourages individuals to get creative by pimping their wheelchairs. Service user JS was crowned the champion of the competition this year, who converted his chair into a yellow vintage plane, which even had its own rotating propeller.
Not only was the day hugely enjoyable and inspirational for everyone involved, it is also integral to inspiring staff steams to enrich day-to-day activities with the importance of encompassing sensory experiences, enhancing social interaction and ensuring life experiences are accessible and inclusive.
Peter Kinsey, Chief Executive of Care Management Group (CMG) said:
“Year on year, our Supportive Therapies Day provides the individuals we support with the invaluable opportunity to have access to a whole range of brilliant, accessible, sensory activities which helps them to interact, develop their skills and to enhance their life experiences. It was certainly obvious from the smiles, giggles and interaction of the people we support, that this was achieved. A huge thank you to the dedicated team at CMG who have been integral in making the day such a success for our service users, as well as our special guests!”
A relative of a CMG service user who attended the day, commented:
“It was a brilliant day. My son really responded to the crayon art and enjoyed using the switch to operate the hairdryer to melt the wax. He loved seeing and feeling the animals and was very impressed with the disco and the pimp my chair competition. Thank you.”
Keisha Rowe, Team Leader, CMG, said:
“This was my first experience at the Supportive Therapies Day, it was a wonderful experience, particularly seeing how the staff supported and interacted with people they support. It brought tears to my eyes. Just looking at the passion that they have for their work and how they got people involved. The Pimp my Ride Competition was out of this world, what a wonderful experience”.
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