Everyday activities that we take for granted can be much, much harder for a mum or dad of a disabled child.
Shopping is just one example. Going to the shops can present a range of basic practical challenges for a child if they use a wheelchair or walker. For a child with sensory processing difficulties the whole experience can be unsettling, even frightening.
A child with sensory processing difficulties may be oversensitive or undersensitive to the world around them. They may have an extreme response to loud noises or bright lights, they may dislike being touched or have a constant need to touch people or things even when it’s not appropriate.
Shoppers and shop staff can often lack the knowledge to be patient and sympathetic when they see a disabled child behaving differently from what they’re used to.
So, for the child and their family, getting out and about can become a physical and emotional obstacle course. Something to avoid.
That’s why we provide Learning for Living at CPotential and Woodstar School.
How does Learning for Living help the children we work with?
At CPotential we take everyday experiences and break them down into small, manageable components that the children can learn and get used to, so they are well prepared and able to cope. We call this Learning for Living.
We plan this process over a number of weeks, involving the children in every step of the process and rehearsing it, so that they understand and feel comfortable when they undertake the activity.
We take the children out to different places – shops, libraries, parks, woods, museums – as well as learning everyday skills in school from washing up to finding out bus schedules. They get to do and make things that form a part of everyday life. It’s a vital way to help each child practise the skills they’re learning in their lessons and sessions in real-life situations and build up their confidence.
The process also helps develop problem-solving and logical thinking skills, which help the child to be as independent as possible in all areas of life.
How you can help
Your donation will enable us to keep giving our pupils the chance to learn about and experience life – just like other children do.
Learning for Living in action
As part of their lessons about Healthy Eating, the children made hummus. First, they discussed what ingredients they needed, learning about their sizes, shapes and properties such as flavours, and made a list. They planned and rehearsed their journey to the shop, interacting with people to find the ingredients and paying for them. One the day of the trip they went to a local shop with their teachers. They found the items on the shelves and paid for them. Then they came back to school and made the hummus.
A simple shopping trip, which provided lots of real-life Learning for Living.