Plenty of learning and fun during Good Posture Week 2020
Good Posture Week is a week-long event led by our Therapy teams, where therapists are taken off of their normal timetables to run lessons, activities and training on the importance of good posture for our students.
The week included teaching sessions in classrooms, training for student support assistant staff (SSAs) and even a fun selfie-station for students to wear props that demonstrate good and bad posture. Each activity is linked to key messages throughout the week. This year, the primary focus of Good Posture Week was “good posture when I am out of my wheelchair”.
On Monday, the therapy team taught students about the importance of good posture, and the impact it can have on their ability to do things. Good posture for our students can be the difference between being able to use their switch or not, as well as enabling them to talk more clearly or use their AAC devices.
Tuesday was a busy training day for our SSAs who were taught some top tips for good positioning, as well as learning about the skills our staff has that enable students to advocate for their postural needs. They also learned more about particular equipment that is used to aid students posture. Students were also given updated versions of their Good Posture Passports and Posters. These are great tools for students to refer staff to as they contain guidance to aid correct positioning.
The SLT (Speech and Language Therapists) team also worked hard to develop a series of Equipment Information Books regarding different pieces of posture management equipment, such as knee blocks, sleep systems, standing frames and Lycra suits. Information was presented at 3 differing levels to maximally suit the needs of our broad range of students.
Students have found these incredibly useful in helping them to understand why they might be recommended to use a particular piece of equipment and more importantly, what to do if they have a problem with it. The information packs will shortly be shared to the residential houses and classrooms to enable staff to make routine reference to. This is particularly important to develop students’ skills to make more informed decisions about their posture management equipment.
On Wednesday, therapy staff reviewed students’ sleep systems to ensure they are working as well as they can to protect and correct student posture during the night. This avoids skeletal changes, pressure areas and pain. A student’s position during the night will have a direct impact on day-time posture.
That afternoon, it was time to get musical as our Director of Music Jocelyn Watkins and her team made an amazing song called “This Body of Mine” to the tune of “This Little Light of Mine”. Students were encouraged to point to the favourite parts of their bodies, developing their understanding and vocabulary for naming body parts which helps them to communicate when they are in pain or uncomfortable.
Thursday’s focus was all about students being able to advocate for what they need in order to successfully manage their posture. In classrooms, therapy staff showed roleplay scenarios for students to think about and practice how to speak up clearly for their postural needs. Some students were supported to learn about the different parts and names of pieces of their equipment through a fun game of “Chair Hunt” by looking for all the parts needed to build a wheelchair.
On Friday, therapists reviewed the classroom equipment that our students use to learn. This is important to maximise opportunities for learning, communication and to minimise any issues or disruption to a student’s education. An afternoon assembly rounded off the week, featuring a competitive quiz which tested students’ knowledge of what they learned throughout the week.
There was plenty of fun to be had during Good Posture Week, and a highlight for students was the “selfie-station” where they could wear props to demonstrate good and bad examples of posture. The great work doesn’t stop here. Some of the therapists are in the process of filming a training session webinar to share with parents and carers, which will be coming soon.
When asked if posture is important, one student summed it up beautifully with “Absolutely! Good posture now will help our bodies stay healthy and strong for the rest of our lives.”
Staff commented on the training provided throughout the week that there were “lots of useful reminders”, “good practical advice” and that it was “good to have a refresher”.
Highly Specialist Occupational Therapist Catherine Morse said of the week:
“Good Posture Week was born from the importance of recognising that posture is essential to our students’ wellbeing and makes a fundamental difference to their everyday life.
It is an opportunity for staff to stay up to date with best practice and equipment, and for students to take responsibility for their posture.”