The Scottish Centre for Children with Motor Impairments (SCCMI) is one of Scotland's Grant Aided Special Schools and provides specialist and high quality integrated therapy and education for children and young people affected by cerebral palsy and similar neurological conditions from all parts of Scotland through a range of specialist and age-appropriate programmes. The various programmes, including nursery/primary, early intervention and periodic placements all benefit from a high ratio of education and therapy staff to enable small group and 1:1 support in most learning contexts. A core component of all SCCMI's programmes is the focus on how each child's specific abilities can be enhanced through the opportunity to receive as much direct therapy as they need, delivered by experienced specialist physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists working collaboratively with education staff, thus enabling the child or young person to achieve their full potential.
It is also the view of SCCMI, that children/YP should be as physically active as is reasonable on a daily basis as the benefits of physical activity are widely known. Some of the benefits include the reduction in risk of the development of secondary musculoskeletal, respiratory and cardiovascular complications associated with cerebral palsy and similar conditions.
Physical activity promotes health and fitness, has a positive impact on confidence and self-esteem and can be enjoyable while improving opportunities for social integration and participation in wider community activities.
One of the ways in which many of the children and young people from across all the SCCMI programmes can gain these benefits are through having opportunities to use tricycles. At SCCMI we are fortunate enough to have long wide corridors as well as many accessible paths winding through the extensive gardens and grounds. Pedalling along these paths on specially adapted tricycles is one of the most enjoyable activities for the children and young people who attend the centre. Whether all wrapped up on a winter day or in light tee-shirts and shorts in the summer, the kids love the opportunity that the tricycle provides to get out and about in something other than their wheelchairs or through the use of their walking aids. The trike provides a sense of security and excitement, allowing them access to all elements of the school curriculum, including health and wellbeing, sciences and expressive arts. Each child is carefully assessed by the physiotherapist and with the expert help of the Theraplay staff, a trike is selected and the adaptations put in place to ensure that each child is getting the necessary postural support that they require as well as any facilitation that they may need to participate as fully as possible. These adaptations may include rear steering handles or callipers or adapted handlebars with or without mittens to assist with grasp. Each child can then enjoy this healthy and inclusive activity with the other children from their class or group and experience all the forthcoming opportunities.
Theraplay would like to thank Allison Phillips from the Craighalbert Centre for her contribution.