Digicel Foundation hands over Mobile Therapy Packs
The Early Stimulation Plus Programme (ESP), under the stewardship of director Antonica Gunter-Gayle, has been transforming the lives of children with disabilities in Jamaica. Through partnership with the Digicel Foundation, the ESP has received 21 Mobile Therapy Packs, equipped with tools to assess and teach students existing outside of formal social and educational systems.
The Mobile Therapy Packs, an innovation of Digicel Foundation and Therapy Plus, will assist the community workers of the ESP to deliver introductory therapeutic and academic techniques to young children who are unable to leave their homes, either due to lack of facilities to accommodate them or because they reside in deeply rural communities.
"These backpacks are everything I would need to give the best interventions to our children. They are very convenient for me while I am travelling to these remote areas. Many of these children have little to no interaction with other children, and human contact is sometimes minimal," said Maureen Crawford-Smith, ESP child development officer.
CONTENTS OF THE PACKS
The Mobile Therapy Packs include magnetic letters and numbers; pop and play inch worms; word match-ups; tracing and writing books; scene picture cards; and a cloth book to teach children to tie laces, button and zip clothing, and identify textures. Future upgrades to these backpacks will see the addition of oral motor cards, whistles and mirrors, unicubes for counting, among other items.
The concept of the Mobile Therapy Packs began after consultations with the ESP team and other stakeholders on how the programme delivery could be enhanced for those children who are considered "shut-ins" and for those that are in deep rural communities.
These Mobile Therapy Packs are part of a broader relationship between the foundation and ESP, following the 2014 construction of classroom facilities at its downtown Kingston location, and the recent completion of an ESP centre in Portland, scheduled to open early in 2016.
Additionally, the recent groundbreaking of the foundation's ninth Centre of Excellence in Montego Bay will bring together two great entities serving the special-needs community - ESP and Jamaica Association on Intellectual Disabilities.
The ESP director was extremely excited about getting into the field to test and teach using the new Mobile Therapy Packs. "These tools are enhancing our capacity to do the work that needs to be done. Going into the field without these Mobile Therapy Packs would not make sense. These hands-on tools help us to teach students in an exciting way. The materials are perfect for our special-needs students," Gunter-Gayle said.