Special Needs

This week I started my Paediatrics rotation and spent my first week with those who specialise in childhood development. From Monday to Thursday, I sat in on the clinics at the Children’s Development Centre and saw children with a spectrum of developmental disorders…most commonly, Down Syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy. It’s quite interesting learning about these conditions and observing how parents interact with their children. I wonder, how many are really able to remain patient with these kids? They require so much attention and care and it was obvious that it was a real struggle for many.

I sat in on a session in Occupational Therapy for a small group of Down Syndrome toddlers. Again, parent interaction and involvement was necessary to help teach gross and fine motor skills as well as social interactions.

On Friday, I went to Sunshine School. A school with persons trained well in childhood development and/or psychology for the children with special needs. I visited Sunshine once last year and I remember it being the brightest happiest place. The children there are so sweet…many of them like to run up to you and say hi. We had a short tour of the school and I saw a room that I wasn’t introduced to last year. It was, by far, the most amazing room I’ve ever been in.

If I remember correctly, it was called the neurostimulation room. It was an entirely white sealed room with cushioned floors, a small ball pool, lava lamps, glowing strings of lights and other small visual resources. I took a dip in the ball pool and found it to be the most relaxing experience! Apparently, it’s most useful for those who are in need of multiple stimuli over the body to create a balance. It would be too much for someone who was hypersensitive to touch. We were told numerous stories about how the different points of sensory stimulation in the room has helped the staff interact with the kids and see improvements. I thought it was pretty amazing. I want a room like this in my house. It would be a great place to find some peace from the outside world.

I spent the rest of my Friday morning with some Down Syndrome toddlers. One in particular was quite attached to me. She wouldn’t let me play with any of the other kids without crying. I had a good time with her and a couple of the others though. Discovering the most amazing room in the world, along with playing with these children was quite the treat. This turned out to be a relatively frustrating week so it was certainly a wonderful way to bring in the weekend.

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