At Therapy Focus we encourage employees to take up volunteering and secondment opportunities that support professional development and enhance organisational knowledge. Late last year Canning River Team Speech Pathologist, Shelby-Ellen Walquist, travelled to Ukraine in a multidisciplinary team where she volunteered at the Dzherelo Children’s Rehabilitation Centre.
In the following article Shelby-Ellen shares an insight into her experience.
In November 2015 I travelled to the Ukraine with a group of fellow Curtin Alumni speech and occupational therapists to spend a week working with children with disabilities at the Dzherelo Children’s Rehabilitation Centre in Lviv.
At the request of Dzherelo’s senior therapists, our team ran a two day training workshop for their staff, covering topics such as the development of the function of feeding, assessing feeding difficulties and tailoring intervention strategies. We also provided a half-day version of this workshop for parents. The training sessions also provided advice about supportive feeding equipment that does not yet exist in Ukraine.
Throughout the training we also looked at client case studies and realised that most of the children were still performing a suckle, which is the first stage of feeding development. I explained how staff could use equipment and exercises to turn meal times into therapy and support the children to develop their oromotor skills.
All of the children our team had the opportunity to work with required support with the strength and coordination of their jaw. We successfully trialled a piece of equipment called a ‘chewy tube’, which will help to develop these skills, and we look forward to hearing how the students are going over the next few months.
Our team gained valuable knowledge and experience from our secondment and we are already discussing the possibility of another trip in 2016.
To find out more about the Dzherelo Children’s Rehabilitation Centre visit their website.