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Coaching Children With Profound Impairments

Myself and Richard set up Omnis CiC partly because we saw a need for a company who worked disabled people at the more severe end of the spectrum.

What Kind Of Participants Are We Talking About?

Obviously there are different levels of impairment and it is often the case that the more severe and complex the impairment, the fewer activities that will be open to you.

For people who perhaps rely on power chairs, have breathing difficulties and perhaps have profound sensory loss, there are a lot of negative stereotypes about what they can and cannot do.

And while it is true that participants with these difficulties have profound limitations - they can nevertheless experience the benefits of sport and physical activity.

Wait, Benefits? What Do You Mean Benefits?

All children learn through play and one of the most profound factors that affect severely impaired children is the fact that their condition inhibits their ability to play.

Additionally, because of the high levels of personal care involved with these participants, they often have strict regimes that leave little room for play.

This means that things like working on range of motion, perception, recognition and posture can be lost to the daily routine.

It is also the case that for many people closest to participants like this cannot perhaps see where potential improvements can be made.

Having someone with a fresh pair of eyes means that these potentials do not go unnoticed.

So, How Do You Coach Someone With That Level Of Complexity

The first thing is to talk to the people around the participant, and really understand what the participate's abilities are.

What can they:

- See

- Feel

- Move

Then you WATCH closely and ask yourself some questions such as:

- What limbs do they favour?

- How do they prefer to move?

- How long do they engage for?

The next stage is to give them an object and let them explore or help them to explore it. You want them to get use to whatever your using and know instantly what it is next time.

You want them to play first of all and then gently try and push the boundaries.

In some cases, you may work with participants who have no movement in their limbs at all. In these cases, the coach has 2 approaches:

1. Manipulation - the coach can use equipment to create motion or sensation.

2. Intense Interaction - The coach can use equipment to create massage like outcomes, such as with a form roller. This will still stimulate mind and body.

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