From Monday 9 March until Friday 13 March, Treloar’s hosted their annual Good Posture Week which is led by the teams of therapists as an initiative to improve knowledge and skills around good posture for students, the majority of whom use a wheelchair.
The week involves teaching sessions, fun activities and training on the importance of good posture. This year’s theme was “good posture when I am out of my wheelchair”, with key messages shared throughout the week.
Good posture for the students of Treloar’s can make significant differences to student’s functional abilities, for example it can enable them to talk more clearly or use their AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) devices. It can also reduce the likelihood of pain and disruption for students if they are properly positioned through the day and night.
Throughout the week, all equipment used by students was carefully reviewed and optimised to support their needs. Students also received therapy-led teaching sessions in the classrooms, adapted to meet their individual needs. There was a strong focus on self-advocacy, as well as improving understanding of the importance of posture management & equipment used to achieve this.
In order to ensure students and staff are fully up-to-date on good posture practice, training sessions were carried out for student support assistants (SSAs).
The specialist speech and language therapists also developed equipment information books to help students to understand the equipment they need to support them on a day to day basis.
This allows students to know why they might be recommended for a particular piece of equipment, and what to do if they have a problem with it. It also enables students to make more informed decisions about their own posture management.
In addition to lessons and training, Good Posture Week is also about allowing the students to have fun while they learn.
Activities included a “selfie-station” where students demonstrate good and bad posture with fun props, and some students were supported to learn about the different parts and names of pieces of their equipment through a fun game of “Chair Hunt” by looking for all the parts needed to build a wheelchair.
There was also a sing-along of “This Body of Mine” to the tune of “This Little Light of Mine”. Students were encouraged to point to the favourite parts of their bodies, developing their understanding and vocabulary for naming body parts which helps them to communicate when they are in pain or uncomfortable.
Highly Specialist Occupational Therapist Catherine Morse said of the week:
“Good Posture Week was born from the importance of recognising that posture is essential to our students’ wellbeing and makes a fundamental difference to their everyday life.
It is an opportunity for staff to stay up to date with best practice and equipment, and for students to take responsibility for their posture.”
When asked if posture is important, one student summed it up with “Absolutely! Good posture now will help our bodies stay healthy and strong for the rest of our lives.”