Today I’ve been observing H who has a diagnosis of Down’s Syndrome and is preparing to enter school sometime in the next 18 months or so (children do not have to attend school until the age of six, but can do so from the age of five). I followed him on his journey from Music Therapy to the Computer Room to Early Intervention Teaching to Speech and Language Therapy, Snack time, Play Time, Occupational Therapy – and observed how each professional worked to achieve commonly agreed goals and targets for H whilst following his lead and making each session fun. The emphasis on parental involvement was manifest in the way that H’s dad went to each session with him and was fully involved in everything he did, especially in the Music Room where a Sound Cradle was used to calm H to ready him for learning as well as being useful for attachment and bonding.
Following this the multi-disciplinary team (today was the transition group team meeting) discussed each child’s successes and challenges and agreed points of action and steps for the future. In interview they all agreed that the essential criteria for the success of the Champion Model included Inter-disciplinary working, parental partnership and effective communication across disciplines, which is far easier to achieve when professionals are co-located on the same site.
What was nice to see was the way in which H was given choices as often as possible in relation to the type of tasks and resources he participated in and how his consent was sought before any professional touched him or intervened. Dad’s view on his comfort levels, mode of communication and ongoing progress were sought frequently. A total communication system was in operation, H mainly uses sign (he can use about 100) but he does vocalise and his ipad (shown above) is used in some sessions to give him extra support.