With a child like Sebastian, who has limited vision and hearing, every facial expression, head turn or reaction they show to a stimulus like light, movement or touch helps us build a fuller picture of their world.
One of the ways in which we can help parents better understand what their child can do, is called a ‘holistic assessment’. It’s called a ‘holistic’ assessment because we look at the whole child as an individual, carefully observing how they play and react to stimuli, so we can better understand their world and help unlock their potential.
Our team uses a toolkit of specialist sensory toys to carry out their work. Ones that have interesting textures, make sounds, flash or reflect light to help encourage a child to show us what they can do.
If we turn on a flashing light do they turn to it, or look away, or blink? If you make a sound behind a child, or to their left or right, how do they react differently? Does a child notice movements more if they’re sitting up or lying down, or lying on one side? What makes them smile?
Observing every tiny detail, and finding out exactly what a child can do, can be the first step to a new level of communication between parents and their child.
Suzanne, Sebastian’s mum, told us how much Sense has helped her family:
“There’s definitely been a turning point in terms of understanding what Sebastian’s about. I know so much more about how he sees things and why he does the things he does.”
It costs £1,123 to carry out the vital assessment that a child receives when their worried parents turn to us for help.
Please will you give a gift to help provide a holistic assessment for a child like Sebastian? Your gift could help parents to better understand and communicate with their children.
All gifts will go towards Sense’s vital work with children who are deafblind, have sensory impairments or complex needs, as well as the wider work of Sense. This is to help ensure that we can be there throughout the journey of a child’s life and could include our work with young people and adults.
First published: Tuesday 1 August 2017
Updated: Wednesday 2 August 2017