A partnership which began in 2005 continues to assist children with disabilities. The partnership between the Caribbean Kids and Families Therapy Organisation (CKFTO) and IGT (formerly GTECH), a gaming company, started through IGT’s After School Advantage Programme.
The programme is a long-standing initiative providing NGOs with new computer equipment and specialised educational software. IGT has supported children’s homes, organisations for the differently-abled and a variety of non-profit agencies since 2005.
Through its work, children with disabilities at CKFTO have improved their skills through the use of the technology.
Doodle Find, Little Writer, iDoodle Card, Pocket pond, Fun Bubbles and Put it Away are all apps used by the CKFTO and IGT to provide alternative learning for children with disabilities.
“It was in December 2012 when IGT joined forces with the CKFTO and donated iPads to the organisation, as they have been recognised as an integral communication tool which is used during therapy sessions. Since then, the organisation has received additional devices from IGT, due to the demand for their use at the clinic,” a release said.
CKFTO is a non-profit provider in the private health sector of clinic-based occupational, music and speech therapy as well as educational psychology to children with special needs.
The organisation takes a holistic approach to therapy by providing support and educational programmes to these children, their parents and siblings, the release said.
The children who attend the sessions have a broad range of disabilities and, the organisation said, they responded positively to applications on the Ipad. “Many of the children with spastic cerebral palsy react positively upon hearing a familiar song or seeing a cartoon show on the iPad, this encourages the youngsters to relax their bodies, which in turn allows the therapists to perform effective massages and stretching techniques,” the release said.
Giving a case study, it said, one nine-year-old boy, who attends the CKFTO, has a condition known as Ataxic Cerebral Palsy (CP). This means he lacks co-ordination and order, and some children with this condition may also experience tremors and have speech and oral problems.
“Although no cure currently exists, there are a variety of treatments that can help children cope with their difficulties. The favourable outcome for these children is that they are able to gain their gross motor function, develop the ability to increase and improve their motor skills, which will in turn enable them to enhance their independence, in self-care and motor tasks,” the release said.
However, once the nine-year-old was introduced to the iPad, his therapist observed that he became more motivated to participate in his therapy sessions, which have helped him improve in different areas of his development, such as his gross motor skills. Through the programme, he is able to maintain his attention for longer periods, and his social interaction has improved.