The Challenging Behaviour Community of Practice (CBCoP) group who are working together in order to develop innovative ideas and approaches for improving the quality of life for people with a learning disability and with challenging behaviour, held one of their quarterly conference meetings on 04/07/14. Dr. Edwin Jones led the meeting that essentially is about best practice in regards to those vulnerable children and adults with learning disabilities. I went along to represent The Touch Trust and present their new Dementia Programme:
Touch Trust and Dementia
Karen Woodley, from the Touch Trust, talked about the Touch Trust‟s work with people
suffering from dementia. Karen has worked for the Touch Trust for eight years. This is a charity
that works with physically challenged children and adults through art and movement, and has
recently developed a new programme for work in dementia. The charity is based in Cardiff and
works with people in many other localities, both directly and to train others as sessions
leaders. Feedback from carers has been good, especially in relation to more severely disabled
people, who are often the hardest to engage. Further information about the charity, its work
and costs can be found on their website: www.touchtrust.co.uk
(Notes from meeting 4th July 2014, Cefn Lea Park, Powys)
The Learning Disability Advisory Group (LDAG) which was set up by the Welsh Government to provide advice on issues affecting the lives of those with a learning disability and their families meet regularly to discuss issues and give advice to the Welsh Government. Good! transforming the care for the learning disabled is paramount especially for children. Although this meeting was more concerned with administrative issues they nevertheless seemed to have a great passion for ensuring that the quality of care in Wales not only improves but that the learning disabled community get heard.
Dance Movement Psychotherapists invite the learning disabled child to explore, play, move, paint and dance into a gentle discovery of themselves.
The (dmp) therapist working with learning disabled child places prime importance on the development of the body image. Having a good background in dance, they use praise and contact. Praise in the context of person-centred therapy where the empowerment of the individual is paramount through the core conditions (Rogers, 1980) of unconditional positive regard, congruence and empathy. That is, avoiding disempowering attitudes in the relationship.
The (dmp) therapist uses contact with the awareness of using her body as a container in collaboration with the force of gravity (Anzieu, 1989). This is possible through the taking of the weight of the children with (pmld) in order to give them security and confidence, e.g. in exercises such as containing and supporting (Sherbourne, 2001). According to (Cohen, 1993), the first senses to develop in the baby are movement and touch which suggests its real importance.
The experience of joy and pleasure is fundamental throughout the (dmp) approach and a good relationship with the therapist central to the process (Levy, 1988). In regards the needs of these children, these are understood as them needing a way to express their emotions and have the chance to address their communication problems (Karkou and Sanderson, 2000).