Monday, 26 February 2018 06:14

Sensory playroom equipment a huge for Swift Current’s ECIP

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Four-year-old Emily Green plays on the sensory equipment with some support from early childhood interventionist Melissa McBlain. Four-year-old Emily Green plays on the sensory equipment with some support from early childhood interventionist Melissa McBlain.

A donation of sensory playroom equipment to the Swift Current and District Early Childhood Intervention Program (ECIP) is adding a new dimension to the services provided by the organization.

Swift Current and District ECIP Executive Director Wayne Cormier said the new equipment is a wonderful addition to their programming.
“This adds a component to our program that we haven’t had,” he mentioned. “We are one of the last regions to have centre-based programming.”
The ECIP office in Swift Current has been largely providing home-based programming due to a lack of space for more centre-based programming, but the organization's larger office area at Walker Place has now made this a possibility.
“Many of the families needed the program but not necessarily wanted you in their home,” he noted. “That can be intrusive, but they didn’t have a choice. Now we have a choice. We can deliver the programming home based or centre-based. So it’s more empowering. We give the families more choice now.”
The Swift Current and District ECIP provides home and community based services in southwest Saskatchewan to families with children from birth to school age who are vulnerable to delays. Melissa McBlain, an early childhood interventionist at Swift Current and District ECIP, said the equipment just falls into place within their programming.
“The equipment that was donated here is really working on sensory issues,” she explained. “So we have rock climbing, a tunnel slide, monkey bars and we have the sensory mats, as well as a ball pit. We put a sensory blanket in the ball pit, and the kids can work on any issue that they may have.”
The sensory playroom has already been in use for about a month and children have been responding well to the equipment.
“Some of the kids that we have on our case load have a lot of hyperactive activity or hyperactive health issues, and they just need somewhere to stimulate everything that’s going on with them,” she said. “So they can come in here and they can work on fine motor skills, gross motor skills, eye and hand coordination, they can work on team building, because you can have multiple kids in here or one.”
The sensory playroom equipment is available for use by families who are Swift Current and District ECIP clients.
“Our program is for diagnosed, delayed at risk families,” McBlain said. “So if they are in our criteria, then we would definitely put them on our caseload and work with the whole family.”
Southwest Homes donated the sensory playroom equipment to Swift Current and District ECIP. The equipment was originally purchased in September 2011 at a cost of $21,000 through a donation by the estate of Durward Seafoot. It was installed and used in a sensory playroom in a Southwest Home group home, which at that time was known as the Angel House children's group home.
“When those children grew up and no longer needed or could use this equipment, we very much wanted it to stay in the community to be used by other children, as did the family of Durward Seafoot,” said Southwest Homes Executive Director Susie Eidem. “So we had been in communication with Wayne here at ECIP and they didn’t have the space for the equipment until recently. We’re just so happy that we could be part of being able to supply the children in our community with some very valuable tools to their development.”
Eidem knows what a difference the sensory playroom equipment made to the children at Angel House, and now other families in the Swift Current area can also benefit from the use of the new playroom.
“It was pivotal for us,” she said. “The kids at the Angel House used it daily and sometimes multiple times a day for calming, for stimulation, for activities to burn off energy. ... The equipment is used very specifically to either engage kids and bring up their level of activity, or to use as a calming method to calm them down as well.”
The re-donation of the equipment took place in consultation with the estate of Durward Seafoot, who farmed south of Webb. He passed away in 2010 at the age of 92. Mark Covell, the co-executor of the estate, said in a written statement that ECIP will be a fitting home for the equipment in Swift Current.
“With the re-donation of the equipment, it is the executors' hope that, along with the professional support of the ECIP staff, the sensory playroom will continue to provide a therapeutic, diagnostic and recreational role in the community,” he stated.

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Matthew Liebenberg


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