Saturday, 22 January 2011

INDEPENDENCE, HARRIETTE AND CORNELIA DELANG SYNDROME



Here are a few brief thoughts on independence and PMLD youngsters (Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties) in general. A very large number of PMLD children also are / have MDVI (Multiple Difficulties and Visual Impairment). Sorry about all the acronyms and abbreviations but these labels have become an increasing and essential part of any conversation about special needs but they do make it easier to talk about particular issues. 


Independence is a difficult one with PMLD for obvious reasons. Not the least is that they are sooo very dependent on adults. However I have noticed E the PMLD teacher has been telling me that Harriette is starting to become more independent. She is now quite used to her teachers and workers and is starting to become more and more self-motivated. This week for example I watched her walk independently from the hall, open the door and go over to the storage box and take out her favourite toy. E also says she will now walk to the bathroom on her own without having to be taken. 


Independence is an essential target for Harriette. It affects everything we do with her. It means that we try to wait a bit longer for her to do something by herself rather than step in too quickly. It means giving her more space to be herself to have her favourite things around her so she can interact with them at her own time and pace. It means providing a stable environment so that Harriette feels secure enough to get up and move around without bumping into things. Harriette is really short sighted so becoming familiar with the surroundings is really important if she is to be confident enough to explore. And she is starting to do this so that’s great. 




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