• Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

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Hydrotherapy pool brings relief to students with complex needs

STUDENTS are making waves in their therapeutic education after gaining access to a state of the art hydrotherapy pool.

Pupils from Hope Wood Academy, Easington, County Durham, are splashing out on weekly water therapy sessions after being offered the use of the facilities at The Portland Academy, Sunderland.

Hope Wood Academy, a specialist school which supports learning for students aged from two to 19 with severe and complex needs, had been unable to make use of its own hydrotherapy pool because of its limited size.

“Our pool was extremely small and could only be used by one pupil at a time,” said head of academy Rachel Ireland. “It also needed extensive refurbishment and we just didn’t have the funding in place to make the necessary improvements.

“It’s overwhelming to see the difference in our students’ wellbeing after they have been in the water. It allows them to enjoy new experiences and their response to that is incredible.”

Students with profound and multiple learning difficulties enjoy the benefits of a number of activities at Hope Wood Academy including Rebound therapy, in which the use of trampolines provides movement and exercise; Bowen therapy, designed to stimulate the development of neural pathways and help muscles to work effectively; Reiki for relaxation, and music therapy. All of these support psychological, emotional, cognitive, physical, communicative and social development.

Hope Wood Academy special support assistant Shuiying Chan, who escorted students Jake Trueman, six and Amy Jones, five, to their hydrotherapy session, said: “The pool here at The Portland Academy is incredible.

“It has mood lighting and a fantastic sound system, which helps to stimulate or to relax students, we have large changing rooms to assist the students who need help to change into their swimwear and we also have our very own swimming instructor/ life guard, Tim Miller.

“For students like Jake and Amy, who both have mobility limitations, hydrotherapy is a fantastic way for them to stretch out, kick their legs and move independently in the water, as well as it being lots of fun.”

County Durham and Darlington NHS Acute Trust paediatric physiotherapist Kelly Potter, who accompanied the students into the pool for their 20 minute session, added: “All of the students have their own individual hydro programme.

“Once they are in the water it really helps to reduce the tension in their bodies, allowing them to extend their muscles and support their own weight, while making some independent movements.”