OT publishes article in popular journal PMLD Link – “Rebound Therapy: exercise and fun on a trampoline!”

PMLD LINK was established to make a difference to the lives of children and adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD).

Callum MacKinnon (Founder & Occupational Therapy Lead) has published an article about BounceOT and the use of rebound therapy [the therapeutic use of a trampoline] in PMLD Link’s Winter 2022 edition of the international journal.

The same content was published as a blog on our website last summer – you can read it here!

What is rebound therapy & how can it help? An Occupational Therapist’s opinion

PMLD LINK journal is dedicated to sharing ideas and information about the needs of children and adults with PMLD and good practice, activities and resources for meeting these needs and improving the quality of their lives. It covers a wide range of issues to inform and support the day to day work of families, carers and professionals in the home, schools and colleges, and adult settings. The journal is published three times a year. Subscribers to PMLD LINK will be sent their personal copy of each issue and can also view the most recent issues of the journal online

“As the name of the organisation might suggest, a huge focus of our work is delivering inclusive rebound therapy sessions. In my experience, rebound therapy is either hugely popular – or not known about at all. The benefits of this therapeutic activity can be obvious, especially when seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they take part, or when hearing direct feedback from parent carers. However, a lack of research into this intervention leaves room for doubt and confusion about its accessibility, and benefits.”

The facts surrounding the legal definition of rebound therapy in the UK is discussed with evidence based references to support the statements.

• In the UK ‘rebound therapy’ is a descriptive term which means the therapeutic use of a trampoline (Intellectual Property Office, 2013).
Think of this as an intervention that a wide range of people, from various professions, are trained to deliver in their workplace or in the community with the people they support.

• There is no regulatory body for rebound therapy, and there is not one mandatory training course to certify people in rebound therapy (ASA, 2016).

• Rebound therapy is not a registered trademark (Hayward-Giles, 2016).

Although there is a lack of empirical research into rebound therapy, it is still widely accepted that this is a beneficial intervention – especially for those living with PMLD.

Quotes from families include –

“J has been getting great physical exercise – it is one of only activities he is able to access, and is actually interested in participating in! His mental health is getting better too as a result. His dad and I get a short break too, we really need it”

Rebound therapy is clearly a valued intervention by many as it is a fun opportunity to try a new activity, whilst improving the health and well-being of children and adults with PMLD.

However, it is still not commonly used by professionals across learning disability services – or by parent carers, and paid carers, in their community.

This is due to various factors, but mainly confusion around what rebound therapy is, and its accessibility.

“The activity on the trampoline not only stimulates the cardiovascular system, but also provides significant mental stimulation at the same time. It’s fun for C – it’s one of the few times I see him laugh!”

Too many children and adults are being denied access to rebound therapy on unfair grounds.

As a result, and wrapping up the article, suggestions are made for services to consider and possible research ideas to be taken forward.

You can read the full article, and other exciting articles/posts, in the Winter 2022 journal by clicking here!

About PMLD Link

PMLD LINK was established to make a difference to the lives of children and adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD). People with PMLD have profound intellectual and multiple disabilities, very severe communication problems, often extreme physical and/or sensory disabilities, and complex health needs.

Their needs are frequently overlooked by more general support organisations for people with learning disabilities. PMLD LINK maintains a clear focus on this small and often hard to reach group. Since 2007 PMLD LINK has been a registered ‘not for profit’ charity and its affairs are managed by volunteer trustees who have in-depth knowledge and are relatives of people with PMLD and/or are professionals with backgrounds in relevant health, education or social care services.

All profits from the sale of the journal and all donations are used to maintain the production and posting of the journal, the development of the website and the management of Facebook and Twitter for networking and information sharing.

Any information about potential grant applications and any donations are welcome. Currently, PMLD LINK needs money to support its ‘Far and Wide Project’ which aims to communicate with potential new subscribers and, thereby, to bring these services to the attention of families and carers, adult day centres, residential homes, and small self-help organisations that are harder to reach, as well as to schools and other charities.

If you can offer support or if you wish to make a donation (via the button) or if you wish to make further enquiries, please contact PMLD LINK at info@pmldlink.org.uk.

About Winter 2022 Journal

Welcome to the Winter 2022 journal. Firstly, we want to thank all the contributors to this general edition. It is always very exciting waiting to see what articles arrive for our journals without a set theme. A general edition allows us to understand the reality of what is of current importance for readers – the latest, pressing topics, what’s new or helping push the boundaries in the real lives of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) and everyone involved in their lives.

Contributions to this issue of PMLD LINK continue to demonstrate the enthusiasm and passion to share innovative practice, thinking and relevant research. It keeps the focus firmly centred on what is important, the people with profound and multiple learning disabilities themselves. Although this is a collection of articles with no particular theme, you’ll quickly recognise there are common threads that overlap and interweave items.  We explore the sheer joy music can bring – but sometimes that happens in quite unexpected contexts, where ‘activity boundaries’ are blurred. Music can enrich the lives of people with PMLD in many ways and their music can be celebrated.  The Hidden Word Project describes how it allows people with PMLD to immerse themselves in different sound worlds and how music engages them to be creative artists. Music also has a valued place in therapeutic interventions promoting relaxation, communication and wellbeing. The joy and confidence of a whole-body experience is described when music is used within hydrotherapy by Liquid Vibrations.  Want to know what happens when music is used to accompany rebound therapy? That’s included here too!

The many benefits of rebound therapy are discussed in this issue, but we hear from some practitioners who are being extra creative -in one article we hear that Staffordshire County Wide Specialist Opportunities Service use airbeds – yes, lilos! What a versatile and affordable way to provide this activity. Louise Molineux goes on to tell us how they valuably incorporate storytelling within their airbed rebound sessions and shares an example, to try ourselves. The importance of stories continues elsewhere in this issue, with articles about the significant role they can play in day to day lives. Lauran Doak discusses the use of Pictello, a story telling app and how it can be used to evoke memories and make connections. Nina Martinez reflects on her own storytelling experiences with that of her newer role, as a funeral celebrant, to help her to make accessible end of life celebrations. Naomi Hewardine shares how a sensory story enabled her group of college students to access the LBTQ+ TV show, Heartstoppers.

Making sure people with profound and multiple learning disabilities have a voice and are heard, is another common topic for PMLD LINK – and this edition is no different.  In several articles passionate writers and practitioners describe communication beyond linguistic codes. Innovative ideas such as Sheridan Forster’s, Hanging Out Café, where the focus is on inclusivity and interaction takes place in a relaxed atmosphere. Another article explores how we can reflect on the impact of Intensive Interaction and the challenge of ‘measurement’, in turn helping us to reflect of the importance of how, and which, data we collect. We pose other, thought-provoking questions for readers, including the ethics around including people with profound and multiple learning disabilities in research or in them having a public or online presence.

As always, we try to bring you the latest relevant news, including some updates on Changing Places toilets across the four nations of the UK. All our regular features follow on – reviews, useful publications and resources and our information about future events and courses.

It has been a pleasure for our volunteer editors to create this Winter journal and we really hope you enjoy it.

If you feel inspired to contribute to future journals, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can find out in this issue, what’s planned for Spring 2023 on page 48 or online: https://www.pmldlink.org.uk/the-journal/future-focus/

Guest Editors: Wendy Newby, Michael Fullerton, Maureen Phillips and Annie Fergusson

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