A WEYMOUTH school has become the first in the county to receive accreditation for a teaching programme that helps physically disabled children gain more freedom of movement.
The Wyvern Academy based on Dorchester Road is now a MOVE Centre of Excellence for the activity-based programme, which focuses on skills essential to independence in class and at home.
The MOVE charity programme teaches children with severe physical disabilities actions such as sitting in an upright position, standing, walking and transferring, through learning new skills in regular but small steps.
There are 22 children on the programme at Wyvern Academy, which has 81 pupils aged three to 19.
Sue Marshall, Wyvern's MOVE co-ordinator, said: “We're delighted to have received MOVE Centre of Excellence status.
“It's a marvellous achievement and will make real a difference to many young lives; the heart of this programme is that movement is a pre-requisite for learning.
“A child restricted to a wheelchair lacks the same learning opportunities as an able-bodied youngster to explore their environment.
“The more they are able to interact with the world around them, the more their interest and motivation grows and the more they can learn.”
Sue added that actions like giving a hug, going to the toilet, or raising your head to look out of the window can often present a huge challenge for many of the UK's 110,000 children with severe physical disabilities.
Examples of MOVE progression include helping one 13-year-old pupil with cerebral palsy, Mitchell Harvey, who was unable to stand when he started the programme 18 months ago and spent the majority of time in his wheelchair.
He was provided with a walking frame, and the opportunity to use it was built into his daily routine.
Mother Tina Harvey said: “Mitchell's legs have grown stronger and his digestion has also improved through being more active, along with his confidence levels and self-esteem. He also now wants to learn how to ride a bike.”
The accreditation also means Wyvern will now be able to provide MOVE training for local health workers, carers and parents of physically disabled youngsters and adults throughout the region.
For more information visit www.themovepartnership.org.uk.