To say Trowbridge children’s centre Stepping Stones cares for youngsters with learning difficulties and disabilities does not fully reflect just how specialised it is.
The centre in Broadcloth Lane helps children with conditions including Down’s Syndrome, cerebral palsy, and autism, among others.
In some cases, the charity works to apply its expertise to working with children who do not have a known diagnosis.
On Monday, I was welcomed to be part of one of Stepping Stones’ classes working with children with severely complex needs in the sensory room.
At first glance, this room room might appear just to be offering space age fun with ultra violet lights, glowing tubes and shiny fibre-optics, but its methods soon became clear.
During my time with four-year-old Lydia Wadds and three-year-olds Mia Blaxall and Liam Collins their listening and visual skills were developed through singing games where they were asked to find stars and point out their names.
A team of Stepping Stones’ carers later gave the bluebird group children a picture of furry sheep, accompanying that with a rendition of Baa Baa Black Sheep, encouraging the youngsters to feel the wool in front of them.
I worked specifically with Mia, who has an undiagnosed development disorder, and it was heartening to see how involved she became during the session.
Having the opportunity to provide a little help to her, I saw just how beneficial the sensory room is in developing Stepping Stones’ children’s five external senses.
The group spent 20 minutes in the sensory room before having physiotherapy, free play and communication classes.
After this experience it is all the more clear just what a difference Stepping Stones makes to youngsters and their families.