Sunday, 01 August 2021

Disabled children learn to go shopping independently

Disabled children learn to go shopping independently

A CHILDREN’S home in Sonning Common has taught disabled young people how to use pictures to communicate their needs.

Florence House in Baskerville Road is a home for children with complex health needs and learning disabilities.

Manager Martin Honour and his team wanted to empower the children and strengthen their independence skills. 

They decided to use the Picture Exchange Communication System, where children express what they want using photographs. This was developed in 1985 by Andy Bondy to help children with autism.

Children from the home used the system during a visit to Carl Woods butchers and the Co-op store, both in Wood Lane. Rachel Redgwell, managing director of Calcot Services for Children, which runs the home, said the shops welcomed their special customers. 

She said: “We are exceptionally proud and thankful to have such a welcoming, inclusive and accepting community as Sonning Common. It’s imperative that all children with disabilities have unhindered access to their community, including being able to shop independently. The retailers have shown a commitment to making a difference and ensuring those with disabilities have equal access and choice.” 

Calcot Services for Children, of Theale, converted the former Orchard Lodge care home in 2016.

The children’s home was rated “good” by education watchdog Ofsted in February last year.

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