Sophie’s Place is a haven for mentally and physically disabled children in Jamaica.
Career Planning Approaches
Duane Brown (2003) agreed with Super (1976, p. 4) when he wrote that career is “… the course of events which constitutes a life; the sequence of occupations and other life roles which combine to express one’s commitment to work in his or her total pattern of self-development…”
According to Brown (2003, pg. 15) “career intervention is a deliberate act aimed at enhancing some aspect of a person’s career development.”
Whereas the individuals at Sophie’s Place is severely disabled resulting from physical and mental disability, there appears to be some aspect of intervention being done.
In keeping with the definition put forward, the home employs the services of a voluntary Occupational therapist. Although she is Canadian by birth and has been in Jamaica for less than two years (separate occasions), she is quite aware of the needs of the residents.
Often the severity of a physical challenge is compounded by the lack of due care to the individual, but at Sophie’s Place, this is not the case as the therapist ensures the residents partake in stimulating activities.
They are placed in positions to allow for the correcting of their disability as well as to teach new skills. As they are severely challenged, these activities are repetitive and may border on the accomplishment of such tasks as lifting a pen or wiping the brow.
The Occupational Therapist
The Occupational Therapist believes that if you provide enough stimulating activities to the residents you will correct a deficiency, thus she is currently designing and creating cushioned custom wedges for the residents. These wedges, she postulates, will allow for the comfort of the users as an example – one child is unable to remain in a seated position as the muscles of the back are not developed to accommodate seating. She explains that this resulted from years of being placed to lie all day and night.
Using a Wedge
With her intervention, she designed a wedge to comfortably develop in this child the ability to sit. Explaining that the desired result of sitting may take years to achieve, she nevertheless approaches her task with gusto as she has seen improvements in those already supplied with their custom-designed wedges.
At the other level, some of the more able children are taken to the University of Technology (UTECH) where an out-reach program is being administered. Here the university students interact with the residents of Sophie’s Place often helping them with physical therapy and hydrotherapy to develop strength of muscles.
The children are also taught learning activities albeit in a rather repetitive manner to allow them to grasp concepts and actions.
They are given pictures to color within boundaries – coloring within lines repeatedly shows mastery of the task, or they may be shown how to set a table and then asked to replicate the same.
Other tasks such as drawing and shape/color/object matching are added to stimulate cognition.
Speech development is also administered at the center but by the Occupational Therapist as this requires mastery of more muscles as well as cognitive development. The Therapist explains that speech is not always audible or coherent as voice muscles may be underdeveloped or not developed as well as the fact that some persons have never been in an environment where they were spoken to thus the inability to simulate speech.
With the above and other occupational therapy, it is believed that the children will develop speech skills, be able to set a table, administer personal care to themselves such as going to the bathroom unattended, scratching an itch as well as feeding themselves.
Tasks such as remaining focused on the television (depending on the severity of disability), or drawing and coloring pictures/sketches are the desired goals of the Therapist and her assistants.
It is believed that should the children be able to accomplish any or the entire previously mentioned task, they may be able to return to their family homes or “fit in” at any of the less-specialized Mustard Seed Community’s Homes.
To the reader, these may seem minuscule but in their entirety, these are optimum results for the residents of Sophie’s Place.
If you are inclined to assist Sophie’s Place, please contact Mustard Seed at:
Mustard Seed Communities
P.O. Box 267, Kingston 10 Jamaica, West Indies
Phone: + 1 876-923-6488
About the writer:
Poetess Denise N. Fyffe is a published author of over 30 books, for more than ten years and enjoys Training, Publishing, and Counseling. She is a freelance writer for online publications such as Revealing the Christian Life, Jamaica Rose, Entertainment Trail, My Trending Stories among others.
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