The Namibia Chiropractic Association, led by Dr Elga Drews, will be hosting a World Spine Event which will be reaching out to a different community this year. They will teach the children, teachers and staff of a special needs school the Straighten Up exercise programme and again make it a weekly event. Pupils from another school where they are presenting the Straighten Up exercises on a regular basis to the grade 1 to 4 scholars, will help us in this task.
The Moreson School is a school for children with special needs like Down Syndrome, Cerebral palsy and an entire spectrum of challenges. A lot of these children have been dumped there by their parents who just don’t know how to care for them, and very often having a special child carries a certain stigma in those societies, so they rather don’t want to have anything to do with it. Animal assisted therapy is also utilised for some of the kids at the school to assist them in learning and gaining confidence.
Spinal hygiene is so important for all those kids. If one for example strengthens the neck muscles in a Down syndrome child the tongue’s movement is much better and speech improved. Movement of any kind for CP children obviously is beneficial on many levels.
So Dr Drews thought of starting this initiative to raise awareness on two levels: first of all to make this special community aware of what they can do to feel better and look after their backs; and secondly raise awareness in other kids about special needs children and how we can each do something to grow as a community and help others.
So they will arrange to give little group exercise classes at the Moreson school with the children from the other school assisting and showing them how to do the Straighten Up exercises, how to sit, stand and walk tall. This is a long term project which started by doing the Straighten Up programme on a weekly basis for the primary school at a private school. They printed posters and hung them up in each class room and had an introductory course to the exercises and the importance of posture, ergonomics and back health for all the involved primary school teachers.
Now that the children know the exercises and are already showing their parents what to do, they can use them as ambassadors for spinal health and doing their bit in the community at the special needs school.