Whizz Kidz Special Needs Centre provides a nurturing and stimulating environment for children with multiple or severe disabilities. Whizz Kids offers an environment for children between the ages of 2½ and 14 years to receive appropriate and effective educational intervention to ensure optimum development. Their focus is early intervention and Individual Educational Programmes (IEP) in a holistic environment.
The school is a hive of activity with all educational goals being based on a child’s individual strengths and weaknesses with the aim of developing them in line with their own potential. The IEP focuses on developing the child’s independence in functional daily skills as well as building the foundations for reading, writing, and mathematics.
At Whizz Kidz, children are allocated to classrooms according to their abilities and not necessarily their age or grade. Should a child show potential for academic achievement they are placed in the remedial classroom which follows a CAPS curriculum delivered at the child’s individual pace. The classrooms are smaller than those of mainstream and remedial schools and teaching assistants are present to assist those children who may require extra support and guidance.
Community Chest Durban has been supporting Whizz Kidz on a monthly basis for the past 15 years. Community Chest provides support through donations, sponsorship, and charity events, to non-profit organisations which we call NPO Impact Partners. The strict parameters and stringent assessment of our Impact Partners, give our corporate and individual donors the assurance that funding will be used where it makes the greatest impact. Through our partnership with Whizz Kidz we have been able to celebrate the progress that each child makes at their own pace and the joy they, their parents, teachers, therapists, and caregivers feel when milestones are reached.
The passionate and caring staff at Whizz Kidz have many years of experience working with children with special needs and the 'Needs Centre' offers a range of therapies that are suited to the requirements of each child. The school-based therapists work as a trans-disciplinary team, sharing skills and meeting regularly to run the school therapy programmes effectively. Most therapy involves classroom and group-based input. Individual sessions do take place when measuring progress and preparing reports.
Whizz Kidz' rehabilitative support includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy for learners. As a team, they assess each child, determine their therapy needs and carry out the various elements depending on the scope of practice.
The therapists at Whizz Kidz work in a multidisciplinary team to ensure comprehensive medical care for all the learners. Weekly therapist meetings are held to monitor case progress and therapy programs. An annual multidisciplinary team meeting is held for each child where therapists, teachers, carers, and parents can come together to discuss expectations, goals, and outcomes.
- The physiotherapist trains carers in daily stretching, movement, and postural management for each child. This programme forms part of the daily routine.
- Weekly swimming performed by the swim school – this is an outsourced service.
- Equipment checks are performed by the therapy assistant weekly, and recommendations, alterations, and referrals are performed by the Physiotherapist as needed.
- Individual therapy sessions with the Physiotherapist to monitor and adapt therapy programmes monthly.
- Termly physiotherapy re-assessment.
- Strength, flexibility, balance, endurance, and functional movement-focused exercise class developed by the Physiotherapist and run by the physiotherapy assistant bi-weekly.
- Individualised and one-on-one carer education and training.
- Progress report completed twice a year.
Speech and Language Therapy
- Oral motor and articulation group per week developed by Speech Therapist and run by teacher/carer.
- Auditory processing and phonological awareness groups per week are developed by Speech Therapist and run by a therapy assistant.
- Two pre-feeding stimulation programmes per day for the children who require it as part of their IEP.
- Feeding is monitored by the therapy assistant twice a week and recommendations, referrals, and reviews are performed by the Speech Therapist as needed.
- Assessing for and issuing adapted and assistive feeding, oral sensory, and communication equipment to be used daily by the carer.
- Language Stimulation Therapy is implemented by the teachers and carers. This is a compulsory all-day programme developed and overseen by the Speech Therapist to develop language and communication skills.
- Compulsory all-day Alternative and Augmentative Communication Therapy programme (AAC- manual sign, picture symbols, written words, and textured symbols) is implemented in the classroom by the carer/teachers, developed and overseen by the Speech Therapist.
- Teacher and staff therapeutic skill development related to feeding, articulation, language, AAC, and Auditory Processing.
- Individualised and one-on-one carer education and training, as required.
- Individual therapy sessions with a Speech Therapist to monitor and adapt therapy programmes.
- Termly re-assessment completed by the Speech Therapist.
- Progress report completed by the Speech Therapist twice a year.
- Sensory stimulation forms part of the daily programme at school.
- Children are presented with visual and tactile schedules during each transition which provides predictability, develops independence, and teaches specific skills.
- This is adapted and graded by the OT based on each child’s ability.
- Visual stimulation and visual perceptual groups developed by an Occupational Therapist and run by a therapy assistant on a weekly basis.
- Fine motor groups developed by an Occupational Therapist and run by a therapy assistant on a weekly basis.
- Pre-literacy and handwriting groups were developed by an Occupational Therapist and run by a therapy assistant on a weekly basis.
- Assessing for and issuing assistive devices for writing, self-care, and eating completed by the Occupational Therapist.
- Teacher and staff therapeutic skill development related to handwriting, sitting posture, behavioural management, sensory regulation, pencil grip, toileting, dressing, and worksheet adaptations.
- Enrichment activity development, planning, and implementation with teachers to facilitate play and social interaction.
- Individualised carer education and training, as required.
- Individual therapy sessions with an Occupational Therapist to monitor and adapt therapy programmes.
- Termly re-assessment completed by Occupational Therapist. Progress report completed by the Occupational Therapist twice a year.
It must be stressed that each child’s completely unique problems and needs will confirm appropriate therapy and management, including the types and frequency of therapy needed, in addition to referrals to appropriate specialist doctors for intervention and monitoring.
Community Chest Durban applauds the incredible work that the Whizz Kidz staff, carers, and parents do to ensure that the children receive all available opportunities.