Elephant Hills has been supporting OT Freeland, a school and clinic specialized in therapy and education of special needs children, for several years. Last year, we donated trampolines and other sports equipment.
On our most recent visit in Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, we made a donation to further support the physical education of the children. More children are attending the school, so more trampolines and light weight kettlebells were needed.
The donated equipment were gladly accepted by the founder, teacher Mr. Ped. We spoke about the importance of physical activities to children with special needs. Needless to say, the benefits of regular exercise for every able-bodied person regardless of their age, are undeniable. However, for special needs kids it can be one of the most important forms of therapy.
Benefits of physical therapy
The activities must be adapted based on the child’s individual needs. For instance, a child with sensory issues or difficulties with social skills may not enjoy team sports. Instead, jumping on a trampoline or carrying or passing kettle bells or other objects could be more beneficial. In addition to improving strength, balance and gross motor skills, these activities can also provide an excellent opportunity to practice counting, following sequences and timing of movements.
The founder, occupational therapist Mr. Ped and his team are very dedicated with their work. They strive to give the special needs children the skills and tools needed for a “normal life”. The goal is that the children, depending on their condition, would be able to do daily chores, communicate with people and one day, possibly also have a stable job and earn their living.
We were glad to hear that the school has been able to get more class space and may accept more students in the future. Moreover, the plan is that next year the students could be receiving special education until 9th grade, whereas currently the primary level until grade six is covered. We are excited to see what the future brings to OT Freeland and will continue to support their efforts!