Your comments: 20 September 2017

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Get involved with Special Olympics!

I was a volunteer with the FunFitness Team within the Healthy Athletes programme, part of Special Olympics Great Britain (#SOGB), held in Sheffield in August.
There were 2,600 athletes and we screened at least 40 per cent of them for flexibility, strength, balance and aerobic fitness. We then provided education and a personalised exercise programme (if needed, you wouldn’t believe how fit these athletes are!) Where there were concerns, we arranged referrals to a GP or physio. 
This is by far the largest fitness screening project for people with learning disabilities, in the world, since all the data we collect goes into the International Special Olympics FunFitness database – a huge piece of research that is replicated in all the countries where Special Olympics events take place.
It  has been the most amazing opportunity to expose future physios to learning disabilities practice. I can’t even begin to comment on how many happy tears I’ve dropped watching the athletes perform.
  • Pilar Bustamante, learning disability clinical specialist physiotherapist, Kent Community Health NHS Trust 

Assisted devices made from paper

Many physiotherapists have been contacting me about the article written by Catherine Turnbull, Cardboard Revolution (19 July 2017).
Although there is a link to the Adaptive Design Association’s website, there is disappointment about the lack of references to the work done in many different countries, including the UK. Most physiotherapists that I know are well aware of the importance of giving a well-balanced approach.
So on behalf of all the people who have been learning, making, and promoting using cardboard assistive devices, you can find out more at
We use Appropriate Paper Technology (APT), developed by Bevill Packer in Zimbabwe, simply because it uses flour and water paste, easily made with small amounts of flour and all recycled cardboard and paper materials. 
Adaptive Design is great and APT is more sustainable in low resource places where assistive equipment is most needed. 
For more information about making assistive furniture and everyday living aids from cardboard see the following links:; and
  • Jean Westmacott, Cerebral Palsy Africa 

Asthma action

Asthma UK’s Asthma Action Plans have now been launched in 10 different languages, which are available at: 
Using a written asthma action plan means a patient is four times less likely to be admitted to hospital because of asthma. 
The simple traffic light system can help them understand what medicines they need to take and when, to recognise when their asthma is getting worse, and what to do.
  • Sonia Munde, head of Asthma UK Helpline and clinical nurse manager
Frontline and various

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