Sir Charles Parsons School is a secondary school based in Newcastle upon Tyne for students with special educational needs including severe or profound disabilities, multiple learning difficulties, challenging behaviours, sensory impairment and communication difficulties.
High quality, highly adaptable equipment is essential to allow the teachers to provide the guidance, care and support that these students require to fulfil their individual needs. The Liko FreeSpan freestanding overhead lift system smoothly overcomes one of the obstacles faced by students trying to enjoy Rebound Therapy – part of the school’s broader educational curriculum – which takes place on the trampoline.
The FreeSpan system is not affixed to the walls or the ceiling and can be easily moved between rooms as it is equipped with wheels which facilitate ease of positioning and room cleaning. FreeSpan is made of aluminium and have many different rail lengths available.
Part communication aid, part physiotherapy and a fantastic reward to look forward to, Rebound Therapy offers a range of benefits for the students. "It’s a wonderful way for our students to get some exercise and stretch out their bodies after sitting in their wheelchairs. Liko’s overhead lift means we are able to position the children anywhere on the trampoline," explains Lisa Loraine, a learning support teacher who has been working at Sir Charles Parsons for almost 10 years.
"They feel secure and comfortable as the system glides them out of their chairs, and it practically eliminates the risk of associated back injury. Ultimately, it makes our lives easier on all levels! By contrast, our old system was very cumbersome and wouldn’t fit underneath the trampoline’s structure properly".
When Lisa started at Sir Charles Parsons, there were only manual lifts in use. These were eventually replaced with hydraulic systems but the jerky movement caused spasms to worsen in some students. New electric systems were finally introduced which were much smoother and, having thoroughly explored the market, the school decided to opt for the Liko range.
"We wanted to invest in the best which, in our opinion, is Liko," comments Manual Handling Advisor Andrew Gullon. "It wasn’t the cheapest, but the quality really stood out. We also find the servicing from Liko to be excellent. Everything is done to an extremely high standard, and nothing is too much trouble. Liko’s representatives are extremely knowledgeable and if they don’t have the answer straightaway, they’ll find out and come back to us promptly – I’ve never had to chase! Plus the price of servicing the equipment is extremely competitive".
As well as the free standing overhead system, the school has five Golvo mobile lifts. Andrew continued, "The mobile lifts are easy to store and are useful when taking the students from room to room as you can actually walk somewhere without having to press a button to go forward. One of the advantages is that the mobile lifts have different speeds, so if any student feels fearful of being lifted you can let them go at a slower pace. The students like it when we can move around, and even dance with them."