Four Rivers Behavioral Health’s Creative Enterprises participants build learning table for other clients

PADUCAH, KY – Recently, Four Rivers Behavioral Health’s Creative Enterprises participants completed a project that not only benefited them during the project, but also will benefit their fellow clients for years to come. Creative Enterprises is Day Training program for adult clients with an Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities.

The Creative Enterprises Program works to provide job training and daily living skills along with recreational activities. The ultimate goal for those participating in Day Training is to become independent and self-sufficient in daily life and the community. Currently the Creative Enterprises program space does not have enough room for an area totally dedicated to Multi-Sensory Stimulation, so staff got together to brainstorm solutions.

Sensory simulation is an important part of the Day Training program because many participants have trouble with fine motor skills and some have aversions to tactile stimulation. Sirena Snelling, a clinical associate in the Creative Enterprises Program began researching alternatives to a dedicated sensory room that could provide clients with the sensory stimulation that they need in the space that was available.

Snelling said, “I began working with our program participants and with their help we created a few Sensory Bins for Tactile Stimulation. We made a water station, a sand station, and a kinetic sand station.”

Seeing the need for even more, Snelling along with Bill Corley, another clinical associate, researched and then designed a Tactile Fidget and Fine-Motor Skills Table. The two developed the design around a large wooden table that they already had in the program space.

Taking the project a step further, Snelling and Corley decided that Creative’s clients could learn from building the table as well as using it after it was completed.

Snelling said, “Our folks helped us through every step of the process. They scraped off old layers of paint and varnish using paint scrapers and sand paper. Then, clients went with us to help choose the hardware and supplies for the table.”

By engaging clients in the process, they learned skills in using tools such as screwdrivers and saws as well as how to shop in stores. Both of these are skills that are paramount to being more self-sufficient and are learning goals of the Creative Enterprises program.

During construction of the table, staff used Hand-Over-Hand Modeling Techniques to help teach. Hand-Over-Hand Modeling is when someone physically puts their hands over someone else’s to guide them. For example, teaching someone how to use an electric drill by placing a skilled person hands over the hands of someone without that skill set.

“After they got the hang of using the drill, wood gouges, chisels and the like, I was able to take a step back and use verbal encouragement and prompting to complete the task.” Said, Corley.

After the construction, clients then helped complete the project by painting the sides and legs of the table. To add interest and a degree of difficulty to help encourage additional learning, painter’s tape was used as a guide to create geometric designs on the table top and legs.

The table is designed with Auditory, Visual, and Tactile Stimulation in mind, along with helping clients to increase hand strength by screwing nuts onto bolts, spinning a fidget spinner or locking and unlocking different types of locks.

Snelling said, “We even added nuts and fender washers to the fidget spinners to give them that satisfying “skate board wheel” sound that our clients love and is great for auditory stimulation. The whole thing is painted in an analogous color scheme using blues, yellows, and greens.”

“We wanted the colors to be fun and stimulating but not overwhelming. These are the same colors that clients chose to paint the program space a few years ago.” Said Corley.

The table includes elements that clients would interact with in every day life such as doorknobs, locks, power outlets, magnets, a clock, a seat belt buckle and more. The table can be accessed from all four sides to help promote social interaction.

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Four Rivers Behavioral Health is a private, not-for-profit agency that for more than 50 years has provided comprehensive mental health, substance abuse and developmental/intellectual disability services to clients in Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Livingston, McCracken, and Marshall Counties.

For more information about our programs for those with an Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities, like our Creative Enterprises Day Training Program, contact Four Rivers Behavioral Health at 270.442.7121 or visit the company’s website at www.4RBH.org.

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