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Market Deeping preschool group seeks to support more children with sensory impairments

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A preschool group for children with sensory problems hopes to support more families in need.

Mini Magpies is a specialist play and communication group for children with visual and hearing impairments.

It offers a range of play and communication activities based on the children’s individual needs.

The group helps children with multi-sensory impairments
The group helps children with multi-sensory impairments

Group leader Nicky Burgess said: “We offer families opportunities to access specialist support from professionals with knowledge and experience of children with multi-sensory difficulties.

“Weekly meetings also enable families to make new connections and to learn new skills to support their child’s play and communication development.”

The group is based at Sense’s Manor Lodge base in Market Deeping and is free to attend.

Charlie Clucas with Mini Magpies leader Nicky Burgess
Charlie Clucas with Mini Magpies leader Nicky Burgess

The building boasts a large sensory room with specialist resources, changing facilities, a hydrotherapy pool, outdoor space, a kitchen and living room.

Nicky, who has been in her role for more than five years, would love to hear from parents who could benefit from the group’s set-up.

Among its members are Andrew Clucas, who grew up in Bourne, and his wife Nikki, who attend with their children Mia, five, and Charlie, three.

Both children are severely disabled and registered as blind, but Andrew says the Mini Magpies group has been a huge help.

“We felt a bit lost after getting Mia’s diagnosis.

"Nikki was finding that other groups just didn’t benefit Mia and being the odd one out was upsetting for her.

“Going to Mini Magpies was an absolute lightbulb moment for us.

“We felt like we belonged and everything was geared towards giving our daughter a chance to develop in her own way and discover her likes and dislikes.

“There’s also a conveyor-belt of knowledge there, with other parents on different stages of their journey passing information down that is absolutely vital for families.

“When we had Charlie and he also had additional needs, Mini Magpies allowed us to use their facilities from when he was two weeks old.

“He is still attending now and benefitting from Nicky’s expert help and support.

“The equipment and toys that they have are very expensive and niche, so it’s great to be able to use them and discover which things are worth investing in yourself.

“I’d encourage any parent with a child that has multi-sensory needs to take their child there, it was a real game-changer for us.”

To find out more about Mini Magpies email the group leader at nicola.burgess@sense.org.uk

Advice is also available from the charity at Sense info@sense.org.uk or www.sense.org.uk

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