The Down Syndrome Foundation of Madrid counts on its experience with NeuronUP and the opportunity that telerehabilitation represents for both professionals and patients.
The work of Down Madrid
The Madrid Down Syndrome Foundation is an organization that currently supports more than 1,300 people with intellectual disabilities of all ages, including their families.
It has the following services and lines of activity: Early Care Center, Family School Program, two Special Education schools, an Occupational Center, a Volunteer Service to support people with intellectual disabilities to volunteer in other organizations. As well as, a program of Promotion of Autonomous Life, Service of Leisure, Sport and Culture, Training and Support in Information and Communication Technology, Psychological Intervention, Speech Therapy and Psychopedagogy, FOCUS Program (post-compulsory training), Employment Support Service and a program of support to Adult Life and Aging.
How Down Madrid works
Cognitive training is one of the pillars of our interventions. For over 30 years, we have and continue to use different formats and exercises that help us work on cognitive functions.
Attention, orientation, memory, executive functions, language, social cognition, visuospatial skills, are skills that we work on daily basis with the participants. And we work on them in different “ways”: group, individual, with cards, with games, with proposals of daily life, challenges…
NeuronUP & Down Madrid
In March 2020 we incorporated NeuronUP into our toolset and ways of working at Down Madrid.
Confinement promotes telerehabilitation
The confinement produced by the health crisis served as a catalyst for us to incorporate it. The participants could not attend their usual services in person and NeuronUP is a tool that adapts very well to “tele-intervention“. The satisfaction of the participants, their families and the professionals who used NeuronUP during the confinement period was very high. It allowed to work in a very adequate and personalized way the cognitive functions and some academic skills. And, in addition, we could do it in a pleasant way, which caused the participants to have a good adherence to the intervention even in such a complex situation.
Down Madrid today
Since September 2020, most of the participants in Down Madrid are attending their usual centers and services. We continue to work with NeuronUP, but now we are proposing intervention programs at the centers. We have developed a program of gradual implementation of the tool with the aim of reaching all services. Currently, participants from schools, occupational center, employment training, employment, intervention and adult life and aging, are working regularly with this tool.
The experience of working with NeuronUP
From our experience, we mainly highlight the large number of different activities that there are, the wide range of cognitive functions that can be worked on, the possibility of individualizing each intervention and, above all, that it is attractive and entertaining for the participants. Without motivation there is no learning. And since we have started working with it, we observe a high motivation in the use of the tool for those who use it.
Flexibility for patients and professionals
Although the vast majority of participants work with the tool in the centers they attend, there is a group that is working the sessions from home with NeuronUP2GO. They are people who, being a population at risk, have not yet been able to join the face-to-face activity. Having incorporated NeuronUP, the people who cannot attend the sessions in person, do the same sessions from home that their colleagues do in the center.
Other people who are also making use of this modality of working from home are those who, for different reasons, require a greater emphasis on cognitive training. In a city as large as Madrid, it is very difficult to go two or three times a week to receive face-to-face treatment at the Down Madrid centers. Therefore, the possibility of receiving this treatment from home is especially useful and positive.
A great advantage is being able to propose and monitor the interventions from the center, so that participants do not have the need to come and can participate from home. One of the profiles where we are developing this type of telerehabilitation is with the elderly. In many cases they have many difficulties to come physically to our centers and it is a group in which cognitive training is especially important. The participants, their families and us as professionals are very happy with this way of working.
How to carry out an effective intervention
As in any intervention modality, a good initial evaluation of the participant is essential, allowing us to detect the areas that require more work. Also the detection of the strong points.
The vast majority of the sessions are carried out by the participant at home, but we have seen that it is positive to include throughout the intervention some face-to-face session with the professional who coordinates the intervention. We take advantage of these sessions to resolve doubts, to observe some difficulties and strengths that with the telerehabilitation we do not detect and to create or reinforce the link between the participant and the therapist. In short, to be able to personalize the treatments more and improve our intervention.
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