IMVULA THERAPY CENTRE
WHERE WE MOVE – PLAY – CARE
Imvula Therapy Centre started in August 2020 as we were slowly getting back to the new normal after the initial hard Lockdown from the COVID-19 Global Pandemic. At the time, it was obvious that the limited exercise and lack of physical social interactions was taking a toll on everyone, but even more so for people with disabilities. Full time care of a disabled person under normal circumstances is a challenge but add to that the monotonous days of Lockdown and these families really struggled! It was evident that we had to try to make their lives a little easier and ensure the continued development of the disabled community. Hence the vision of Imvula Therapy Centre, where we Move, Play and Care, was born. Our aim was, and still is, to assist with long-term maintenance therapy and activities whilst having FUN!
The Impact of Lockdown for Persons with Disabilities
Disruption of daily routines
Muscle stiffness from limited or no therapy
Poor posture from not sitting or lying correctly
Depression from limited social interactions
Frustration, aggression and / or meltdowns
Paula van Eeden
Imvula Therapy Centre was founded in August 2020 by Paula van Eeden. Paula has over 17 years’ experience working with children and adults with disabilities, and during the Global Pandemic in 2020; she saw the need for more home-based and individual care within the disabled community. Paula believes passionately in meeting this need to add value, not only for the disabled but also for their families, and hence took a bold step and forged forward with her home-based initiative.
Having previously worked at KZN Cerebral Palsy Association for 16 years as the Centre Manager, facilitating the day to day running of the centre for profoundly disabled children and adults with Cerebral Palsy, she is uniquely placed and experienced for this work. Paula focuses on exercise, seating, sensory activities and fun programmes, ensuring that the children do not miss out on their regular activities. She seizes every opportunity she can to empower children by facilitating their participation in initiatives like concerts, swimming, visits to Ushaka Marine World and even a trip in a light aircraft for her children whilst at KZN Cerebral Palsy Association.
Whilst working at KZN Cerebral Palsy Association, Paula supervised students and their facilitators from various departments of the University of KZN (Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Education), notably in 2016 when the fourth year Physiotherapy Students did their neuro-block rotation for the entire year at the Centre, enabling her to learn from them whilst she passed on her invaluable input with regards to persons with disabilities.
Paula was actively involved in Girl Guides South Africa from 1999 – 2015. She worked with both Brownies and Guides (7 – 14 years) as an Adult Leader. In 2010, she received her National Training Qualification and was part of the National Educational Programme Committee, which launched the new programme in 2015. An avid outdoor person, Paula enjoys camping and playing hockey, and the occasional ski trip.
Each person’s disability
Therapy is often given priority in younger children with disabilities, as the hope of early interventions and the adaptation of skills will give them greater opportunities growing up. However, this needs to be maintained into adulthood to prevent the condition from deteriorating.
Each person’s disability is unique. Yes, they are loosely categorized into different types of disabilities but still none are the same. One of the important things to understand from the start of a diagnosis of a disability, is that what works for one person may not necessarily work for the next. That is why, at Imvula Therapy Centre, we work on individualized programmes for each of our clients.
Sadly, we hear stories where families have been told that there is nothing more they can do for a person with disabilities, as there may be no treatment or magic pill that can reverse the damage. Long-Term Maintenance Therapy is crucially important as they get older.
Long-Term Therapy helps to prevent their muscles and joints from stiffening up and causing contractures (a fixed tightening of the muscle, tendons; or ligaments). Contractures can cause other issues with mobility, hygiene; and daily life activities.
For wheelchair users – It is important to get a wheelchair that is suited to the person’s needs which is adjusted and maintained regularly, especially as they grow!!