Physiotherapy : Kõmiri

With its origins in ancient Greek massage, it is interesting that the term mirimiri is used in Maori as the closest translation for physiotherapist, as this too is the traditional holistic healing tradition or massage technique of the Maori. Today modern physiotherapists, like all of our therapists, are highly trained clinicians who use their in-depth knowledge of how the body works, combined with hands-on clinical skills, to assess, diagnose and treat a wide range of physical health problems/conditions.

Whilst commonly well known for treating injuries, physiotherapists have the skills to treat and prevent a range of health problems involving: joints, bones and soft tissue; heart, chest and lung conditions; brain and nervous system. For children who have special needs their involvement in the overall programmes they receive at school is essential, not just for their overall well-being/hauora but for their engagement in learning and social activities.

In simple terms our school therapist Susie Nyika, who is also our Therapy Team Manager, works with and alongside our whole therapy and teaching teams, liaising closely with medical staff and family/whanau to ensure all children’s physical needs are met. The programmes she develops vary tremendously depending on the needs of a student. For example, a child might not be able to walk up a flight of steps so Susie may develop a programme to enable him or her to work towards developing the skills necessary to do this, another student may be reliant on adapted equipment to sit or stand and Susie will ensure firstly that these are correctly fitted and then train the child and staff in how to use them. This type of thing enables children to access learning and social activities previously denied them in a safe and comfortable manner.

In the classroom Susie helps staff to differentiate not just PE lessons but also other learning areas and seeks to combine the therapeutic benefits of her programmes within the normal context of school life where ever possible. Up skilling staff is a core part of Susie’s work and this ensures that a wide range of daily programmes are carried out for the benefit of the students – everything from correct positioning and stretching exercises to hydrotherapy and fitness based exercise programmes.