Masons grant will help Aylesbury PACE centre youngsters thrive

Speech and Language Therapist Amy Bennett with one of the children
Speech and Language Therapist Amy Bennett with one of the children

A Vale children's charity will be able to help even more youngsters develop their communication skills thanks to a grant from the Masons.

The Pace Centre recently received a grant from The BMCF (Buckinghamshire Masonic Centenary Fund) for £3980 enabling it to buy materials to construct a set of bespoke PODD books for ten of its students. PODD stands for Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display and the books take 24 man-hours to compile.

They are used by children with complex communication needs and consist of selected and organised sets of symbols.

Many of the students have movement problems in addition to their communication difficulties (such as cerebral palsy) and can select the symbols by eye movement allowing communication with their communication partner.

The advantage of this low- tech system is that it is portable and can be with the student at all times allowing their essential needs to be understood as well as allowing communication with teachers, parents and peers.

This can alleviate discomfort, frustration and unhappiness both in the school environment and in and out of the home.

They recently received a visit from two Buckinghamshire Freemasons, Phil Blacklaw (Bucks Assistant Provincial Grand Master) and Andrew Hough (Secretary of the BMCF).

They were interested to see how the donation was helping children at the school.

The Pace Centre had two sites in the Aylesbury area and serves children from the whole of Buckinghamshire as well as some from adjoining counties.

The school has 34 students on the roll but supports over 300 children.

The centre commented that the books will have very heavy use and will need to be expanded as each child’s vocabulary increases allowing them to maintain academic progress.