My name is Saskia Grassie
I am a children’s Occupational Therapist (OT) working in the community in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear with children who have complex physical and learning disabilities. My background prior to OT was in costume making and design and my first degree in fashion and textiles. I have a special interest in children who have the need to chew and have recently been combining experience from both careers to design a chewable product in response to feedback from children and their adults in Gateshead. I was delighted to reach the finals in the North East NHS Bright Ideas in Health awards last year and have embarked on an exciting collaboration with Chewigem to bring the new idea to the market. The project is still in the development stage and we will be bringing you news as it progresses.
As part of the project, I have been gathering information on chewing needs, habits and preferences to raise awareness of the need to chew and to inform future product design. At the Autism Show in Birmingham, many visitors to the Chewigem stand kindly filled in a questionnaire and there is currently a survey open on SurveyMonkey which has already gathered some fantastic and informative responses.
I am passionate about sharing information from research in an engaging and accessible way and have been working over the past six months with a project called ‘The Academy of Creative Minds’ run by NHS Research and Development North West. Monthly workshops with academics and creative practitioners – a conductor, composer, comedienne, writer, theatre director and circus performer/director have explored the use of creative approaches to share health messages. The end result is my first ever film on the need to chew which incorporates the responses from the questionnaires completed at the Autism Show. Your feedback is valuable and I would be very interested to hear what you think of the film.
I will be contributing as a guest blogger for Chewigem and I look forwards to sharing results of the survey, news of the project, snippets of useful literature reviews and therapeutic strategies. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the film.