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Meet Amanda and Janet- our Occupational Therapy (Sewing) Technicians!

Janet and Amanda sewing garments
26 October 2023

Meet Janet Heap and Amanda Hassimi, our current Occupational Therapy (Sewing) Technicians, who have been working hard to provide our patients and families with a unique service for over 5 years.

Directed by our occupational therapists and physiotherapists, Janet and Amanda work together at our Ryegate Children’s Centre to create pressure garments and a large variety of equipment which support our patients and families at Sheffield Children’s and in the community. Amanda said: “We spend about half of our time working on our sewing machines, making pressure garments for our children and young people. Measurements are sent to us, and we draft bespoke patterns from which we make tight lycra garments that provide compression on the scarring and help with the healing process.”

Janet talked about working collaboratively with occupational therapists and physiotherapists to create other items such as positioning aids. These include inserts for buggies and highchairs which give additional support to children with low tone and poor trunk support.  Amanda said “we carve the inserts out of foam and then upholster them in fabric that matches their seating.  This enables families to use high street equipment rather than having to access specialist disability equipment whilst their babies are young”.

The pair agreed that no two working days are the same, and that each commission brings a new challenge and satisfaction when completed. Janet said: “For example, one of our patients uses a wheelchair and was struggling with activities of daily living due to the length of her school blazer. I shortened the blazer by 6 inches which made life a lot easier and more comfortable for her. She was really chuffed and was proud to look smart in her school photograph”.

Prior to her current role at Sheffield Children’s, Janet used her skills to make items for sensory rooms, create costumes for Weston Park Museum, and has had stints at the Crucible Theatre. Amanda combines her love of sewing with an undergraduate degree in physiotherapy, which allows her to help our patients and families in a unique way.

Janet and Amanda feel rewarded by the way in which they are able to support our patients and families in such a creative and unique way. Amanda said: “It’s really nice to have a creative role which is also useful and meaningful. We don’t always see the kids, but it’s always nice to receive positive feedback from them through our occupational therapists.

We’d like to thank Janet and Amanda for talking to us, and for all of the incredible work that they have been doing for our patients and families!

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