starTherapies

This becomes a real minefield for parents – there are may Therapies out there and it is very difficult to know what actually works and will make a difference to your child. Everyone has an opinion and most of the evidence on non-traditional therapies is anecdotal. These Therapies can be very expensive but also very time consuming and I have learnt (the hard way) it is important that they don’t take over your life. After our son’s accident we scoured the internet, it was difficult not having all the therapies in one place – this next section aims to outline as many Therapies as possible but of course there will always be more. Please help us to build this section by sending in any Therapies that are missing. We aim to provide the knowledge to parents so that they can make their own decisions – Knowledge is Power!

starOccupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy – provides practical support to people of all ages to overcome the effects of disability caused by illness, ageing or accident so that they can carry out everyday tasks and reach their full potential. Occupational Therapist’s will provide advice on adapting your living or working space (ground floor living, hoists etc), home seating i.e. not wheelchair but alternative seating for you at home.

For further information please visit: NHS – Occupational Therapy

starPhysiotherapy

Physiotherapy helps people affected by pain, injury or disability through movement, exercise and heat therapy. Their aim is to identify and improve movement and function in the body, in particular neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

NHS – Physiotherapy

starSpeech & Language Therapy

Here the focus is on restoring loss of speech or ability to put words together correctly as well as basic skills such as swallowing, chewing or forming basic words sounds.

See: Speech & Language Therapy Support

starHydrotherapy

This is literally the use of exercises in a heated pool as part of treatment for pain relief normally lead by a Physiotherapist. The use of warm (around 34 degrees centigrade), deep water can alleviate the discomfort of physical discomfort and can allow for a greater range of movement. The buoyancy of the water reduces pressure on the joints and provides a relaxing weightlessness. The benefits of hydrotherapy are key in rehabilitation and can reduce muscle pain and spasms, strengthen weak muscle, improve posture and balance.

Hydrotherapy sessions are available on the NHS, and most hospitals have access to hydrotherapy pools. Any member of the healthcare team should be able to refer you to an NHS physiotherapist if they think you might benefit from hydrotherapy. In some parts of the UK you can also refer yourself to a physiotherapist, who’ll assess whether hydrotherapy would be suitable for you. Check with your GP to find out if an NHS physiotherapist in your area will accept self-referrals. You can also choose to use private healthcare, but it’s important to be aware that in rare instances private hydrotherapy may be unregulated, and so the quality of the changing areas, the water or general environment can vary enormously. Check before your treatment starts that you’re happy with the facility. A qualified physiotherapist will be registered with the Health Professionals Council (HPC), and it’s recommended that you see someone who’s a member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) and who’s accredited by the Aquatic Therapy of Chartered Physiotherapists (ATACP).

starConductive Education

Conductive education is an intensive, multi-disciplinary approach to education, training and development for individuals with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other motor challenges. Conductive Education was developed in 1945 in Hungary by Dr. Andras Peto. Peto theorized that people with disabilities are characterized by disintegrated function. His theory was that this may be overcome, and that co-ordinated functioning can be developed through an indirect cognitive route involving teaching and learning. The rehabilitative plan should be produced for the person, not for the function. The plan is not symptoms or lesion centered but focused on the personality. Conductive Education integrates medical knowledge with educational methods to enable the individual to learn how to gain control over his or her movements. Children are taught to see themselves as active and self-reliant participants in the world. The goal of CE is the socio-cultural integration of children with these motor disorders by assisting the child to develop an ortho-functioning personality. Orthofunction is the ability to solve the problems of daily living, such as dressing, eating, practicing personal hygiene, and other activities that are part of daily life and will allow the child to ultimately live as independently as possible. The achievements learned through conductive education increase confidence, self esteem and provide problem-solving skills for daily activities. The result of conductive education is that the quality of life is improved as well as the psychological well being of the child and family.

‘Ask me not what I can do for children with cerebral palsy, but ask me what they can learn to do for themselves’

Wiki – Conductive Education
The National Institute of Conductive Education

starHyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

This involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room. Traditionally it is used for decompression sickness after scuba diving, it is also used for serious infections, bubbles of air in your blood and the healing of wounds. The aim is to increase oxygen in the bloodstream, which then increases the amount available to organs such as the brain and improves the healing process.

According to the charity ‘A breath of Life’ “The air that we breathe usually provides enough oxygen for both normal body metabolism and the repair of tissue damage after injury or illness. However, tissue damage or disease also involves the blood vessels within the tissue and this may reduce blood flow. So, just when more oxygen is needed, the supply is reduced and recovery may be limited or even prevented. By increasing the concentration of oxygen in the blood more can be delivered to damaged tissue to establish normal oxygen values and so allow recovery to take place.

Oxygen is transported dissolved in the blood and also in combination with haemoglobin in the red blood cells. Although haemoglobin carries most of the oxygen, it is only the dissolved oxygen that passes into the tissues. Breathing high levels of oxygen under hyperbaric conditions dissolves more in all of the body’s fluids and so more can reach areas where the circulation is diminished or blocked and so improve recovery. The extra oxygen has additional benefits because it greatly enhances the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria. It also reduces swelling and allows new blood vessels to grow more rapidly into the affected areas.”

A Breath for Life
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Trust

starABR

ABR is a unique rehabilitative approach for children and young adults with cerebral palsy and other brain injuries delivering predictable recovery of the muscular skeletal structure and motor functions. ABR is a gentle, home-based, hands-on therapy, performed by parents and carers, who learn ABR techniques and receive an individually tailored program of movements from ABR professional staff.

ABR methods deliver mechanical stimulation to weakened parts of the body, through a variety of compressional techniques. This increases the internal strength and volume of the child with cerebral palsy, allowing the natural process of strengthening to recommence.

ABR can rebuild even the most severely distorted muscular skeletal structure; redefining “rehabilitation” by improving the muscular skeletal structure so significantly that normal motor functions recover spontaneously, making special training unnecessary. We are just about embark on this treatment and I will update our progress.

ABR Scotland
ABR

For further information on all therapies please see SCOPE