World cerebral Palsy Day, 2nd October 2013

Unhappy child looking over mum's shoulder

Digby Brown are proud to support Bobath Scotland, a Scottish charity devoted to improving the quality of life for children and adults with cerebral palsy. 

Tuesday 2nd October is World Cerebral Palsy Day.   Below is some information from Bobath Scotland on Cerebral Palsy and the work they do across Scotland. 

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What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a permanent disorder of posture and movement resulting from brain damage occurring in the baby or young child before, during or after birth.  Everyone is affected differently, both in the type of cerebral palsy and the severity.

Are there different types of cerebral palsy?

There are three main classifications of cerebral palsy, all of which are likely to include additional difficulties such as those outlined above:-

Spastic cerebral palsy is when the muscles are stiff and weak. Children who have this condition tend to hold their bodies in certain characteristic ways and have limited movement.

Athetoid cerebral palsy causes the tone in the muscles to change quickly from floppy to stiff and makes arms, legs and body move excessively in a way that is hard for the child to control.

Ataxic cerebral palsy affects balance and causes unsteady movement.

What causes cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy results from brain damage occurring before, during birth or in the first two years of life. The damage affects the messages being received by and sent from the brain, as well as the way in which the brain interprets the messages it receives.

How many people are affected by cerebral palsy?

Around 17 million people worldwide have CP.  In the UK about 1 in 500 births result in a diagnosis of CP.  It is the most common cause of childhood disability.

What does CP mean for people who are affected?

At least two thirds of children with CP will have movement difficulties that may affect some or all limbs.  This can impact on almost every day activity – walking, talking, eating, dressing, writing, playing.

Does the cerebral palsy get worse?

No, the injury to the brain occurs before during or immediately after birth and does not worsen.  However, the associated impact on movement and development can worsen with conditions such as scoliosis and respiratory conditions. 

What is the life expectancy of someone with cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is not terminal. Each person is affected differently, both in the type of cerebral palsy and the severity. Some children with cerebral palsy have other associated conditions, such as epilepsy and respiratory complications, which can lead to a shortened life expectancy (this is only in a minority of children).

Where does Bobath therapy and the name originate from?

Bobath therapy takes its name from Dr. Karel and Mrs. Berta Bobath who pioneered the treatment during the 1940’s. While treating a painter who had suffered a stroke, Berta Bobath discovered a new method of treating spasticity which over time has been developed as a unique problem solving approach to helping people with different types of cerebral palsy. The Bobath Concept has subsequently developed into a therapy approach that is still relevant today.

What is Bobath therapy?

The main aim of Bobath therapy is to encourage and increase the person’s ability to move and function in as normal a way as possible. More normal movements cannot be obtained if the person stays in a few positions and moves in a limited or disordered way. With the intervention of Bobath therapy we help people change their abnormal postures and movements so that they are able to comfortably adapt to the environment and develop a better quality of functional skills.

Bobath involves a trans-disciplinary approach that includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy. The basis of the approach is to use specialised techniques to elicit responses that may derive from physical, aural or visual stimuli. These then create a repertoire of movement patterns that enable people to participate in daily activities. Bobath is a holistic approach involving family members, carers, local therapists and teachers who, by attending and participating in the therapy sessions, can continue good practice between treatments.

What does Bobath Scotland do for people with cerebral palsy?

Over the last 18 years we’ve delivered over 33,000 individually tailored therapy sessions giving children the chance to reach their full potential, helping them move better, communicate better and supporting them on the road to as much independence as possible within their capacity.  We’ve given families the skills to support their child and provided practical and emotional support when needed. We’ve trained hundreds of community therapists, doctors and classroom assistants and shared our knowledge with the wider community across Scotland.

How much does Bobath therapy cost?

Most children attend for intensive blocks of therapy lasting for up to six weeks, depending on individual need. Including the cost of evaluation and home reports/reference DVD, a block of therapy for each child costs up to £5,000. Each session lasts approximately 1 hour 15 minutes and while up to three therapists can be involved during sessions, more usually there are two involved.  Adults tend to come for more regular treatments which cost £130 per therapists per hour.

How much do Bobath need to raise each year to keep the centre open?

Currently we need to raise around £650,000 this year, 80% of which will come from voluntary sources.

How do Bobath raise the money?

If a child's NHS health Board does not cover the cost of the treatment block, we will aspire to allocate funding to each child through other sources. We apply for funds from a select group of charitable trusts; run our own established fundraising events; and encourage individuals, businesses, schools and community groups to fundraise on our behalf. We also encourage families to fundraise themselves with our assistance.  Adult treatment has been funded by the Robertson Trust, but long term this either has to be self-funded or assessed as part of an individual’s self-directed care package.