The Bobath Centre is a specialist centre for CP kids in London. It is a private facility and has been forwarding the principles of the Bobath Concept, also known as Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT) in the USA. It is a specifically neurological directed treatment designed to help handle a child with CP. It’s principles revolve around a multi-disciplinary rehabilitation process, actively embracing the neuroplastic potential of the brain.
The Bobath Concept looks to help assess a child’s physical or sensory limitations and helps to devise strategies and coping mechanisms to improve function and independence. As a multidisciplinary approach it leans on 3 specific modalities; physio, OT and speech and language. It looks to demonstrate individual ways of supporting a child (often with the hands) to allow the child to develop their own methods to achieve a task, including self care. It also does not look to jump stages of development; showing the necessity to learn physical milestones in an appropriate order with an eye on improving future opportunity, not just with one milestone but the next and the next…
We see Charlie’s independence as our biggest goal- originally we were more short-sighted, ‘we will get Charlie to walk!’. However, as he grows and his character blooms, all we really want to see him do is things for himself and not rely on us or anyone else. We have tried to facilitate opportunities for Charlie to learn and develop his abilities himself- we feel it is so important for Charlie to be able to learn and develop the right building blocks for him to do what he needs.
Bobath is commonly used in Europe (Poland by origin) and many UK physiotherapists have taken courses to become technically proficient in it however, it is not the ‘go-to’ strategy behind many NHS services. Charlie’s private physio, Dan Woods PT Kids, is trained in Bobath and this helps focus the neuroplastic direction of Charlie’s therapy.
It has been criticised by some who feel that it is now something very different to the initial therapy proposed and performed in its foundation- however, surely it should? The model of Bobath very much embraces the developments in neuroscience and neuroplastic awareness and has evolved to utilise them as such!
As Bobath is not really an NHS funded treatment, particularly in our area, we have looked to use some of the Charlie’s Challenge fundraising to secure (and been accepted!) a 2 week assessment at the flagship Bobath Centre in London! It consists of a multi-disciplinary assessment and then 2 weeks of sessions tailored to Charlie’s assessment. It also focuses on educating parents of holding positions, activities and methods to continue the process at home. A detailed document is also produced detailing the assessment and therapy which can be used to help direct therapy with other practitioners- ‘singing off the same song sheet’. The therapy per day is purposely limited to short blocks and each day session is kept relatively small to also for the child’s interest to be maintained but also to allow for neuromodulation, the changes within the brain that occur- often by accident but learn an advantageous outcome!c
I hope it works as brilliantly as it has been described- we are fortunate to have friends ‘within the trade’ who have recommended such an endeavour. The only issue has been with funding- the cost for the 2 week assessment? £3900! (not including transport, accommodation, sustenance and activities!).
We await our date…!