Grace is a happy, fun loving girl who enjoys being around people. She loves playing with her twin Billy, friends, singing and going to school. She dislikes brushing her teeth – and not being able to move or speak like her friends.

This is because Grace was born extremely prematurely and worsened by an umbilical haemorrhage during labour. When she came into this world she weighed just one and a half pounds. No one knew if she would survive. Against the odds, she did and after nine months in hospital, was able to go home. But she now lives with severe cerebral palsy, epilepsy, learning difficulties and a visual impairment.

At the Bobath Centre we have 50 years experience of treating children with complex/multiple conditions and have been helping Grace since she was two. For her mother Jo, it has been a lifeline.

Bobath therapy works because the therapists here understand that every child is different; they don’t just put them in a box labelled ‘cerebral palsy’ or ‘muscle stiffness’ or anything else.

During her recent visit, Joanne discussed with Xanthe, her physiotherapist, how Grace found playing with her dolls frustrating. Every time she moved or got excited she tended to push herself backwards and away from her toys. Xanthe explained that the reason she did this was because her muscle tone goes up and down and this makes it difficult for her to control her posture.

Xanthe worked with Grace to use her posture more effectively, keeping her hands forward. This helped her stay closer to her toys and she became more active in her play.

Another concern was her inability to communicate her needs to those around her. Katy, her occupational therapist, asked her to use her eyes and voice more and this gave her independence.

Grace loves singing but, with limited voice control, she finds it hard to join in. We showed her how to use a switch control which she operates with her head and this has opened up Grace’s world.

When we all sang ‘Five little ducks went swimming one day’ she was able to turn her head triggering a recording that sang ‘Mother duck said ‘Quack, quack, quack, quack’!’

Now she is engaged, in control and making her own decisions.

Grace is one of thousands of children whose independence, health and quality of life have improved either by visiting the Bobath Centre, or by a Bobath therapist trained by us.

Our physio, occupational and speech & language therapists are dedicated to helping children do the things most of us take for granted as we grow up – like walking, talking or playing with toys. They understand the condition in all its infinite varieties and are able to improve a child’s physical wellbeing and encourage them to be more self-reliant. Bobath therapy can be a life-changing experience giving children independence, confidence and the chance of a brighter future. Or, as Jo put it:

Coming to the Bobath Centre helps Grace to get the most out of her life and the people in it. Mum, Jo