Bobath Therapy is a family-centred approach. Therapy begins with a discussion with the child and/or family affected by cerebral palsy, finding out their concerns and what they would like to achieve. We then start to look in detail at how a child moves, plays, communicates, gets dressed, eats, drinks and all the other things he/she likes and needs to do. We look at the child’s potential and consider what is impacting the child’s ability to achieve his/her best. Goals are then set jointly with the family.
We know that cerebral palsy affects each individual differently. Cerebral palsy affects posture and movement but also can affect sensation, vision, learning, communication, breathing, eating, and drinking. Because of this, Bobath therapy is as individual as each child. Within the Bobath Concept physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists work together, often within the same therapy session. We call this a transdisciplinary approach.
As part of the Bobath concept, we base our therapy on an understanding of the child’s muscle tone and how muscle activity is coordinated.
We use our handling to help the child learn more efficient ways of moving. We want to enable him/her to be able to participate in everyday tasks more effectively and efficiently, resulting in lasting changes. This is essential in order to help prevent less desirable changes in the future. We may make suggestions for changes to the child’s surroundings to increase possibilities and participation.
As Bobath therapists, we use our knowledge of how children develop and what skills lay the foundations for future abilities to guide our therapy. We also use our knowledge of how the brain controls, learns and refines movement (motor control and learning) in therapy. We understand how damage to a young brain can cause difficulties in development but also how to capitalise on a developing brain to learn to do new things.