Specialists in Cerebral Palsy

What is Bobath Therapy?

Bobath therapy is an effective holistic approach for children and young adults with all types of cerebral palsy regardless of the severity, age or accompanying disabilities, and is practised all over the world. It combines occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy and aims to give each child the skills to explore the world, communicate their needs and participate as much as possible, not just in therapy sessions, but in all aspects of their lives.

Bobath Therapy is as individual as each child.

The main aim of treatment is to encourage and increase the child’s own movement and functional abilities in more typical ways. Children and young people with cerebral palsy usually have reduced variety of movement and postures. Bobath therapy aims to increase their variety of movement and change atypical postures. This helps them to adapt to their environment and develop better quality of movement and bigger repertoire of functional skills.

Cerebral Palsy is a life-long condition and Bobath therapists consider this when assessing the child’s therapy needs and future therapy management. The Bobath core principles are family centred.

Bobath therapy is an transdisciplinary approach involving physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy.

It combines these disciplines to enable the therapy to address most aspects of child development and help each child to gain the skills to explore the world, communicate their needs and participate as much as possible, not just in therapy sessions, but in all aspects of their lives.

All Bobath therapists have successfully completed the 8-week basic Bobath training and may have attended further advanced Bobath training. This ensures that Bobath therapists from each discipline are able to work in a transdisciplinary way, whilst remaining specialist within their own professional field.

Bobath trained Physiotherapist:

  • Analyses posture and movement within functional activities
  • Sets meaningful goals with family
  • Decides on treatment plan accordingly

Aims to:

  • Change atypical tone
  • Mobilise tight structures
  • Activate appropriate muscle groups
  • Strengthen weak muscles
  • Improve quality of posture and movement with hands-on
  • Take hands off to increase child’s own activity
  • Encourage child’s problem-solving skills to improve independence
  • Work within appropriate context to improve functional skills
  • Some overlapping skills with occupational therapy and speech and language therapy

Bobath trained Occupational Therapist:

  • Analyses posture and movement within functional activities
  • Sets meaningful goals with family
  • Decides on treatment plan accordingly

Aims to:

  • Improve quality of posture and movement with hands on
  • Take hands off to increase child’s own activity
  • Optimise perceptual skills
  • Optimise sensory processing
  • Work within appropriate context to improve functional skills
  • Maximise the child’s potential for independence within daily activities such as dressing, cutlery skills, writing
  • Some overlapping skills with physiotherapy and speech and language therapy
  • Often uses play and exploration to develop and learn many skills

Cerebral palsy can sometimes affect a child’s perceptual and sensory ability and their judgement of spaces and distances. Occupational therapy seeks to help overcome this through using carefully graded activities so that the child can move and use their eyes and hands more effectively to dress, eat, read, write and play with friends.

Bobath trained Speech & Language Therapist:

  • Analyses general posture and specific oral motor ability
  • Sets meaningful goals with family
  • Decides on treatment plan accordingly
  • Improving quality of posture and movement in order to communicate and in relation to oral motor ability and speech breathing
  • Take hands off to increase child’s own activity
  • Work within appropriate context to improve functional skills with regards to eating, drinking and communication including access to AAC
  • Maximise the child’s potential for independence with daily activities
  • Some overlapping skills with physiotherapy and occupational therapy

Speech and Language Therapy deals not only with communication and speech but with all aspects of oral movement. Difficulties in co-ordinating the muscles necessary for speaking mean that children may also experience problems eating and drinking.

A child can employ many methods to communicate. By using their eyes and hands, or pictures and symbols, or even computers and voice output communication aids, a child with cerebral palsy can interact with others.