Specialists in Cerebral Palsy

Bobath Therapy FAQ's

How does Bobath therapy differ from therapy offered in the community?

Bobath therapy is complementary to the service offered in the community. Our therapists only treat children with cerebral palsy (CP) and/or allied neurological conditions all day, every day. Therefore they have a lot of experience and are specialist in the assessment and treatment of people with CP, they understand how CP changes throughout a person’s lifetime and treatment may combine all 3 types of therapy (Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy) as appropriate to your child’s needs.

Our therapists fully involve and educate parents, carers and professionals involved in your child’s care, to help increase everybody’s understanding of CP and how it can affect your child as they develop.

Why not do it every day?

One of the aims of Bobath therapy is to empower families, so that they know how to help progress their child’s abilities and therefore build therapy into their everyday routine. By aiming to see the children at Bobath Children’s Therapy Centre Wales at least once a year, our therapists can review the child’s progress and development, as well as the current therapy programme, and reassess the child and family’s needs. We also try to work as closely as possible with the community therapists and other people involved in the child’s care to ensure that the benefits of the therapy are continued in every part of the child’s life.

What effect does it have?

Bobath therapy helps the child to gain more control of their bodies, to interact with their environment, and to achieve a greater level of independence. Bobath therapy also aims to reduce the problems that develop as the child gets older.

Therapists work with you, as well as other professionals involved in the care of your child, to develop your knowledge and skills so that you know where and how to handle your child therapeutically with the aim of being able to take your hands off when your child becomes more active.

Who were the Bobaths?

Berta Bobath was a Physiotherapist, who initially trained as a Remedial Gymnast. She understood normal movement and posture, and together with her husband Karel, who was a Paediatric Neurologist, Berta developed an approach to the treatment of cerebral palsy that would encourage a child to move and function to their best potential, while Karel researched the neurological implications of the Bobath approach.

Why is it used for the treatment of people who have suffered a stroke?

The foundations of Bobath Therapy come from when Mrs Bobath was working with stroke patients and shortly after with children with cerebral palsy. Both are conditions of the central nervous system (brain damage) and the Bobath principles are based on education or re- education of the nervous system towards more efficient function/movement

There is different training available for therapists working with adults who have had a stroke. At the Centre in Cardiff we only treat children/adults with cerebral palsy.

Why use three disciplines? (Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy)

Each discipline brings a different perspective to the treatment, complementing each other and enabling the therapy to address most aspects of the child’s development.

What is the difference between the three disciplines?

Each discipline has its own specific skills, but Bobath trained therapists have core skills that overlap. See this link for more information.

Is the therapy more effective for one type of cerebral palsy over another?

Bobath therapy is appropriate for all types of cerebral palsy, and can help all adults and children who have cerebral palsy. However, the outcome depends on age, severity of cerebral palsy, general health including epilepsy and associated difficulties such as learning, sensory and visual limitations and previous therapy input.

Why treat children when they’re very young?

Research evidence shows that it is easier to bring about changes in young children because their central nervous system has not fully matured and is more flexible (plastic). This means that providing therapy early can help the nervous system develop in the optimum way, giving the children experience of more typical movements before they have learned unhelpful habits that are harder to change. In line with this evidence, the Centre in Cardiff have started a service specifically for children under 2 ½.

Are there other centres?

Yes. The Bobaths opened a centre in London in the 1940’s. This is the main centre for training for clinicians and provides therapy for families in England (and some international children.)

Bobath Scotland opened its doors in 1995.