Neurokinex Kids – a paediatric spinal cord injury rehabilitation facility near Gatwick – is bringing breakthrough therapies to children living with Cerebral Palsy. The success of its protocols and approach comes not a moment too soon with the number of children with CP in England and Wales estimated to increase 7.5% percent by 20201.
Neurokinex Kids’ therapies for Cerebral Palsy focus primarily on relieving spasticity and improving strength and range of motion. Emphasis is put on developing motor control and functional skills, including gait, balance and transfers in and out of a wheelchair. Fine motor skills and bilateral hand coordination are also worked on with the overall aim to increase children’s independence in everyday activities.
Neurokinex delivers specialist neurological rehabilitation and therapies tailored to each child’s needs and typically look to address:
- Increase range of motion in the lower body (hips, legs, ankles, and feet) and upper body (shoulder, elbow, wrists and hands)
- Increase strength and motor control
- Improve balance and coordination
- Develop and improve walking and transitional movements
- Develop and improve gross and fine motor skills
- Incorporate new patterns of moving into functional skills
- Develop smooth coordinated movement
In most CP cases, the neural pathways develop intact prior to birth so have the capacity to function. Our programmes set out to excite the nervous system and awaken dormant pathways while also treating the life-impacting symptoms presented by the disability. We work differently to traditional rehab or physiotherapy by using activity-based rehabilitation (ABR) techniques that involve the whole body in activity
Jenny Suggitt, Occupational Therapist and Centre Manager at Neurokinex Gatwick
At Neurokinex Kids, children leave their wheelchairs and take part in assisted standing, stepping, climbing and playing. Not only does this optimise the strength and endurance of the muscles that are functioning, it also stimulates the muscles affected by the condition. Neurokinex tailors its therapies to each child to suit their ability and age and is treating upwards of 30 children aged two to 14 years old. The therapies are presented as play with the Neurokinex Kids gym providing the perfect backdrop to put the ‘fun’ back into functional movement.
“Cerebral Palsy is a neurological condition and, although there is limited research specific to children with CP, we are seeing success through applying research completed on adults with neurological conditions,” explains Jenny. “Overall, we try to generate reflex activity in order to allow them to gain experience of the movements,” she says. “By physically assisting them into positions that allow their body to experience these sensations, we hope they can gain voluntary control over those movements.”
Two key protocols
Neurokinex is an affiliated partner of the NeuroRecovery Network, established by the late Superman actor Christopher Reeve and his wife Dana. The only affiliate outside the US, Neurokinex is able to use its two unique protocols to achieve success.
Locomotor Training (LT) comprises a sophisticated treadmill programme that aims to reawaken dormant nerve pathways by repetitively stimulating nerves and muscles in the lower body to retrain the spinal cord to ‘remember’ the pattern of walking. LT improves trunk control in children with recent research (1) showing 100% of children improved their trunk control after the completion of intensive LT blocks (1.5h per day, 5 days per week, for 60 sessions)
Wide Pulse Stimulation (WPS) targets many muscles at the same time when administered as part of active therapy. Applying an electrical stimulus through electrodes as the individual performs an exercise or functional task signals the central nervous system to develop new pathways or strengthen existing ones.
For more information see http://www.neurokinex.org
- Developmental Medicine & Children Neurology, “Predicting the prevalence of cerebral palsy by severity level in children aged 3 to 15 years across England and Wales by 2020”