Patterns4Development programmes are carried out by parents at home. The aim is to take advantage of brain plasticity – the ability of the human brain to change.
The exercises, which are largely physical in nature, mimic the normal development of patterns of movement, which is often interrupted by an injury to the brain – or the presence of a genetic condition or syndrome – resulting in problems such as spasticity, low muscle tone, poor balance, a lack of muscular control and co-ordination and in some cases impaired vision and or hearing. The approach is often described as “patterning”.
Many of the activities are passive and are carried out by 2 or sometimes 3 people, others involve encouraging the child to produce output. Some simple equipment is sometimes required and the child will need space on the floor to move around. When a programme is designed for an adult with an acquired brain injury teams of 4 or 5 volunteers would be needed to carry out the exercises.
Programmes are generally around 30 minutes in length and consist of a series of activities lasting between 1 and 5 minutes each, some of which are carried out more than once during that time. Families are asked to repeat the programme in exactly the same order, aiming for a target of between 15 and 30 times each week depending on their circumstances and lifestyle and when additional help is available – where necessary, advice is given regarding how to reach these targets or enlist the help of volunteers. Further consultations are then scheduled at 6 monthly intervals to review progress and make adjustments to the programme.
Patterns4Development programmes have the best chance of being effective if started before the age of 3 or within 3 years of an acquired brain injury, but they can also be very helpful in reducing spasticity and dystonia or improving muscle tone in older children or adults with a longer post-trauma interval. They can also assist in re-educating the brain to develop control of movements following stem cell therapy or SDR.
No guarantees are given with regard to the level of progress that can be expected but it is hoped that every child, however severely affected, can show some level of improvement.
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