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The Bobath approach was developed by Dr Karel Bobath and Mrs Berta Bobath in the 1950s.
Bobath holistic therapy explores ways of encouraging more natural movement patterns that can be integrated into everyday life. The Bobath approach recognises that each person with cerebral palsy is an individual and that therapy requires to be tailored for each individual. It is not a rigid regime of exercises.
The Bobath concept involves a trans-disciplinary approach involving occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy.
Uses specific handling techniques to help people to relax and mobilise their muscles and joints. This improves the person's quality of posture and movement, enabling them to move more freely and be more stable and comfortable. It is only when someone can achieve a safe and supported position that they are ready to learn to interact with their environment.
Aims to maximise the person's potential for independence with daily activities and , when working with children, will frequently use play and exploration to develop and learn many skills.
Cerebral palsy can sometimes affect a person's perceptual and sensory ability and their judgment of spaces and distances. Occupational therapy seeks to help overcome this through using carefully graded activities so that they can move and use their eyes and hands more effectively to dress, eat, read, write and take part in other activities.
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 people may also experience problems eating and drinking.
People can employ many methods to communicate. By using their eyes and hands, or pictures and symbols, or even computers and voice output communication aids, someone with cerebral palsy can interact with others.
Bobath therapy combines these disciplines to give people with cerebral palsy 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.