The Footsteps therapy programme combines traditional mat exercises with the use of a specialist piece of equipment called the ‘Spider’. The programme is individually tailored to the diverse needs of each child, ensuring that all children get the most out of the course. It focuses on physical rehabilitation but also responds to the physiological needs of each child. The dual focus of the programme is designed to impact on the physical, cognitive and developmental capabilities of disabled children.
- Developed in Poland, the ‘Spider’ enables therapists to carry out a full course of exercises in any chosen position.
- The child is placed in the centre of the frame whilst the therapist aligns the child’s body using elastic ropes. The ropes form a spider web around the child, providing essential support.
- The ‘Spider’ is currently not found anywhere else in the UK.
- The therapists often incorporate equipment such as trampolines, treadmills and balance boards to help stimulate the correct patterns of position and movement.
- Whilst taking a firm approach, the therapists integrate a range of games and toys to encourage young children to enjoy and get the most from their therapy.
- ‘Spider’ therapy focuses on the development of fundamental movements such as reaching, grasping and holding. The child can achieve the correct body positions for crawling, sitting, kneeling, one-legged kneeling and standing, as well as maintaining and changing between positions independently.
“After the confines and restrictions of a wheelchair and standing frame it is a joy to see my daughter Lucy kneeling, standing, stepping and even bouncing independently in the ‘Spider’. One visit and you are hooked!”
- In order to maximise function, the mat work focuses on facilitating proper movements as well as learning new skills and managing muscle tone and pathological patterns.
- The therapists incorporate traditional therapeutic equipment such as balls, physiotherapy rolls, trampolines, treadmills and ladders to facilitate therapy.
“After our first session James was able to take ten independent steps. After our second over fifty, and after the third, over seventy. Footsteps has helped him gain strength, confidence and increased his overall range of independent movement.”
Children enjoy a holistic approach to their rehabilitation and the therapists provide guidance and support both during the therapy session and on its completion.
At the end of a three week therapy session, parents are advised on how to maintain the progress of their child between therapy sessions. They are provided with an individually detailed home plan which includes recommended exercises.
Families are also entitled to purchase specialist equipment through Footsteps Foundation’s Equipment Bank project at a 50% reduced rate.
Benefits of the programme
- Encourages progress and development in even the most reluctant child
- Strengthens and tones muscles
- Improves balance, co-ordination and core stability
- Increases confidence and independence
- Children acquire new-found skills in everyday activities