Here's our Q&A with The Movement Centre — Scope | Disability forum
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Here's our Q&A with The Movement Centre

Ross_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,652 Disability Gamechanger

The Movement Centre is a UK charity and specialist treatment centre based in Oswestry, Shropshire that works to support disabled children living with conditions that can impact movement control.

They work closely with families to provide children with targeted training therapy, which can support children towards gaining control of their movement., learning new skills and developing independence. Like Scope, The Movement Centre believes that each and every child deserves equal access to education, technology and play time.

Targeted training involves using a specialised standing frame and works by placing the child in an upright position, the standing frame provides stability and support. The support happens directly beneath the area where movement control is a challenge. As progress is made the level of support may be lowered. The process mirrors the way in which movement control is naturally developed; from the head downwards. 

Q&A with The Movement Centre

We spoke to Jack, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist, from The Movement Centre to find out more about the work he and the charity does.

Jack and a young girl at her end assessment

How has the pandemic impacted what you do at The Movement Centre (TMC)? And when do you hope to be back working as normal?

The impact of the pandemic to TMC has been profound and has presented us with many challenges. Every aspect of our activity has been impacted.

Provision of Clinical Treatment - Like any other organisation we had to adapt to the 'new normal' and this entailed a step change in the way we went about our daily business as we needed to provide a COVID safe environment for the team and patients alike. To remain open, we had to adhere to strict COVID-19 standard operating procedures such as screening prior and on the day of the assessment, completion of a Covid-19 symptom screening and consenting to face-to-face treatment.

 Sessions currently involve a mixture of both remote and face-to-face delivery which reduces the contact time and mitigates the risk associated with transmission of COVID-19, but we certainly miss being as able to be as involved with the children as we were previously. Communication has been key, so we have kept in touch with the parents of the patients to reassure them that we could continue to provide the treatment safely.

 The pandemic has highlighted that we all have different risk tolerance levels, and this was particularly so with the parents that we engaged with - at one end of the spectrum some postponed the treatment whilst others were willing to attend. However, the ability of those who needed to travel from further afield proved problematic.

The ability to plan has been exceptionally difficult and there have been a few false horizons as we went from one lockdown to another, and this has created a great deal of uncertainty. That said, the success of the vaccine roll out has given us real cause for optimism albeit we are mindful that we need to err on the side of caution.

In a normal year, how many children receive Targeted Training Therapy?

In a normal year, we receive referrals for 50 children (on average) to undergo initial assessments to determine whether they would be appropriate for Targeted Training Therapy. In coming years, we hope to increase this amount as our capacity allows us to safely do so.

How many children has TMC provided the therapy to in its history?

Over our 25 year history, The Movement Centre has been able to provide Targeted Training therapy to over 600 children – and that figure does not include all of the children who we will have assessed and given advice to – even if they were not felt to be appropriate for Targeted Training or decided not to proceed with a course of therapy at this stage.

What sorts of things do the children and their families do at home to make the therapy more enjoyable and fun?

There are lots of things that children and their families can do to make Targeted Training fun and enjoyable. In most circumstances we are looking for a child to maintain an upright posture whilst freeing their hands of support; how and why they choose to do this can be catered to each individual’s interests! Some great examples that we have seen have included:

  • playing with balloons and/or bubbles, 
  • Assisting with baking and/or cooking. 
  • Punching a punch bag.
  • Helping to wash the family car.
  • Playing on a games console that use cameras to detect movements.

In recent years we have been involved in research with Liverpool John Moores University to develop virtual reality games that can be incorporated into our assessments and, more recently, we have been approached by other companies that incorporate gaming into therapy.

What are some examples of conditions that the children you treat have?

Many of the children we support have diagnoses of:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Down Syndrome
  • Global Developmental Delay
  • An Acquired Brain Injury
  • Genetic Disorders

And others are currently undiagnosed. We encourage families to contact us to determine whether we think we would be able to help irrespective of their diagnosis.

Would I need to live near to where TMC is based?

You don’t have to live near to TMC to receive our treatment; In fact, we see families from as far away as Scotland, Norfolk and London. However, families have to attend TMC for a review every 8 weeks and this includes bringing along Targeted Training equipment.

Is there a waiting list?

There is a short waiting list and availability for appointments often depends on what level of support we feel that your child will need in Targeted Training equipment. For example, if support is required above hip level, we will need to co-ordinate your appointment with availability of Engineering Technicians who will take measurements for your equipment to be made bespoke to your dimensions. a timeframe for making the equipment will be provided at this stage. If support is required from the hip down, then the process can be quicker as therapists can measure and set this up in-house on the day of your initial assessment.

How long have you, Jack, been doing what you do? And what is your favourite part about it?

I qualified as a physiotherapist in 2013 and started working in Paediatrics later that year, so I have accumulated over 7 years clinical experience in this area. My favourite part about my job is interacting with the children – I often find their outlook on life and resilience to difficulties faced refreshing and inspiring, and I take immense pride in having a positive impact on their functional abilities, which in-turn I hope will develop their independence and improve their well-being.

Thank you to Jack and The Movement Centre for speaking with us.

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  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community member Posts: 15,465 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you, Ross - a very interesting read about work that remains very close to my heart. I can agree totally with Jack's sentiments that working with such children is immensely rewarding when you're able to make a difference in their functional abilities. The Movement Centre sounds like a truly great place. :)
  • Caz_Alumni
    Caz_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 621 Pioneering
    Yes, thanks @Ross_Scope - and a big thank you to Jack and the Movement Centre, of course.

    Particularly interesting to read how the pandemic has affected the organisation and how everybody involved has had to find ways of adapting to the current situation

    Here's hoping that brighter days are on the horizon for them as we make our way out of lockdown :)
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  • Richard_Scope
    Richard_Scope Posts: 3,560 Scope online community team
    Thanks, @Ross_Scope and Jack
    Specialist Information Officer and Cerebral Palsy Programme Lead

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