This is Tommy and Theo Penna….. they are 10yrs and 6yrs old respectively.
Both boys have cerebellar hyperplasia which is a form of ataxic cerebral palsy. This is the form of cerebral palsy in which muscle tone is too low rather than too high. They are floppy, with weak muscles, hypermobile joints.
Tommy was born at full term, with no complications he was a happy normal baby but at about 9months old we noticed he wasn’t moving as he should. Eventually following exhaustive investigations he was diagnosed with cerebellar hyperplasia, a small cerebellum, so has very little in the way of balance, co-ordination and muscle tone. The neurologist said it was a complete one off, with no explanation………….
We welcomed Theo into the world following a similarly fuss free pregnancy and birth ( albeit he had more scans than is normal but all was well in utero) Again at around 9months old he showed the same signs and was not hitting regular milestones. The paediatrician and neurologist confirmed he presented with the same condition as Tommy. Again no explanation we were just unlucky.
The nature of their disability means that neither of the boys can walk unaided. Both use walking frames to get around. Their speech is very difficult to understand, they cannot write, tie a shoelace, do a clip or button, are prone to falling over and generally struggle to co-ordinate everything they do.
Medical experts say we were unlucky. No!!
They are healthy, happy, fabulous boys who do not let their disability get in the way of living their lives. They access mainstream school, are bright, intelligent and full of fun!!
For some years Tommy has been having weekly Conductive Education sessions and as a result he has improved massively with his gross & fine motor skills, and can stand unaided for a couple of minutes. He can also take a few steps! ( His current personal best is 8!!) He can walk a short distance with quad sticks (Physio said he would not be able to do this and are closed to the idea of him even trying quad sticks), and is now using a more advanced type of K Walker frame.
Theo has recently started attending a group session with children his own age and he absolutely loves it. In the short time he has been attending we can already see a difference in him.
Most of all the sessions are fun, challenging yes, but lots and lots of fun. The boys have a chance to be independent and realise their potential.
I came across Conductive Education through internet searching related to Cerebral Palsy/ Hemiplegia. I also remember the Peto Institute and CE being mentioned in my Business Study course!
Louis has been having Conductive Education for about 2 years.
It has definitely helped Louis and we see him developing so well. I personally feel a lot more optimistic about the future. I also feel more driven to keep pushing him to try different things and to keep improving his Fine and Gross Motor Skills.
I am a huge fan of Conductive Education and genuinely grateful for the progress it has helped Louis achieve. The attitude of CLS is fantastic and always makes me feel positive and leaves Louis with a smile on his face and often a `treasure` that Louis is proud to have made.