Reflections after teaching an Ataxia Workshop.
So good to be back teaching not just the Introductory modules but workshops
with a more specific focus, and this weekend’s Ataxia workshop was a real
pleasure to teach. An experienced group, who were very glad to get back to
thinking about their own development, lots of great questions and discussion,
and a very familiar venue at Manchester Neurotherapy Centre, who always
provide an ideal client for the clinical workshop.
‘Sad neuro geek’ as I am, I had to confess, the cerebellum (complex though it
is) is my favourite part of the nervous system, I think because it is such a key
target of our sensorimotor interventions. It is increasingly understood to be
heavily involved in ‘sensory acquisition’, (Therien 2015) and since therapists
are ideally placed to create interventions, which provide, update or enrich
sensory input in its widest sense, I think of it as a therapist’s ‘Best Friend’!
The workshop included a lecture to update participants on more recent
literature, evolving their understanding of:
The wider variety of cerebellar roles, including sensory acquisition and consequent movement control
Postural control: APA’s, CPA’s and clinical relevance
Integration of systems control in posture and movement
Body schema and it’s ENORMOUS importance for perception and movement
Functional ‘zones’ of the cerebellum and clinical consequences
Treating Ataxic clients can be daunting for all of us so I wanted to re-enforce
key principles rather than ‘recipes’ so I took two main themes into the
practical’s: ‘sensory acquisition’ and integration of posture and movement.
The ‘sensory acquisition’ theme allowed us to really focus in on the many
ways therapists manipulate or enrich sensory input during therapy – taking
afferent input in its widest sense whether working up against gravity,
improving alignment or loading, using handling to give a better ‘reference
point’ of stability or movement, change sequence/ timing/specificity of active
movement, use of the environment.
The integration of posture and movement theme allowed us to explore ways
of using available voluntary movement to create more specific APA activity to
improve control, considering the ‘3D’ kinetic chain. The participants were able
to understand and create their own ‘progressions’ in treatment, crucial for the
CNS and specifically the cerebellum, so that we keep treatment evolving and
therefore ‘interesting’. Some very creative solutions were found to maintain
stability, while allowing movement, linking to function, and ultimately to let the
client actively explore their own movement and hopefully even have fun doing
The course finished with a clinical workshop, designed to put the course
content into a clinical scenario, and we are always SO grateful that clients
come in and take such an enthusiastic part in our courses – they really do
bring them to life!
Go the neuro geekery!
If you would like to update and develop your clinical skills, relating
theory to practice, have a look at our courses on the BBTA website and
sign up to a Themed Workshop! www.bbta.org.uk
Sue Armstrong, Advanced Bobath Tutor, BBTA