Dr Anne Gordon, consultant occupational therapist: Children with movement difficulties can face challenges in everything they do.
Dad: How are you going to open it? How did you do it before?
Dr Anne: Occupational therapists work with them to help them become more independent. Evidence shows that for hand and arm function, intensive bursts of therapy work best, but this is rarely available in the NHS. We have created the Evelina REACH programme to enable children to access these evidence-informed bursts of therapy. The way it works is the children come and see us once a week, they see their local therapist once a week, and the remainder of the sessions are delivered at home, led by the parents who we coach throughout the programme.
Dad: We had a kind of target to hit in terms of numbers of sessions and minutes for those sessions and I find that really useful.
Dr Anne: Based on our detailed assessment of the child, we set three individual aims, and we monitor progress using a logbook.
Therapist: He's starting to get to the stage where he'll change the position to make it a bit easier, so I was thinking of adding that as a new aim for this week.
Dr Anne: Typically the children are seated. And that's really important too, so that the children can see both of their hands as they're playing and moving and learn about what their hand can do. It's really important that the children have fun through the programme.
Therapist: That's cool, Alfie!
Mum: It is a big commitment and that is exactly the right word, we both work so there's lots of juggling around with timetables and rotas and things to get to the appointments.
Dad: But that is one of the benefits of the REACH programme, it's so clear what you need to do.
Dr Anne: When the programme is ended we see the families again at six weeks and six months to reassess, so we can monitor progress.
Mum: I think it is actually just how it changes your way of looking at everyday tasks and everyday toys.
Dad: What are my feelings about the REACH programme? It's just absolutely the best intervention we've had for our son, is the short and long of it.