RIDING a bike is a big achievement for many young children, but for Blaise Wyatt it was a miraculous moment. The three-year-old spent a month in the United States receiving ground-breaking treatments for his severe cerebral palsy, and managed to achieve tasks for the first time including sitting, standing, and even riding a special tricycle.
Mother Dawn McKenzie-Wyatt said the trip to Michigan had been extremely beneficial for her son, "He can sit up now," Ms McKenzie-Wyatt said, as Blaise showed off his new skill by sitting up on his picnic blanket in the family's Ipswich backyard.
"His back muscles are so much stronger because of the Thera-Suit, and he is also a lot noisier and can reach out and grab for things. "It was so worth it."
Blaise undertook therapies including the intensive muscle-strengthening Thera-Suit, a whole body suit featuring adjustable straps. He also underwent hyperbaric oxygen therapy, an unrecognised therapy aimed at creating new pathways in the brain. "He did 60 hours of Thera-Suit therapy, 40 hours of hyperbaric oxygen and nine hours of speech therapy," Ms McKenzie-Wyatt said.
"One of the first days he was in the Thera-Suit they had him up and walking, it took my breath away," she said. "It worked out to about seven hours of therapy a day plus travel."
Ms McKenzie-Wyatt said the 22 days of therapy had helped to fulfil the family's aim of treating Blaise's cerebral palsy symptoms before they impeded his physical development. "We wanted to seek treatment for him early, before his bones started to bend or anything like that, and I think the combination of everything we did worked amazingly well," Ms McKenzie-Wyatt said. "The other day I walked past while someone else was holding him and he reached out to grab for me, which he's never been able to do before."
Blaise travelled to the US with his family, including dad Cameron and brother Corey, on the day before his April 1 birthday. The family fundraised extensively for the month-long threapy-focussed trip, which cost about $20,000.
Ms McKenzie-Wyatt said they would now save to purchase a Thera-Suit for Blaise, which is priced at $2,500. Interview by - Rebecca Lynch (QT).
The TheraSuit, thanks to its construction and improvements creates a breathable soft dynamic orthotic. Its major goal is to improve and change proprioception (pressure from the joints, ligaments, muscles), reduce patient's pathological reflexes, restore physiological muscle synergies (proper patterns of movement) and load the entire body with weight (process similar to a reaction of our muscles to the gravitational forces acting upon us for 24 hours). All of the above normalises afferent vestibulo-proprioceptive input.
The vestibular system is a very important center. It processes, integrates and sends back all the information that arrives from muscles, joints, tendons etc. It influences muscle tone, balance and the position of the body in space.
The more correct proprioception from the joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons, joint's capsule etc., the more correct alignment.
The vicious cycle can be interrupted and incorrect information is replaced by "new" correct information. A patient (child) diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and other neuro-motor disorders requires hundreds of repetitions of any particular movement. We believe that as individuals, we all have a "magic" number. For example: a baby that is trying to push-off the floor will need to repeat this movement a few hundred times in order to master it.
Another one may need either more or less repetitions to learn the same skill. For the Cerebral Palsied child however, this fairly low "magic" number grows to a thousand or more repetitions to learn and master new skills. TheraSuit worn over a prolonged time will correct proprioception and accelerate the progress. Thanks to the TheraSuit and physical movement (therapy) the skills practiced will become more fluent and require less and less effort. Therefore, TheraSuit facilitates the development of new gross and fine motor skills like sitting, standing, walking. TheraSuit Method
All funds raised is donated to Dawn McKenzie-Wyatt, which will assist for the purchase of a TheraSuit for Blaise, which is priced at $2,500.
Your contribution will give Blaise the opportunity to one day be mobile and play like other children.