Advance Cerebral Palsy Treatment Centre


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In 1978 I was told my 3 day old son Doran was incurably brain injured and would do nothing.

I had no examples of recovery to encourage me. My only guide was reasoned thought. I reasoned that medicine was a limited science which had not successfully explained the guiding principles behind the early development of the infant’s physical structure.

Existing therapies offered management; “reversibility” was a forbidden word. Desperate as I was, I explored every avenue that seemed hopeful.

Over time I wrote 2 books recording these adventures. The trouble was that existing therapies relied on making a child use alternative muscles not restoring the full use of the right muscles. I saw that as the children grew this poor foundation slowly collapsed under them. The years of accumulating evidence that brain had recovery potential was not borne out by the long-term results of any therapy I knew of. It seemed that if there was another explanation it must have a guiding first principal that also applied to normal development, and I had to find it myself. I knew that every brain-injured child I’d met had a problem breathing. Professor Patrick Wall Head of Cerebral Studies at London University encouraged me to take qualifying exams at University College London and begin my own PhD research in the Psychology Department. Becoming a scientist was a kind of homecoming.

Professor Wall had become well known for his work on the Gate Theory of Pain but his focus was now on brain plasticity. He was an ideal mentor and it was he who also encouraged me to use the term “restoratory” in the approach I was developing to help brain injured children.

Slowly I began to show that often superficially hidden respiratory weaknesses reduced the quality of the cerebral metabolism and created abnormalities in the structure and function of the muscular skeletal system. Moreover, it became clear to me that without normal respiratory mechanics, metabolic recovery in the brain was impossible.

In 1993 I developed a separate research project which led me to found the Hyperbaric Oxygen Trust for children with cerebral palsy. Through the work of the Charity hyperbaric oxygen for children with C.P. became internationally recognised. While this was going on I was trying to establish a sound theoretical basis for the creation of an exercise technique that would restore rather than retrain weak respiratory muscles. As I was increasingly able to develop a respiratory strategy developing weak respiratory muscles we changed our name to “Advance”.

My evidence showed that it was the breathing movement itself that created muscular and skeletal structure. It was now possible to systematically begin the restoration of the weak respiratory muscles of a child with cerebral palsy using an exercise based on the breath itself. By restoring the respiratory muscles we began to see children of all ages develop increasingly more normally for the first time.

It was now possible to show a range of deep-seated respiratory weaknesses in every brain injured child we saw. On analysis it was evident that these weaknesses had: (1) Altered the electrical feed-forward from the muscle tissue to the brain; (2) reduced critically important respiratory pressures within the muscle tissue to the brain; (3) created the steady onset of muscular deformities; (4) reduced the efficiency of the cerebral metabolism; (5) frustrated the inherent restorative capacities of the brain.

We saw the therapy began to steadily improve the deformed shape of the shoulders, rib cage and pelvis of the brain injured child, gradually reducing curvature of the spine. It began to restore the structural mechanism required for speech and swallowing. It began to restore normal digestion; it gradually reduced seizures; it improved the connection between the trunk and the limbs steadily allowing an improved capacity for arm and leg movement to develop. It also began to improve the cerebral metabolism and to improve intellectual ability. To everyone’s delight this carefully measured progress was predictable and applied to all our children.

In November 2005 Bradford University completed a 3-year PhD study of my work. This I hope will help to move the therapy further forward to mainstream recognition and government funding.

The Scotson Technique and the evidence in its support is at last gradually explaining the complex abnormalities of brain injury and introducing a potential for its reversibility that has not previously been considered possible. Families from all over the world now visit us. We set out to make our parents completely competent therapists. Eventually they can act with the minimum guidance from the centre, thereby reducing their costs while still ensuring the high quality of the rehabilitation strategy.

Very best wishes and God bless,

Linda Scotson, Director

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