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Pilates reformer helps Liam in more ways than one

Published 27th April, 2017
A Pilates reformer funded through Therapy Focus’ GIVE Program has kept 17 year-old Liam Hidding on his feet and allowed him to improve his strength and mobility in the comfort of his own home.

Liam has both Down Syndrome and cerebral palsy, which affect his muscles in conflicting ways. His Mum Ingrid said that he’s had to undergo a number of orthopaedic surgeries which have at times been very debilitating for her son.

“Liam has low muscle tone as a result of having Down Syndrome and high muscle tone due to the cerebral palsy. He’s had a number of surgeries and really struggled to bounce back from a hip surgery in 2012 which had him off his feet and unable to weight bear for 6 weeks.”

A Physiotherapist from Wize Therapy suggested using a Pilates reformer to assist with recovery and the exercises proved to be very beneficial for Liam. But the round trip to and from the Booragoon clinic took almost 3 hours for the Byford based family, and was costing them $300 for 2 sessions each week.

So Ingrid applied to Therapy Focus’ GIVE Program for a $5000 funding grant to purchase a Pilates reformer for use at home, plus 3 therapy sessions with a Wize Therapy Physiotherapist to help get set-up.

Liam now comes home early from school 3 days a week to complete a 1 hour session with assistance from his Mum and either his teacher’s aid or physiotherapist. Ingrid said that since receiving the reformer Liam is stronger, has better balance and can independently transfer from his walker or wheelchair to standing.

“The reformer exercises have been amazing for Liam. We’re able to isolate the muscles we want to work on and Liam can’t trick us by compensating with other muscles. We can physically feel which muscles are working,” Ingrid said.

“We had 6 weeks off over Christmas and we really saw the effects of that break. Having not done the reformer exercises for so long Liam was struggling to transfer and pull himself up to stand. It’s been invaluable to the maintenance of his muscle tone and keeping his strength up.”

Ingrid also thanked supporters of the GIVE Program, saying that without the grant the family would not have been able to afford the reformer sessions that had made such a difference in Liam’s life.

“We are so thankful as a family that we have the independence to manage the exercises ourselves and can do them at home. Liam has progressed so much and can do the simpler exercises independently with only verbal prompting, which is so great to see.”

For more information about the GIVE Program, or to make a donation, visit www.therapyfocus.org.au/GIVE.

Pictured: Liam using his reformer with the help of his Wize Therapy Physiotherapist (L) and Mum, Ingrid (R).

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