Parkinson’s a progressive neurological movement disorder caused by changes to the brain which result in a loss of dopamine. Parkinson’s can affect all aspects of daily activity, speech, writing and movement. For some it may also have an impact on thinking and memory. Parkinsonism also has similar symptoms and conductors will also work with people with PSP; MSA and other forms of parkinsonism. Specific information on these conditions will be given at consultation.
At NICE we view the person with Parkinson’s as a learner; someone who needs to learn techniques and strategies to help overcome the challenges the condition presents. For some this may be learning how to fix a tremor, for others learning how to walk more fluently and for some it may be a boost in confidence to help them achieve what they are capable of.
We work at two distinct levels: the first one relates directly to the problems the person may be facing. The second level is preventative. This does not mean that we can prevent the brain changes which happen as a result of the condition but we can teach the person to use their ‘conscious’ brain to work through strategies to help gain greater understanding and control over their movements.
A recent evaluation study (Brittle et al) showed that people with Parkinson’s can improve their quality of life through Conductive Education; irrespective of the length of time since diagnosis. As CE cuts across all domains of life we have found that people can improve their speech, walking, writing, balance, fine motor skills as well as confidence, self-esteem and motivation.
All sessions take place within a diagnosis specific small group (max 6 people) and each participant is helped to carry out a range of movements designed to support daily activities. We also recognise that the wider family are also living with the condition but from a different perspective. We therefore offer advice and support to carers and family members as well.
CE does not replace drugs but works alongside them, encouraging participants to be active not only when their drugs are working but also during the times of the day when the drugs may not be as effective. For many this can indeed enhance the benefit of the medication. Some participants may not have started taking drugs and at this time sessions can assist in increasing general level of mobility until such a time as drugs are required.