Thursday, 17 January 2013

Can You Help Layla?



Layla was born 5 weeks premature and had suffered a stroke on the right side of her brain whilst in the womb. As a consequence, she has epilepsy, hyper mobility, delayed speech and development, sensory processing disorder and autistic traits. She then suffered viral meningitis at 5 months, and suffered from a prolonged case of chicken pox (4 weeks) leading to inflammation of her brain when she was around 14 months old. 

Layla has a chance of joining the Snowdrop programme, which provides neuroscience based therapy to help improve children's development and we need to raise £800 for treatment for 1 year. Please donate whatever you can afford here  http://www.justgiving.com/sfbic/Donate to help Layla achieve her potential.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Walking After 11 Months on the Snowdrop Programme

This young man from the United States has hemiplegic cerebral palsy.  He has been on the Snowdrop 'distance programme' (a programme where the child is assessed remotely via questionnaire and video footage), for just 11 months.  When he first started the programme he wasn't even crawling, but he has made incredible progress and here he is demonstrating his new found skill of walking.



Sunday, 6 January 2013

Parents' observations about the Snowdrop programme for children with developmental disabilities.

Below are a set of recent parent observations about the Snowdrop programme from our private Facebook group for parents who have children on the programme.  The remarks are in response to an enquiry about the programme by a visitor to the group. (Anyone can visit the group for the period of one week, - all you have to do is ask - You can then easily verify that these comments are accurate).  Perhaps after reading these remarks you will feel moved to support our work with a small donation, which will help us to reach out and help even more children.

My little boy was born without oxygen and sustained brain injury to the point where life support was withdrawn as there was no hope of survival. He survived that! We were told that he would be vegetative and unlikely to be able to do anything. We started Snowdrop at 7 months I think ( not sure ) there is no way of knowing what he would have done on his own if we were not doing the program BUT I believe it has made a huge difference. He has good movement in all limbs, he is happy, smiling, cooing, almost sitting unsupported. He is behind other kids by around 6 months for motor skills but only behind not a lost cause by any stretch! I notice changes in his tone and how much less animated and vocal he is when we don't do the program which motivates me to keep going. The biggest impact though is on our family. Knowing that we have goals, positivity, that we are actually helping, gives us back some control, confidence and hope. This group is fantastic anytime but when you are low the support is amazing and Andrew Brereton is always listening and helps where he can and he knows so much! In short I would recommend this wholeheartedly and say it has been life changing for us. Never thought I would cope with a thing like this. Felt so helpless and I'm such a control freak, I needed a plan and the doctors are all so guarded and miserable. Andrew was the 1st person who looked at our son and saw him as a person and saw potential.

My daughter will be 3 in March and has been on the distance program since she was 1. She has a rare chromosome abnormality which has left her with global developmental delay. Like the others I saw almost immediate improvements, it was like someone turned the light on. She was quite withdrawn and very difficult to interact with. She is now very social, interactive and curious. She recently started bum shuffling and can get herself around quite well. She isn't babbling yet but her repertoire of sounds is increasing daily. She is a major flirt and loves people. I am so glad to hear you have decided to go ahead with the program, this is a great bunch of people who are so supportive & encouraging. This is the first place I come when I have something exciting to share & likewise the first place I come when I need cheering up or advice. I am happy to help you any way I can so don't hesitate if the need arises.

My daughter is 2 years old and has PVL affecting the Right Side of her Brain thus the left side of the body. She has been on the distance program since she was 4 months old. She has made astounding progress, she is developling right along with her twin sister. Most people who don't know she has a brain injury would never notice. Developmentally she is at 30 months so actually ahead in many areas, her doctors are amazed at her progress and her PT calls her a case study. I give full credit to the Snowdrop program and the hard work that goes into it. You won't get results without the work. I found it easier to do the program when she was small, now she is two and very active and a lot more resistive. I find when they are older you have to be more creative to get them to do things. I watched yesterday as my daughter with the brain injury chased my other daughter around the house running and was right on her heels and I owe those moments to Snowdrop and the willingness to try something different. Traditional doctors offer nothing. If you have any questions feel free to contact

We have been doing Snowdrop since Dec 13. As you know, a little less than 2 weeks later, we saw some results, in our son''s ability for independent mobility. We try for 5 repetitions of the programme a day, and he really likes it. He's just playing with Mama and Papa and getting lots of great one on one attention, so why wouldn't he love it? The thing is, it's not like we are just doing things to him, but he is contributing as well. So he listens to songs and stories, but we let him choose the ones he wants to hear-even though he keeps picking the same song all day long. The only thing he doesn't like is the vestibular activities, but he will do it with me easier than with my husband. And I know he needs these because it addresses vestibular issues, which he definitely has (been told by PT and OT). Hope that helps!

Hello, my daughter has been on the program for a year. She has just turned 4. She has CP affecting all 4 limbs and is registered blind. Before we met Andrew, there were only 2 other therapists (out of about 20) who have been able to work with her. She was extremely hyperactive and stressed. Everyone declared her too difficult. Basically she had been written off by the NHS. Andrew did not have the same problem with her, he immediately saw what she needed and within a couple of weeks she was a million times calmer! Once she had calmed down she made big developmental leaps (sometimes developing faster than her chronological age had advanced!) happy to talk more if you want further info.

Hi my daughter is one of triplets born 3 months premature - she suffered PVL (lack of oxygen) on the right side of her brain and a grade 4 bleed on he right side. We were told she lost 70-80% of her brain. We were told she would be blind, deaf, quadriplegic and mentally retarded. She is anything but. Her vision has the potential to be "moderate" according to a recent assessment at /Great Ormond Street hospital. Her hearing is very good - due to the listening program. She understands everything and is starting to talk. She does have severe movement problems and is quadriplegic but is improving all the time. At the reassessment this week when we weren't looking she picked up a piece of bread of the table and was eating it! She started to change within a few weeks I would say. Of course some injuries are so bad like our daughter's that I don't think any amount of therapy will normalise but her drs are "astounded", I know she will definitely reach her potential, and that we could not have done anymore.

My son started on the program when he was 7 months old. We literally saw results overnight!! However, it takes lots of repetition to maintain those results. On the Monday, he was spaced out and disinterested in the world, on the Tuesday, he was alert and grabbing anything he could get his hands on. It was pretty overwhelming at the time, the change was so sudden! Snowdrop was much easier to do when he wasn't mobile. It's gotten harder as he's gotten older- he's 21 months now and very difficult to engage in therapy. I'm the therapy ninja now, I try to sneak therapy into his daily routine wherever I can. I do certain things whilst he's asleep. I don't like doing therapy if he really hates it, because I don't want it to be a traumatic experience for him. If there's something he doesn't like, I try distracting him or trying it a different way. I've got a lot of sneaky tricks up my sleeve (though he's still always 2 steps ahead of me!!)

Hiya, my son was born flat and had no heartbeat for 9 minutes. As a result he has widespread severe brain damage which had caused cp affecting all four limbs, epilepsy and cortical visual impairment. We have had physio since he was three weeks, occupational therapy and speech and language since six months and the visual impairment team since about eight months. All of whom repeated the same thing, wait and see. They all stretched him about and there seemed to be very few results. At twelve months we started Snowdrop and he has been in the programme for three months. He now opens his hands, puts his hands in his mouth, reaches out to touch toys, baby talks, laughs at sounds, visually tracks lights and tolarates tummy time. If he can do all this in three months then I'm so excited to see what he will achieve in the next three months. We are still having our other therapies and obviously some of his developments could be put down to him getting older, but I totally believe that without Snowdrop, despite all my efforts, he would still be where he was three months ago. A lovely boy but very hard to settle without lots of bouncing. A boy who stared into distance and rarely tracked. A boy with extremely tight fists on the end of rigid arms. A boy who medical professionals were just 'waiting to see' if he would ever reach goals.

My little man is 20 months and has been on Snowdrop since November. He really enjoys most of the exercises, was even giggling while I did some of them with him today (vestibular is his absolute favourite)! He is only suspected of having a brain injury currently, he had his first epileptic seizure at 15wks and was diagnosed with a rare catastrophic form of epilepsy (infantile spasms/West syndrome) at 18 weeks. He stopped developing from then till he was 11 months old when his spasms suddenly evolved into other seizure types. He currently has 1-2 daily so we've had to take his program a little more slowly so not to overload his poor brain!! Still, with only one repetition of the program daily hes showing improvement - hes visual attention seems to be improving, he can roll over fully now without issues and is trying very hard to get his arms under himself to crawl.. only today he held onto his sippy cup handle for the first time

Since starting Snowdrop's programme we have seen our daughter use both hands again (hasn't done so since small baby), grasp things like her toys hanging on playmat, hold hands around bottle, hold and tube half filled with something for shaking and enjoy it, drink out of a cup ( before the programme we had been two years trying!), eat small squares of butternut squash in chunks without being distressed, enjoy tummy time. Thanks so much!!! :-D

Ladies and gentlemen, I may well be flu-ed to the hilt but also very very excited.. We bought our son a different type of trainer bottle/sippy cup as he struggles with a tommee tippee or an angled cup. It got large handles that are angled downwards instead of out to the sides, so today dad was feeding him and placed his hand on the handle just to see what he would do... usually he'd not make any effort at all to hold something, he just lets his hand fall away again but this time he grabbed the handle. AND HELD IT.

We have only been on the distance programme a short time and our son combat crawled for the first time this week on his own (no hands behind his feet)! I am just excited to tears over it!!

Our public Facebook page can be found at http://www.facebook.com/Snowdrop.for.brain.injured.children

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy new year to all families with children on the Snowdrop programme and to other members of this group. Last year was a highly successful year for us, in fact when I look back over the past 4 - 5 years to when it all started, we have achieved some incredible things together, - many of these achievements were not considered possible by the medical and associated professions, but if we were to allow them to define what was possible or not, we would be in a poor state indeed.

Four years ago, Snowdrop was just beginning and we attracted our first two clients, both little boys, one from South Africa and one from the UK. Both did extremely well on what was a new type of therapeutic intervention designed to stimulate the inherent plasticity of the brain and to direct that plasticity down the developmental pathway. You can read about one of our first clients, Finn Jordan here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2091034/Boy-4-recovers-severe-brain-injuries-copying-twin-brother.html

As news of our success spread, more and more parents from all over the world found us and enrolled their children on the programme. These children might have cerebral palsy, autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, learning difficulties, or other developmental problems including genetic disorders. As more parents brought their children to us, our success grew and stories began to emerge such as the stories of Leonie, Kara from Canada and Max from Australia, which you can read here http://maxsstory-faith.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/wake-up-sleepyhead.html?spref=fb.

This year has seen some of our children progress to the level where they are above average for their age in developmental terms. These successes were achieved despite them beginning at a lower developmental level than their uninjured counterparts and is in stark contrast to the bleak future which was forecast for them by the 'professionals!'

There are many, many more children on the programme who make more moderate progress, but again this progress is usually in defiance of the medical prognosis the child has received. I am also the first to acknowledge that there are also a few children who fail to make progress, who no matter what we try, we fail to make an impact. Fortunately this is a rarity, but it drives me to distraction and despair when it does happen.

In July we became a charity and two of our Snowdrop parents became my boss when they became trustees. I can't thank them enough for their commitment. We also have parents who have donated time, ability and who have fundraised towards us being able to afford our own permanent base. We are slowly but surely getting there. Again, thank you all; - you are all heroes in my book.

We begin our new year with many, many more families on the programme than we had last year. If we experience the same growth rate in the next twelve months as we have in the last twelve months, that number will be around 130 - 150 by this time next year. That means we are going to be very busy, which suits me down to the ground.

Have a great new year's day. I begin work again tomorrow with the visit of a family from Southampton, followed on Thursday by one of our families from Portsmouth, followed on Friday by a distance evaluation from Australia. - And so it goes on!

I think you are all marvellous people, giving your children the best chance you are able to. All I can do is to promise you maximum commitment and guarantee you that as we keep learning and acquiring new knowledge, (neuroscience is probably the one field that throws up new knowledge virtually every day), our programmes will adapt accordingly and give our children more and more chance of success.

Remember the Snowdrop mantra. - Repeat, repeat, repeat!