Fizzio Clubs offer children and young people with special needs opportunities to participate in integrated community activities. Karate Club is one example.
Karate Club aims were to provide children who had mild to moderately severe cerebral palsy with basic Karate skills as part of a structured physiotherapy programme and to encourage continued interest in the sport outside a therapeutic setting.
Children who met the inclusion criteria (International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, ICDH-2, WHO 2002 and GMFC Level 2) were referred to the group by their physiotherapist.
The same assessment tool and scoring system was used at the first and last sessions of an eight week block in order to establish a benchmark and provide a measure for outcomes.
A SMART goal was agreed with the child and parents.
Treatment aims were regularly reviewed and activities updated throughout the 8 weeks when achieved by each child.
Links were established with a trained Karate Instructor who, following a visit to meet the group, enrolled all the children at the local club.
A questionnaire for parents and children was completed at intervals throughout the block to provide feedback.
There was 100% attendance from all the group members.
The assessment comprised six activities, scored from 0 to 5. By the end of the block, all scores for each child improved from 2 or 3 baseline to 5.
All children went on to join a local club and continued to develop their skills with one child going on to achieve a third grade orange belt.
Parents and children all reported positive results through the questionnaires the most important being an increased enthusiasm for attending Physiotherapy sessions and completing exercise programmes.
Confidence and self-esteem levels were also reported to have improved.
This initiative has given these children and young people with special needs the opportunity to participate in everyday activities with their peers and in their local communities with both physical and social benefits.
Physiotherapy treatment was more easily accepted and more effective especially in improving weight bearing activities and stretching exercises.
Improvements were also noted in range of movement and perceptual skills.
Involvement with families and the wider community has improved liaison and links with outside agencies providing sporting activities for children who are often not confident in accessing these clubs.
Children learned new skills whilst having fun doing a normal activity.
Parents were eager to support the initiative and continue to provide feedback.
Continue to provide Karate and other club based physiotherapy.
Continue to include other children with different needs such as those with DCD (Developmental Coordination Difficulties, Learning Difficulties, Challenging Behaviour and Respiratory Conditions.
Initiate an audit project to aid evaluation of this project.