Since 2013, Neurokinex has been improving the health, well-being and independence of individuals living with paralysis by offering pioneering neurological Activity-based Rehabilitation (ABR) and rehabilitation and wellness programmes in a not-for-profit community setting. Now, Neurokinex is offering fresh hope for children with paralysis thanks to its dedicated and pioneering paediatric programme. Its goal is to get children back to doing what they do best – having fun and exploring the world.
Spinal cord injury is devastating for anyone but carries particular risks for children, as lack of growth and development can result in serious bone and joint disorders. A child’s body needs to move – walk, jump and run – to grow as it should. The younger the child is at the time of injury, the more likely they are to suffer from health issues such as bone disorders (stunted growth, osteoporosis, scoliosis and joint malformation), muscle contractures, significant loss of muscle bulk, respiratory and circulation problems and bowel and bladder dysfunction.
But it’s not all bad news: children also have greater neuroplasticity than adults making them even more receptive to ABR.
Based on scientific evidence, the Neurokinex paediatric programme offers activity-based therapies that result in a multitude of benefits addressing the common paediatric health issues, including improved muscle function and quality, skin health, bone health, growth and range of motion.
Christopher Reeve programme affiliation
A not-for-profit organisation (Charity Number 1169964), Neurokinex has a different approach compared to traditional rehab, with results that are startling. This is due, in part, to it being the first and only affiliate outside the US of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation’s Neuro Recovery Network (NRN). Christopher Reeve believed the way forward for rehabilitation from spinal cord injury was to provide activity-based therapies that promote functional recovery. His Neuro Recovery Network Foundation has developed the ground-breaking Locomotor Training and NeuroMuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) protocols, both of which are now at Neurokinex, Crawley, near Gatwick airport, putting this within reach of people in the UK and Europe.
These two ABR programmes were originally developed at Kosair Charities Centre for Paediatric Neurorecovery at the University of Louisville, in Kentucky (USA), part of the NRN. Neurokinex is working tirelessly to bring these important therapies to its new, dedicated paediatric unit to give children remarkable opportunities to be more functional and independent with potentially life-changing improvements from using:
Locomotor Training Therapy that reawakens dormant nerve pathways by repetitively stimulating the nerves and muscles in the lower body and thus retrain the spinal cord to ‘remember’ the pattern of walking. During the session the child is suspended in a harness above a treadmill and practises standing and stepping with the aid of specially trained technicians.
Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) that administers a unique form of electrical stimulation as part of an activity during which electrodes are applied to paralysed muscles and stimulus is delivered to stimulate the spinal cord circuitry to reawaken or strengthen pathways.
Setting up the Neurokinex Kids Fund
The bespoke children’s Locomotor Training Therapy would cost in the region of £100,000 while the NMES Xcite device costs around £30,000. In order to help pay for these significant developments and therapies, a Neurokinex Kids Fund has been created to:
- Raise funds to implement the specialised Neurokinex Paediatric Programme
- Fund a neuro gym fit-out
- Buy specialised paediatric rehabilitation equipment
- Invest in paediatric rehabilitation training to certify more staff to deliver these life-changing programmes to more children
Neurokinex Kids campaign
The aim of the #NeuroKids campaign is to kit out the dedicated space above the adult gym with equipment designed to suit young children. Central to this is the Southpaw bespoke design for a swing and soft play area which includes a variety of sensory play equipment – such as mats, exercise balls and climbing structures – to boost balance, stepping, climbing, crawling and walking. It’s everything Neurokinex needs to help children work on their mobility, strength, co-ordination and much more. However, at a cost of £15,000, this is out of reach unless funds are raised.
Big step forward
There is no doubt that Neurokinex is offering unique, life-changing protocols for adults and children with spinal cord injury. As a charitable trust it must rely on the generosity of donors, large and small, to help it fund the kids’ equipment it so desperately needs. As NK Kids becomes a reality, spinal cord injury rehabilitation following surgery and discharge from hospital will take another step forwards – literally for some of these youngsters.
Today’s injured toddlers could benefit from tomorrow’s advances in treating paralysis – but only if they keep strong and flexible, ready to make the most of advances in technology that have yet to be implemented.
For more details and to donate, visit www.neurokinex.org