Alistair's Story

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Alistar Smiling During Treatment

Meet Alistair

“To see him playing so beautifully with both hands together is just incredible.” - Helen, Alistair’s Mum
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Follow Alistair's Story

“Therapists made him feel really relaxed and made us feel very relaxed with a process as well.”
Helen, Alistair’s Mum.

The Challenge

Alistair struggled with movement and control in his thumb, arm and shoulder making his movements laboured and slow. Struggling with ‘pincer grip’ between finger and thumb made it difficult to orientate his hand around small objects and toys. He generally showed a strong preference to his right hand side and over the next 3 weeks, we worked together to make a meaningful difference for Alistair.

“Therapists made him feel really relaxed and made us feel very relaxed with a process as well.” - Helen, Alistair’s mum.

The Goals

  • To improve Alistair's grasp and release of toys of varying sizes
  • To increase Alistair's range of movement throughout his arm and hand
  • To increase Alistair's shoulder strength and control
  • To achieve finger isolation in order to be able to achieve pincer grasp

Our Approach


Muscle strengthening, through play and movement


Fine motor skills exercises


Grasping and releasing

The Science-y Bit

Having the cast on for 24 hours a day for 3 weeks, has allowed Alistair to focus on only using his affected arm in activities, and increase his awareness of his left upper limb. This stimulates the formation of new pathways for movement, which “rewires” the brain - this means that a larger part of the brain becomes active when producing movement of the weaker arm.

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The static posture of the non-affected side in the cast further assisted to reduce tone in Alistair’s left arm and hand consequently promoting functional use. The high intensity and repetitive use of Alistair’s affected upper limb over a relatively short period of time had produced a lasting change.

Nikki Owen portrait headshot

Nikki Owen - Paediatric Physiotherapist

“It has been intense and emotional at times but the therapists helped us get through it.”
Helen, Alistair’s Mum.

The Results

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General Usage

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Arm Use

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Grasp-Release (items)

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Pace items

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Grasp Release

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Fine Motor Adjustment

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The Achievements

  • Alistair can now point with his index finger so he can easily press the buttons on his toys
  • Alistair can successfully use a pincer grasp so he can play with smaller toys
  • Alistair has a larger range of grasp, so he can play with toys of all shapes and sizes.
  • Alistair has gained some control of his thumb abduction, which allows him to keep his thumb out of the way when he’s playing
"We are obviously going to keep up the principles of CIMT, it’s great that we get a removeable cast to use at home - it makes sense to keep that momentum as he is used to that cast now.”
Helen, Alistair’s Mum.
Interactive game being used during CIMT treatment.

The Parents Feedback

'We didn't really know what to expect when we've got here, but he took the casting really smoothly, he just dealt with everything really well! he's been really cheerful, settled and I'm just really impressed actually how quickly everything has gone. You think that three weeks is a really long time but it’s actually really flown. - Helen, Alistair’s mum.

“The therapists have been brilliant, they’ve been brilliant with Alistair and they’ve been brilliant with us. They’ve made him feel really relaxed and they’ve made us feel really relaxed” - Helen, Alistair’s mum.

The Therapists Feedback

“Alistair was a pleasure to work with, I really admired his determination at such a young age. Alistair and I had lots of fun and giggles playing with Duplo and the cash register. I will always remember the look of joy he had when he succeeded in making the toy sheep wiggle, it brought a tear to my eye. Moments like that are the reason I love CIMT.” - Nikki

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“Alistair and I had lots of fun and giggles playing with Duplo and the cash register.” - Nikki
Nikki Owen portrait headshot

Nikki Owen - Paediatric Physiotherapist

Extra Material

Visit Alistair's mum's blog to learn more about CIMT and Alistair's continuing story!

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Visit Alistair's Facebook page, "What life Gave" to learn more about Alistair's Family, Hemiplegia & Looking On The Bright Side!

"We are really happy with the results, he has got a lot more movement in his left hand and now able to play with toys using both hands."
Glynn, Alistair’s Dad.

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