Finlay's Story

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Alistar Smiling During Treatment

Meet Finlay

"First night when we've got home, he picked up a fork and started eating his dinner with his affected arm!"
- Hayley, Finlay's mum.
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Follow Finlay's Story

Finlay using his weaker hand to grab objects with guidance from parents.
“Finlay has loved it, it’s been a holiday for him (laughing)”
Ken, Finlay’s dad.

The Challenge

Finlay had lots of high tone in his right arm which prevented its function. Finlay’s movements were slow and effortful and he was unable to overcome the tone to control grasp and release. When unprompted, Finlay would ignore his right side when playing as he didn’t recognise it as a useful limb, the tone caused a clenched fist and a bent elbow meaning his arm couldn’t assist him in play.

During the three weeks we worked hard to improve the control and strength of Finlay’s limb in order to reduce the tone and give Finlay a useful assisting hand that could grasp and release objects.

“We were so surprised at how Finlay settled so quickly, wasn't phased by the cast and actually really enjoyed the sessions.”
- Hayley, Finlay’s mum.

The Goals

  • Decrease tone in right arm to give more neutral resting position
  • Achieve grasp and release
  • Improve strength and coordination
  • Achieve pincer grip

Our Approach


Positive experience of using right upper limb using achievable tasks

Shoulder and muscle strengthening through sports and competitive playing
Finlay rolling balls down marble ride to practise hand strength


Practice grasp and release with objects of different size, shape and weight


Gross motor activities for co-ordination

Finlay rolling a ball down a tube using weaker arm
Finlay using pincer grip to grab coins and place them into a money bank


Practice grasp and release with objects of different size, shape and weight

The Science-y Bit

Having the cast on for 24 hours a day for 3 weeks allowed Finlay to focus on only using his affected arm in activities, and increase his awareness of his right 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 better the control and awareness of the affected limb the easier it is to regulate the abnormal tone. The static posture of the non-affected side in the cast further assisted to reduce tone in Finlay’s arm and hand consequently promoting functional use.

Nikki Owen portrait headshot

Nikki Owen - Paediatric Physiotherapist

“Finlay has not mentioned or referred the cast during the programme. It didn’t upset him in any way.”
Ken, Finlay's dad.
Finlay reaching for small objects using his weaker hand with guidance from parents.

The Results

Increase Upwards Arrow Icon50%

General Usage

Increase Upwards Arrow Icon50%

Arm Use

Increase Upwards Arrow Icon66%

Grasp-Release (items)

Increase Upwards Arrow Icon40%

Pace items

Increase Upwards Arrow Icon75%

Grasp Release

Increase Upwards Arrow Icon33%

Fine Motor Adjustment

Increase Upwards Arrow Icon42%


The Achievements

  • An increase in strength, dexterity and coordination was seen in his hand following the programme.
  • Finlay developed the ability to isolate his index finger and had the strength to use it when pressing.
  • The quality and range of Finlay’s grasps has increased, he is now able to pick up a variety of different shaped objects using different grasps, including pincer.
  • Finlay is now able to control grasp and release enough to pick up items from the table and place them down again.
“Finlay has loved it, it’s been a holiday for him”
Ken, Finlay's Dad.
Interactive game being used during CIMT treatment.

The Parents Feedback

“Sincere thanks to Nikki, B and all the fabulous assistants for a great 3 weeks. You all took the time to really understand Finlay and how to get the best from him and we are very grateful for this approach making the experience fun, inspiring and a learning experience for us all.

I’m really happy with the outcome, CIMT has definitely paid off! Everything from the customer service, to therapists, to being looked after, to the amount of information we have to bring back home, to plan for us of how to incorporate it at home and much more - it was brilliant.

“To now see Finlay isolate his index finger, understand that he has another hand and how to use this, relax his fingers more is hugely inspiring and we are hopeful for his future. Thank you.” - Hayley, Finlay’s mum.

The Therapists Feedback

“Finlay was a superstar. He worked hard and enjoyed the constant attention of 2 therapists for three hours a day! Finlay discovered he could use his right arm functionally from the moment he was casted which made his progress a joy to watch. Finlay has gained enough confidence in his right side to incorporate it into bimanual function allowing him to continue his rehab journey.

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"Finlay was a superstar. He worked hard and enjoyed the constant attention of 2 therapists for three hours a day!"
Nikki Owen portrait headshot

Nikki Owen - Paediatric Physiotherapist

Finlay reaching out to grab object from therapist.
"The highlight of CIMT for me is his understanding of what the hand can do with his right hand and how can he manipulate it"
Hayley, Finlay's mum.

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