Popular Youth Manager and exercise physiologist Teigan Butchers says getting children with cerebral palsy moving as early as possible is vital if they’re going to reach their full potential.
“Early intervention with evidence-based therapy and practice can make a lifetime of difference to young people with cerebral palsy,” says the Cerebral Palsy Alliance manager of youth services.
But as she tells Sarah Harris in our video series to promote the annual Steptember fundraiser, the trick is to make the programs exciting and fun.
“If you’re working with kids, therapy is not therapy, it’s play,” confides Teigan.
“If you’re working with adults, it’s about helping them understand how to achieve their goals, and motivating them, just like any personal trainer out in the community.
“It’s so much fun working with both age groups. Everyone’s got their own life journey and their own life goals they’re working towards, so it’s so exciting to be able to work with individuals to be able to achieve that.”
Teigan says you only have to look at the impact Cerebral Palsy Alliance has had with star snowboarding Paralympian Ben Tudhope, now 17, to see the difference the right training can have.
As a toddler, his mum was told that he would never been able to walk, or talk, but in 2014 he stunned the sporting world by finishing in the top-10 in the Sochi Winter Olympics as a 14-year-old.
“It’s so great to see Ben’s development over the years,” says Teigan. “I first met Ben just before the Paralympics, and to see him embrace sport and exercise and a physical lifestyle to help him maintain his function, as a young man with CP, it’s going to make all the difference.
“He’s a lovely mature young man, and I can see the world’s going to bring him amazing things.”
It’s inspiring stories like Ben’s that make the super-competitive Teigan so excited about taking part in her eighth consecutive Steptember from September 4 to October 1.
The fundraiser asks participants to take at least 10,000 steps, or the equivalent of, for 28 consecutive days, with all the money raised helping fund the CPA’s many programs.
“I think that people who embrace Steptember show the people in the world living with CP and other similar disabilities, that they’re behind them and they want to give them the best they can in their lives.”
To register your involvement in Steptember, simply visit www.steptember.org.au.
Your Steptember kit, consisting of a pedometer, lanyard and booklet, will be delivered right to your doorstep.
Every dollar you raise will provide vital equipment, therapy and services to children and adults living with cerebral palsy. Or, you can choose to raise funds for ground-breaking research into the prevention and maybe even one day a cure.
Read other stories supporting Cerebral Palsy Alliance here: