Press Release:
PERTH – 20 MARCH 2015 – Local not-for-profit organisation, The White Zebra Foundation, was this week presented with a cheque for over $28,000 to implement a pilot program using Clinical Pilates for children with physical disabilities.

Donated by the Jon and Barry Brealey Trust, the grant money will be used to develop and deliver an intensive paediatric Clinical Pilates program using Reformer technology.

Designed by Wize Therapy’s, Senior Physiotherapist, Jodie Kariyawasam, the nine-week program will initially work with six children using a specially modified Pilates Reformer to improve mobility, function and participation in activities of daily living and in the community.

The Reformer is comprised of a movable platform that has a series of pulleys and springs attached, enabling users to perform assistive or resistive exercise sequences across a variety of positions and through multidirectional planes of movement.

“Over the last two years we’ve been observing unusual gains in motor function in children participating in our functional Clinical Pilates program,” says Jodie.

“Whilst there is no known published research in Australia on the effects and benefits of using this Reformer in children with disability, we have observed a significant improvement in the children’s physical progress after using the specially tailored machine. We hope to collect enough data before, during and after the program to help us gather additional evidence related to this important clinical intervention for children and young adults with disabilities.

Georgia Farnan (pictured) is a 5 year old who has made significant improvements using the Pilates reformer at Wize Therapy. Diagnosed with Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy, Georgia has gone from being solely reliant on her walker, to using quadsticks and – at times – even standing hands free.

“The confidence in her movements through increased coordination, strength and flexibility has allowed her to participate in more playground activities more often,” says mother Claire Gardiner. “Her teacher stopped the class to watch Georgia climb the stairs and go down the slide on her own for the first time.”

The Jon and Barry Brealey Trust was set up by Ailsa and Bert Brealey in the name of their two sons, both of whom lived their lives with neurological disease Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome. Each September, the trustees publish an invitation for agencies or organisations to apply for a grant with the only restriction on the use of grant money that it must be used to benefit people with disabilities.

“We are hoping to continue to support projects for people with disabilities with money from the trust for as long as we can,” says John King, Chairman of the Trust.

Wize Therapy in Booragoon provides physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech pathology services to promote development, achievement and participation for children, adolescents and young adults. The White Zebra Foundation is their not-for-profit arm, providing financial assistance for those who cannot afford these much-needed services for their children.