Arachnid assistance for 4 year-old

24 October 2010, 07:00 | Updated: 16 November 2010, 16:09

A girl from our region who couldn't even sit up has been helped by a rare piece of equipment.

4 year-old Grace Windram from Kingsthorpe in Northampton has cerebral palsy, and has been going to a centre in Oxfordshire which uses The Spider for physiotherapy - a net of elastic ropes.

Her mum Helen says it's brilliant: "She came to the centre not sitting. She is now sitting up by herself. She is able to crawl a short distance. For us as a family it's made a huge difference.  You think about practicality wise, if your family goes out somewhere.. and your child can't sit."

The centre is home to a piece of equipment known as the Spider, which is the only one of its kind in the UK, and is built like a spider's web with elastic ropes to hold youngsters up.

It allows physiotherapists to implement a full course of exercises for a child in any chosen position and aligns their body properly.

Grace, who lives with her mum, dad Gavin and 6 month-old sister Amelia, attends the centre four times a year for 2-hour sessions over a 3 week period.

Pippa Hoyer Millar, the co-founder of Footsteps, said: "The Spider is loved by children as it gives them, often for the first time, the freedom to move on their own in ways they just haven?t experienced before.

"The Spider does not offer a miracle cure but the power of intensive physiotherapy, expert therapists and the most effective equipment, all in conjunction with a child-friendly atmosphere, has worked wonders for scores of children.

"There is nothing like this in this country."