LEFT: Zoe Cryan with her parents, Siobhán and Davy and her brother Dylan (9)
A Longford mother, currently living in Roscommon has joined forces with Irish mums across the country and successfully secured a six week commitment from NAPA to bring their intensive therapy pop-up centre to Ireland.
Siobhán Cryan, from Drumlish, is mother to a “fabulous little determined, strong lady” called Zoe, who was born extremely premature and later diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
“Zoe is six years old,” Siobhán told the Longford Leader.
“She was born extremely premature at 24 weeks gestation, weighing only 540 grams at birth. She spent the first year of her life in hospital before getting home to her family.
“Zoe has a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy which affects every child with this diagnosis different but for Zoe, it has affected her gross motor ability to walk and it has also affected her oral motor functions, of swallow, chewing , eating and speech. Zoe was 100% peg feed up until this year.”
Siobhán and her husband David discovered NAPA in 2018 after hours of Googling treatment and therapies that could possibly help Zoe develop her swallow ability.
NAPA came up on Google and offered a treatment called Vital Stimulation, which is a tool that uses electrical current to stimulate the muscles responsible for swallowing.
“This is the only FDA approved device for the treatment of swallowing difficulties. Vital Stim is not available in Ireland for our kiddos,” Siobhán explained.
“In 2019, we flew to Boston, completed a three-week intensive programme of Vital Stim, Physio and OT. There Zoe began to swallow spoonfuls of pureed food as well as drinking from a straw for the first time ever.
“Since then we have gone from strength to strength and in June 2021 Zoe came off her peg feeds as she can manage three meals a day albeit pureed. She still requires her G-tube for water and meds but all her nutritional needs are met from her oral feeding - a huge milestone.”
The NAPA (Neurological and Physical Abilitation) Centre was founded in 2008 by a mother who wanted to make the best therapies in the world available under one roof for children with physical and neurological challenges, having travelled the world looking for treatments for her own son.
The centre combines speech, physical and occupational therapies as well as pioneering methods using robotics and assistive technologies.
NAPA’s therapists are highly qualified and experienced in working with complex needs. NAPA currently have four permanent clinics (located in the US and Australia) and are extending their reach by opening two further clinics, one in each of these jurisdictions.
Alongside their permanent locations, the NAPA model also holds pop up clinics. For the first time, thanks to Siobhán and six other mums around the country, the NAPA centre will visit Ireland.
“Some of us have been to NAPA, other Mums want to experience NAPA. Myself and some of the mums started Telehealth with NAPA when Covid began,” said Siobán.
“Zoe was to travel in July 2020 and 2021 but NAPA went online and we still see Nikki, her physio, once a week via Microsoft Teams. We always hinted at them that they should come to Ireland as years ago they did a pop up in the UK.
“Sharon, one of the mums reached out to NAPA and suggested it. They suggested that we put together a proposal document for them. We did so detailing cities and towns they could set up the pop in, airports that Boston flights came into, ie, Shannon and Dublin, venues, designed a brochure of Ireland and its attractions, maps of travel times from one part of the country to another, etc.
“We spoke to the CORU (regulatory body of health and social care professionals) and asked could the NAPA therapists register here in Ireland.
“We supplied them details and contacts of CORU and they began that process in January 2021. This also means that anyone with health insurance will be covered as they are registered therapists here in Ireland - again, huge.”
NAPA’s highly skilled therapists will come to Ireland next August (2022) for two three-week blocks of intensive therapy sessions.
They will not only be bringing their proven techniques and experience but also some of their leading edge technologies and equipment.
“This is an extraordinary and exciting opportunity for parents here to experience world-class therapeutic intervention for our children without the need to travel abroad,” Siobhán explained.
Pop-up dates will take place in a location that is yet to be finalised from August 22 to September 9, 2022, and September 12 to 30, 2022, costing $155 per hour.
Intake forms for Ireland must be completed by September 15. Please note, you will not be able to register if the intake forms are not completed by this time.
Registration will open on October 4 at 1pm IST. For further information regarding intake forms and registration process please refer to the NAPA website, https://bit.ly/3n8ghFu or see @NAPACentre on Facebook.
There is also a Parents of Ireland NAPA Facebook group: https://bit.ly/3nlx87V.
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