Snowdrop was established in 2007 by founder and Chief Executive Andrew Brereton. The background of Snowdrop begins with Andrew’s son Daniel who was born in 1987 with what were described as ‘catastrophic, life threatening brain injuries’, resulting in profound cerebral palsy.
Through Daniel, Andrew became fascinated with neuroscience and child development, studying at various universities. He gained various qualifications in ‘Psychology, Neurophysiology and Child Development’, ‘Social Science’, ‘Professional Studies in Education’, ‘Language and Communication Impairments in Children’ and ‘Neuroscience and Child Development’. Snowdrop began following treatment of two children.
The success they achieved resulted in other children finding their way to Snowdrop. Today, 75% of children attending the Snowdrop programme are UK based, but there are other children attending from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Romania, Sweden, Nigeria, South Africa and many more places. In 2012, Snowdrop became a charity as a result of increased demand for their services.
What conditions are suitable? Conditions suitable for the programme include, but are not limited to:
• Cerebral palsy
• Developmental delay
• Genetic disorders
• Learning difficulties
• Pervasive Developmental Disorder
The programme is built around the latest knowledge of how brain plasticity (the ability of the brain to change its structure and functioning in response to demand from the environment) responds to environmental stimulation and how that knowledge relates with how developmental processes proceed in the child. The combination of these two strands of knowledge is used to stimulate the child’s development in all areas.
The programme begins with evaluation of the child’s functional capability in all areas of development – sensory, gross motor, fine motor, social, language and communication and cognition. Once a ‘baseline’ of the child’s abilities in each area of development and an intimate understanding of his / her difficulties has been established, a series of activities is developed. These are designed to stimulate the child to achieve the next higher level in each developmental area.
The implementation of these activities and recommendations will create a new developmental environment for the child. Distance advice is provided for international clients and children who are unable to attend the clinic due to the nature and severity of their condition.
(1). Once you make a request for an appointment, you will be sent a health questionnaire to complete and return at your leisure.
(2). You will then attend an appointment for a consultation in Devon.
(3). At the consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss any issues concerning your child’s development.
(4). Challenges faced by your child and ideas concerning how their problems should be addressed are discussed. You will have the opportunity to ask questions at any time.
(5). The practicalities of implementing a programme are then explored. - Such issues as how much time the family can commit and any other constraints on implementing the programme.
(6). Parents do not receive a programme on the day of our appointment. Over the proceeding days, all information is considered and collated. When this consideration is complete, the child’s programme of developmental activities is designed.
(7). Once you have received your programme (or distance programme), which will contain detailed instructions of how to carry out the developmental exercises prescribed, Snowdrop remain in close contact to ensure that you feel confident in carrying out the activities.
(8). Snowdrop remain in frequent contact to monitor progress and help guide you through difficulties which may arise.
The Distance Programme
Due to an increasing number of requests and in recognition of the fact that many families are unable to travel vast distances in order to obtain treatment for their child, whether due to practical constraints, financial constraints, or other reasons, the ‘distance programme’ is offered. It has proven to be effective and children have made progress as a result of it.
The distance programme works in the following way: If a parent were interested in using Snowdrop’s services but felt unable to attend a conventional consultation in the UK, they should write or send an email, briefly outlining their child’s condition. The parent is then asked fill out a detailed developmental questionnaire which is then analysed y Snowdrop. Video footage of various aspects of a child’s developmental function is also requested. Once Snowdrop feel they have achieved a good understanding of the child’s difficulties, a programme of developmental activities is devised.
It is stressed that it is then the responsibility of the parents to gain approval for the programme from their child’s doctor, so that he may suggest amendments to the suggested activities in light of any medical problems the child may have. It is also stressed that the preferable option is to attend a full developmental evaluation in the UK, however it is appreciated that parents may find that the option of a ‘distance programme’ makes treatment more accessible to them.
An initial assessment will cost £300, with follow up assessments every four to five months costing £250.
For international customers who cannot come to the centre and consequently seek distance advice, the cost is the same.
Research on Snowdrop programme’s effectiveness, as well as research on brain plasticity, can be found on the charity’s website (http://www.snowdrop.cc/).
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