Dorchester Christmas Disco Success

Sir E. Bear

Sir E. Bear

Cerebra recently held a Christmas Disco at the Broadmayne Village Hall in Dorchester.

Children who attended the event were treated to special appearances from Cerebra’s mascot Sir E. Bear and a very special guest: Santa Claus himself!

Santa made himself busy greeting all the guests to the party and even made sure that every child had their very own present.

As well as being able to show off their best dance moves, there was also a festive raffle and other games.

Cerebra Regional Officer Lilly Fahey who organised the event said: “I’m glad that everyone enjoyed the party and would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended.”

You can keep up to date with all of the latest events we are holding on our What’s On pages.

Local Schools Enjoy Swansea Christmas Party

Sir E. Bear and Santa

Sir E. Bear and Santa

We get into the Christmas spirit with a Christmas party for special schools in Swansea.

Cerebra recently held a very special Christmas party for children in the Swansea area. Eighty seven children from, Parkland, Gwyresydd and Cwmglas Primary Schools and Bishop Gore joined us for an afternoon of fun and games.

Charity mascot Sir E. Bear dusted off his dancing shoes and showed off his very best moves, much to the delight of everyone who attended.

Santa made time out of his busy schedule to make an appearance and had help from some of his elves to give out presents to all of his guests.

You can keep up to date with all of our latest events on our What’s On pages.

CIC Develop New and Improved Oxygem

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CIC have been developing a new product…shhhhh….don’t tell anyone just yet!

We are in an exciting development phase of the new and improved Oxygem. This is a small oxygen cylinder and ventilator transportation device (Trolley!). You might have seen our Trunki Suitcase conversions, and even our own designed and build unit that was a real success for the few children who have used them, but now the idea is to redesign it having studied the old units in action.

Here you can see the Mark I Oxygem:



We have a few ideas that are being explored, and are trying to incorporate different ways of the child pushing or pulling it, but also for the child to sit on or in the and push along, or be pushed by an adult……not much to ask….but technically it is a very tough project!

Below you can see one nice idea that we have been working on. It is similar in principle to a toddler’s Block Truck. This unit is for small children and incorporates some great design features to help children walk un-aided. By holding the handle and pushing the child will be stable, and the rear wheels project further behind the truck so if they fall backwards the unit will not tip over. The really clever bit is that the wheel bearings only move forwards, and so when falling backwards the wheels act as a brake and will help prevent falling. This was first developed purely as a walking aid, but has been redesigned to accommodate oxygen, ventilators and food pumps.

For older children and those with better stability we are still working on a more complex solution and below you can see some of the sketches ideas so far. What we are trying to achieve is one product with multiple uses. This will give children the most flexibility of use and make it more accessible to more families. To be able to take control of their own oxygen supply and get around unaided will give such a sense of freedom and independence that we are trying to make this a real game changing product.

Oxygem plans

Oxygem plans

Once we are happy with the sketch ideas we will translate this onto the computer aided design program (Solidworks) and begin the lengthy process of prototyping and building test units. Once these are finished we can test them with our first few clients and refine the product.

We look forward to being able to bring you more news in the New Year and will keep you up to date with developments. If you think any of these ideas might be able to benefit your child please get in touch via the website and let us know.

The CIC team would like to take the opportunity to say a huge “Thank You and Merry Christmas” to all of our members, and people who have so kindly donated to enable us to do the most amazing jobs we could ever imagine working on! We look forward to working with you in 2015!!

If you have a challenge for the CIC team you can contact them by telephone: 01792 483688 or by email:

The FIND Website Goes Live!

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New website launched for help with rare genetic conditions.
The Cerebra Centre for Neurological Disorders at the University of Birmingham launch has developed a novel online resource to improve the exchange of knowledge about rare genetic conditions and difficulties experienced by people with intellectual disability.

The site focuses on behaviour and its purpose is to summarise research studies using a range of interactive and engaging formats, for example, parent stories, professional talking heads, bite-sized written information and an interactive database.

This has been a huge project that has involved many different groups of people coming together.  Of all the contributors, it is the families of children with intellectual disability who were the most involved.  These families spent a long time developing and contributing firsthand video accounts to share on the site.

Another exciting area on the website is the key topics area that gives background information around a wide range of behavioural difficulties including repetitive behaviour, sleep, challenging behaviour, health difficulties and many other areas.

All content on the site is going through a rigorous peer review process.  This means that the content is checked by experts in the field who do not work as part of the Cerebra team.  This is gold standard procedure for ensuring that the content can be trusted and that it reflects an accurate picture of current research.

Finally, the site is being expanded and will shortly contain a wide range of resources that can be shared with professionals, including specific tools for the assessment of challenging behaviour and behavioural characteristics in people with neurodevelopmental disorders.

The Cerebra team hope that this website will reduce the time it can take research findings to impact on clinical practice. It is estimated that, on average, this can take around 10 years; however, with the new resource it should be much quicker. Furthermore, by having approachable user friendly resources it is hoped that parents and Team mainprofessionals will no longer become bogged down in technical language that hinders the exchange of information.  This strategy seems to be working as the website has already had a high number of visitors from across the world.

Members of the Cerebra Centre team are keen to hear back from families about their experiences of using this resource so they can develop it further.  If families are interested in getting involved by contributing information or family stories please email

This project is funded by the charity ‘Cerebra’ and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) .

Puddle Splashing Fun Made Easy

Butler Overboot

Butler Overboot

One of our mums recently asked CIC for some help to find a solution to her child’s soggy feet during the prolonged wet weather.

Her child wears supportive Piedro boots which are great for support, but were not offering water resistance during trips to parks, petting zoos and, given the wet weather we have had, almost everywhere!

Well there is a fantastic new solution available called a Butler Overboot. Established in 2012, this great innovation from the USA allows you to wear a completely waterproof boot over your existing shoes. They are made from a thin but tough rubber material which opens very wide thanks to the “accordion bellows tongue” and allows you to push your feet with your shoes on, into the boot and then secure with the Velcro tab.

Mr Kingsley-Poole of Bulter® says “They are practical, durable and built to perform under pressure. Come rain, sleet or snow, kids will love the bright, fun colours while mums will love how easy they are to slip over and off of their child’s shoes”.

Available to buy from various retailers around the country and online (Amazon) for £35 we think these boots are great and should help in many situations for any and all children. We think they might be especially useful for children with supportive shoes or when untying and retying shoe laces can be time consuming. We found them to be very easy to put on- if you open the “fan” wide and push the front of the shoe in, and just a bit of a tug on the handy tab at the back and the child’s feet slipped in. Our young product demonstrator absolutely loved them, taking every opportunity to splash in every puddle around with extra enthusiasm.

Butler boots are available in six fun colours: Classic Navy, Yellow Sunshine, Fire Engine Red, Bright Lime, Pink Passion and Teal Tales – enough to brighten up the dullest rainy day and offer lots of puddle-splashing fun with reduced effort!

Please follow this link to find out more:
To find local retailers, if you click the link then follow  the “where to buy” tab.

Items in our library on communication


We bring you a list of books, DVDs and CDs and communication aids available to borrow from our postal lending library.


  • L1210 – Trouble Talking: a guide for parents of children with speech and language difficulties by James Law
  • L6215 – More Than Words: helping parents promote communication and social skills in children with autism by Fern Sussman
  • L6238 – Communication Issues in Autism and Asperger Syndrome by Olga Bogdashina
  • L6242 – The Classroom and Communication Skills Programme by Megan Ahlers
  • L6381 – Enabling Communication in Autism by Carol Potter
  • L6411 – Helping Children to Improve Their Communication Skills: therapeutic activities for teachers by Deborah


  • L6460 – Children with Social Emotional and Behaviour Difficulties and Communication Problems by Melanie Cross
  • L6461 – A Pictures Worth: PECS and other visual communication strategies in autism by Andy Bondy
  • L6468 – Early Communication Skills for Children with Down Syndrome by Libby Kumin
  • L6515 – Teach Me With Pictures: 40 picture scripts to develop play and communication skills in children on the autism spectrum by Simone Griffin
  • L6532 – Rising to New Heights of Communication and Learning for Children with Autism by Carol Spears
  • L6533 – Augmentative and Alternative Communication: models and applications for… caregivers and users by Filip Loncke
  • L6540 – Developing Communication for Autism Using Rapid Prompting Method by Soma Mukhopadhyay
  • L6546 – Social and Communication Development in Autism Spectrum Disorder: early identification and intervention by Tony Charman
  • L6586 – Talk to Me: conversation strategies for parents of children on the autism spectrum by Heather Jones

Audio visual

  • AV6388 – Talkabout: social communication skills (DVD)
  • AV6409 – ISPEEK at Home: over 1300 visual communication images (CD-ROM)
  • AV6538 – Discovery Pathways to Better Speech for Children with Down Syndrome (DVD)

PECS cards

  • C0208 – PECS Cards Keyrings: ‘Instructions and Behaviour’ and ‘Feelings and Emotions’

Portable Communication Aids in the sensory library

  • SmartTalk – 8 picture communication aid, recordable
  • Partner 4 Plus – 4 picture communication aid, recordable
  • iTalk2 – 2 button communication aid, recordable
  • Quick Talker – 12 small picture communication aid

Boshier Hinton Fund Sensory Toys

cic-nav-lightThe Boshier-Hinton Foundation have funded sensory equipment for Cerebra’s Library.

Cerebra’s Postal Lending Library is a valuable service which offers resources to parents free of charge.

As well as offering specialist titles, the library also has a fantastic range sensory toys.  Of these toys, the ‘Sensory in a Suitcase’ and bubble tubes have proven very popular with families which can result in long waiting lists.

Thanks to generous funding from The Boshier-Hinton Foundation we can now purchase a further sensory suitcase. The suitcases house a wealth of sensory equipment ideal for therapy, education and play activities.

From the visual display of the Space Projector and coloured fibre optics, the interaction with tactile balls and paper packs through to the calming sounds of natural music, the suitcase is an Aladdin’s cave of sensory stimuli.

Thanks to this support, more families will now be able to benefit.

Couple Go the Whole Hog to Fundraise

Karen Hamilton

Karen Hamilton

Karen and Rick Hamilton will be doing a different challenge every month for the next 14 months to support Cerebra.

Cerebra is a charity that is close to the hearts of the Hamiltons. Rick’s first son Thomas was born with Cerebral Palsy and sadly passed away at 18 months so it is in his memory that the couple will be completing their selection of challenges.

Karen kicked off in spectacular style by taking part in the “Whole Hog”- a 10K run through muddy bogs and obstacles on a very chilly day in October!

For their November challenges, Rick took part in Movember, growing his very own fetching facial fluff, while Karen took the more extreme route and decided to complete a 12 hour spinning session- in a pink monkey onesie!

Karen is a keen charity fundraiser and with the support of husband Rick has put herself out there to help good causes many times before:

“I first got into charity challenges a few years ago and have taken part in lots of different things from walks to treks. A friend of mine inspired me to do 14 months of challenges, having just completed a similar thing herself. We chose to support Cerebra because they support families who are going through things similar to what Rick has experienced with Thomas,” she said.

The pair are hoping to do a three peaks trek next year as one of their challenges and we will be keeping up to date with their escapades on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

If you would like to donate towards Karen and Rick’s fundraising campaign, you can do so on their Just Giving page.