Sheffield kids get mitts on fun project

Thomas Glossop, Max Burgar-Briggs and Maliqa Khan with their creations
Thomas Glossop, Max Burgar-Briggs and Maliqa Khan with their creations
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Kids with mild cerebral palsy have been given a helping hand by a new scheme to help them use their weak hands more.

Three children with hemiplegia - a condition causing one-sided weakness - donned a mitt on their strong hand, to encourage use of their weaker side.

The Muddy Mitts scheme saw the youngsters, aged five to eight, go from barely using their weak hand to using both hands together for a variety of fun activities.

It was the brainchild of occupational therapists Eve Ovenden and Kiki Matemba-Belli, who ran the five-week project with therapy assistant Anna Walze.

Kiki said: “These children have varying degrees of hemiplegia but were all not using their weak hand at all.

“The thinking behind muddy mitts is that if you don’t use it, you lose it. They come to these groups and they do activities with the glove, and get used to using their other hand. They then spend one hour each day at home wearing it, and one hour at school.

“Since coming, we have noticed them being so much more confident using both hands together.”

Using £100 in funding from The Children’s Hospital Charity, Anna and Kiki bought resources to engage the children in craft, from painting plant pots to planting bulbs and making chocolate apples.

Max Burgar-Briggs, aged eight, from Hillsborough, was diagnosed with hemiplegia after being born at just 24 weeks gestation.

He said: “I am always looking forward to coming and seeing the others. I like making stuff. My favourite was the chocolate apples!”

His mum, Sally Briggs, said: “He never used his right hand unless I helped him. It was too much like hard work. Coming here, he is using both hands so much more.”