Students’ ‘Big Idea’ gives power to children

Posted on Wednesday, February 19 2014

BU students win award

Bournemouth University students used teddy bears and a comic book ‘super hero’ theme to win a Dragons Den-style ‘Big Idea’ competition run by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

The scheme is part of a new physiotherapy programme aiming to increase involvement child cystic fibrosis patients can have in their care.

Students Gary Whiting and Luke Rockett, both studying Physiotherapy at Bournemouth University, worked alongside other students from the South West and created the ‘Teddies for Toddlers’ scheme as their ‘Big Idea’. The scheme aims to increase children’s engagement with their treatment of Cystic Fibrosis, a life-long condition affecting the lungs.

The idea for ‘Teddies for Toddlers’ came during a work placement at a pediatric physiotherapy unit where they discovered that children and their parents would benefit from having a better understanding of treatments.

Gary Whiting worked with student Dave Progl, from the University of Southampton, to create a system where children can choose how to care for their own teddy bear with help from a comic book giving instructions.

The idea is for children to care for the teddy bear and subsequently learn about their own care. The students said, “Research shows that it’s important for a child to have some say and choose what they would like to do in their care. We would give the initial comic to the child and they would choose their treatment plan from that”.

Children aged 6 to 10 are targeted through a super hero comic book character and games which can later be used to gain feedback.

Dr Helena Johnson, honorary student president said, “We liked the concept of needing to incorporate fun into physiotherapy to promote self-management. It was thoroughly investigated and you then went on to fully develop the product with your comic book and characters.”