The beginnings 1930 - 1940
Dr Temple Fay
The forefather of bibic therapy was Dr Temple Fay, a neurosurgeon and professor of neurology and neuropsychology in the 1930s and 1940s. One of Dr Fay's responsibilities was to operate on children with brain injuries, and monitor the post-operative progress of his patients. He found it was possible to divide the children into two distinct groups - those who came from wealthy families and those who came from relatively poor families. As there was no national health service in the USA, if parents wanted their children to receive any post-operative treatment, like physiotherapy or hydrotherapy, then they had to pay for it.
As a result, he started to work with Glenn Doman (physiotherapist), Robert Doman (specialist in rehabilitative medicine) and Carl Delacato (Educational Psychologist), and they founded the Neurophysical Rehabilitation Centre. Their commitment to creating easy to access services, of which their centre was a leading light, was one of the key fundaments upon which bibic was founded.
In the late 1940s together they established what 'typical development' was, and discovered that all children develop along identical lines. Having done so, they designed therapeutic methods that encouraged functional improvements in children by providing fresh stimuli to whichever area of the brain was struggling. This is how the principle of 'sensory/motor stimulation', which we use a lot in bibic therapy today, became established.
The British Institute is born
In 1955 The Rehabilitation Centre at Philadelphia was founded as an inpatient service, to deliver on a larger scale the ideas which Dr Fay had first discovered at the Neurophysical Rehabilitation Centre. It grew gradually as more families used it, and the staff team diversified to include Doctors, Nurses and therapists from various disciplines until it became the main centre for 'The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential' in 1963.
There was a British Institute (that would later become bibic) and 18 others, including the Irish, Italian and Australian Institutes, that worked as satellite organisations to the Philadelphia Institute for six years, all with the common purpose to treat children with brain injuries. The British institute was led by Keith Pennock, bibic's founding member.
Keith Pennock and his daughter Alison
As a child Keith's daughter had developed brain damage after a reaction to a vaccination, and Keith and his wife had travelled to Philadephia to use the services at The Rehabilitation Centre with Alison. In doing so he had become skilled in using their methods, and got to know the practitioners there well. Because of this he was approached to open the British Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential, which he did in 1972 in Staffordshire, which moved to Somerset in 1976. Some differences of opinion regarding methodology, and the natural independence from Philadephia that grew over time, led to the independence of the British institute, which became bibic in 1980. We remained in the same premises until January 2014 when we moved to our current home in Langport. Keith Pennock remained as its first Chief Executive, and retired in the late 1990s.
Today our therapy is centred on the principle of 'neuroplasticity' (the practice of therapeutic activities which are manageable, and which are repeated little but often). bibic therapy can help children with any developmental difficulty, and it aims to take into account the needs of the child and everyone around them, to produce a therapy programme which is easy to understand, and which is manageable and effective. All in all, it teaches the parents to become the child's therapist, just as Keith Pennock first did in the 1960s with his daughter, before setting up the service which we still deliver today.
bibic therapy was originally focused on brain injuries, whereas today we support children with any difficulty that affects their development. Our methods today are an evolution of what the centres and institutes in America taught us, and we refine these continually to ensure that we are using the best, most credible, and effective ones available.
bibic (The British Institute for Brain Injured Children) prefers not to use its full name, because brain injuries, whilst a central part of our work, are just one of many other difficulties we can support children with. We occasionally connect with the other Institutes around the world, but our independence has only ever grown stronger as time passes.