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Mary Quinton – pioneer physiotherapist – dies age 88

She specialised in treating children affected by cerebral palsy

Thanks her own unique form of body language, she made sessions and interesting fun for the babies and children who came into her care at her clinic in Berne, Switzerland. According to her obituary in the Times, Mary Quinton ‘motivated both child and family and from the start she was able to gain the trust of parents, taking time with them, teaching them with tireless patience and integrating the therapy into every day life.’

Mary Quinton is a name not known to many – but was responsible for improving the quality of life for thousands of children.

She specialised in treating children affected by cerebral palsy, inspiring them to gain control over their bodies by learning movements ‘by feeling rather than thinking.’ Thanks her own unique form of body language, she made sessions and interesting fun for the babies and children who came into her care at her clinic in Berne, Switzerland. According to her obituary in the Times, Mary Quinton ‘motivated both child and family and from the start she was able to gain the trust of parents, taking time with them, teaching them with tireless patience and integrating the therapy into every day life.’ British by birth, despite her extraordinary skill at communication with body language, she never really got to grips with any of Switzerland’s three national languages – sometimes said to be the key to her success.

In 1977 she received an MBE for her contribution to her profession. She was also the first physiotherapist to receive the Sunshine Medal for the impact she made on developmental rehabilitation.

Cerebral palsy is a very diverse and complex condition – it can be very mild or very profound, and affects everyone differently. 

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