Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) will continue to roll out its Early Response Therapy Program for babies at risk across the NSW Central West, including Orange, over the next two years after receiving more than $220,000 from Greater Charitable Foundation.
While one in every 700 Australian babies is diagnosed with cerebral palsy each year, half of these babies get limited or no specialist early intervention before their first birthday.
CPA’s Early Response Therapy Program provides solutions for these at-risk babies at a pivotal point in their development, which can reduce the severity and impact of disability for each child.
While the social-distancing laws that are now enforceable due to the COVID-19 pandemic are preventing face-to-face sessions, CPA is utilising CPA Telepractice to connect with clients which allows them to access the program online and engage with their therapists from home.
According to Jo Ford, CPA’s General Manager for Early Childhood Early Intervention and Therapy Services, many babies that display signs of cerebral palsy do not receive the type or intensity of specialist therapy they need until after their first birthday, while awaiting their diagnosis. It’s a key issue the Alliance is addressing.
“Neuroscience suggests that to harness maximum plasticity, intervention should occur before six-months of age. The first two years of a child’s life are therefore critical for cognitive and motor development as the brain is undergoing constant spontaneous plasticity,” Jo explained.
“Early intervention reduces the severity of disability for each baby and child and in turn increases their potential to live a more comfortable, independent and inclusive life.
“Early Response Therapy Program aims to ensure that families in Orange can access the therapy their baby needs as soon as possible via CPA Telepractice, to maximise their developmental outcomes, and the health and wellbeing of the entire family unit.”
“Families referred to us will be supported with 30-hours of critical, specialised therapy which is now being delivered online from highly-skilled occupational therapists, speech therapists and physiotherapists. Specific assessments can support the family with information to inform their child’s NDIS planning, therefore enhancing appropriate levels of funding for each child's needs into the future.”
Over the next two years, funding from the Greater Charitable Foundation will enable over 35 families across NSW to be provided with critical early intervention therapy and support through the program.
Greater Charitable Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Anne Long, said the Foundation, now in its eighth year of giving, is delighted to be supporting CPA in Orange and is looking forward to the positive impact the program will have on the development of children born with cerebral palsy.
“Greater Charitable Foundation has a strong and proud tradition of partnering with organisations that provide practical, life-changing initiatives that directly support families and communities. CPA provides such a critical early intervention service that can reduce the life-long impacts this condition can have on children and provide a bright and positive future for them and their families” Anne said.
“We are exceptionally proud of the positive impact we have made over the past eight years and are looking forward to working with our latest group of partners to help change the lives of those they support.”
Greater Charitable Foundation’s allocation of more than $1 million takes its total funding since establishment in 2011 to more than $9 million, which has been allocated to 31 charity partners, impacting more than 32,000 beneficiaries.