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What, Why, How

What

The Early Response Therapy Program for Babies at Risk of Cerebral Palsy in NSW is focused on ensuring early intervention and care is provided to babies diagnosed with cerebral palsy or diagnosed at risk of cerebral palsy (CP), and their families, in the critical first year of the baby’s life. The program aims to ensure families can access the therapy their baby needs when it’s needed most, to maximise their child’s developmental outcomes and support the health and wellbeing of the entire family.

Why

One in every 600 Australian babies is diagnosed with CP, yet staggeringly half of these babies do not get intervention before their first birthday, unless they receive neonatal intensive care follow up. Almost all do not get cerebral palsy specific intervention until after their second birthday while awaiting their diagnosis. The first 2 years of a child’s life are critical for cognitive and motor development as the brain is undergoing constant spontaneous plasticity. Neuroscience suggests, that to harness maximum brain plasticity, intervention should commence before 6 months.

How

The Early Response Therapy Program provides services for babies at-risk of developing cerebral palsy at a pivotal point in their development, which can reduce the severity and impact of disability for each child.

As a result of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, CPA is now delivering the program online to clients through the Telepractice service. In addition, they have created an online playgroup for families to connect with one another and have also purchased new assessment kits, which are being used to assess an at-risk baby’s skills remotely.

Early Response Therapy Impact

The mission of CPA is to build futures for people with cerebral palsy. The Early Response Therapy Program for Babies at Risk of Cerebral Palsy aims to maximise each child’s developmental outcomes and support the health and wellbeing of the entire family unit, thereby laying a platform for a brighter future Greater Charitable Foundation funding support will be directed to running the program across Alstonville, Croudace Bay, Dubbo, East Maitland, Orange, Tuggerah and Wagga Wagga, to benefit an estimated 36 babies and their families.

A reduction in the severity of disability for each child increases their potential to live a more comfortable, independent and inclusive life. It expands their potential to participate in the workforce and in society as a valued and respected contributor, reducing their life long costs of care, and the costs to the Australian economy.

A family's testimonial

“Our CPA team are now part of our family and we are so grateful to them for the work they do.”

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