Cerebral Palsy Research

‘Early natural history and clinical markers of motor severity, motor type and topography in infants with cerebral palsy’

Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute
Awarded 2019
Co-funded by Rotary Club of St Ives

“I have worked as a physiotherapist with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance for over ten years. In this time I have seen the direct impact research has had on changing the lives of people with CP.”

Researcher Profile

Anna te Velde is a research physiotherapist and PhD candidate with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute and The University of Sydney. Her research focuses on mapping the early natural history and development of babies with cerebral palsy (CP) in order to answer parent’s questions about what their future holds. Anna is passionate about working globally in low and middle income countries.

She works closely with CSF Global on early diagnosis of CP in Bangladesh. Anna is a physiotherapist with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Early Diagnosis Clinic, Australia’s first multi-disciplinary clinic aimed at the early diagnosis of CP.

Project Summary

The early, accurate diagnosis of cerebral palsy (CP) is now often possible under six months of age. When a diagnosis is made often parent’s next questions are: “what does our future hold?”, “what can we do now?” Currently there is limited understanding about what future severity and type of CP a baby will have because until now babies with CP have not been tracked comprehensively under 18 months. Currently the best information to predict future functioning is from two years of age.

The aim of this research is to further understand how CP develops in infants under two years of age and confirm which early signs can predict future movement capabilities and which type of CP a baby will have.

The research will include:

  • A comprehensive review and synthesis of all relevant research to date to give a clear picture of what tools will best predict future movement ability in CP and how accurate these predictions can be.
  • 300 babies who have CP or who are at high risk of CP in Australia and Bangladesh will be tracked from 3 to 24 months using best evidence tools. This information will be used to describe the early development of CP and to understand which signs at a young age best predict what the outcomes babies will have at two years.

Findings of this research will be rapidly disseminated into front line services that work with babies with CP. Evidence based strategies will be used.

Supervisors: Dr Cathy Morgan, Professor Iona Novak & Professor Nadia Badawi