A new research study funded by Australian Rotary Health will aim to answer parent’s questions on what the future for their baby will look like after being diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

With a Funding Partner PhD Scholarship, co-funded by the Rotary Club of St Ives and the University of Sydney, Anna te Velde will investigate how cerebral palsy develops in infants under two years of age and confirm which early signs can predict future movement capabilities as well as which type of cerebral palsy a baby will have.

“When a diagnosis is made often parent’s next questions are ‘what does our future hold?’ ‘what can we do now?’” Anna said.

“Currently there is limited understanding about what future severity and type of cerebral palsy a baby will have because until now, babies with cerebral palsy have not been tracked comprehensively under 18 months.”

Anna’s research will conduct 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 cerebral palsy and how accurate these predictions can be.

300 babies who have cerebral palsy or are at high risk of cerebral palsy in Australia and Bangladesh will also be tracked from 3 to 24 months using the best evidence-based tools.

“Cerebral palsy is a broad condition and there is a large range of therapies available for specific types of cerebral palsy. Understanding the type of cerebral palsy a baby has at a young age will allow for targeted therapies while baby’s brains are most responsive to neuroplastic change which will lead to the best future for these babies.”

Anna hopes the findings of this research will be disseminated into front line services that work with babies with cerebral palsy.

“I have worked in the field of early diagnosis and early intervention for cerebral palsy for the past two years. Parents ask me questions about what the future of their baby will look like on a daily basis,” Anna said.

“I am in the unique position to be able to work with a team of internationally renowned experts to do research to help answer these questions.”

We wish Anna all the best with her research.


Media contact: Jessica Cooper – (02) 8837 1900 or jessica@arh.org.au