Early Assessment and Intervention Course hosted by Cerebral Palsy Cymru

May 25 2020

In February 2020, Cerebral Palsy Cymru hosted an Early Assessment and Intervention course for infants at high risk of neurodevelopmental problems.

This 6 day practical and evidence-based course, which was held at our new Centre, was led by two highly experienced therapists, Ms Christine Barber, Consultant Physiotherapist and Dr Betty Hutchon, Consultant Occupational Therapist

Senior Therapists from Cerebral Palsy Cymru provided supervision and support during the hands on practical sessions, and our Family Support Coordinator, Glenys Evans was also there to provide vital communication and support to the families who agreed to attend the practical sessions with their babies.

This unique course has been run overseas and at different locations in the UK and provides a comprehensive overview of assessment and early intervention from birth to 12 months. It provided attending physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists with the opportunity to develop their skills working with high risk infants in the NICU and post discharge during the first year of life. Incorporating current scientific knowledge and the latest theoretical developments, it promoted excellence and forward looking best clinical practice in early therapeutic intervention for infants at high risk of developmental impairments.

The course was updated to include utilisation of the EI SMART approach to provide a thorough understanding of infant sensory, motor, attention and parent-infant interactions over the first year of life and how to ensure they are woven into clinical practice to maximise the effectiveness of early intervention. Key principles of this course were to promote and encourage infant self-initiated movement, variability, play, communication and social interaction.

The course was delivered through lectures, video analysis, workshops and daily treatment sessions with infants and their families followed by case presentations and practical demonstrations by the course leaders.

Below, Rina Van der Walt, Senior SLT at Cerebral Palsy Cymru and Senior Bobath tutor, describes her experience as one of the lecturers on the course.

“It was a pleasure to teach in a dedicated classroom! Each day consisted of lectures and clinical sessions where participants worked in pairs with individual infants and their families, under the supervision of course leaders and the early intervention senior therapy team from the Centre. We also held a series of  workshops. Each day one baby and their family were invited to stay for a further clinical session which included a more in-depth analysis of the baby’s abilities and difficulties and demonstration of possible ways to support the baby in developing new or different skills within his/her capacity.

The daily clinical sessions and workshops were parent-led and helped to extend and develop the infant’s skills in conjunction with parents to improve a baby’s function and development in a holistic way during natural daily activities e.g. addressing posture and movement during play, social interaction, eating, dressing and nappy change. There was also an opportunity for clinical case discussions and problem solving in small groups as well as practical sessions in small groups where participants practiced handling strategies on baby-size dolls, discussing and clinically reasoning together.”

What makes our Early Assessment and Intervention Course unique is the inter-disciplinary approach – in terms of course content, lecturers and participants – common framework for PT, OT, S&LT’s. Participants get the opportunity to treat babies in pairs under supervision each day of the course, applying the knowledge as they learn. Clinical reasoning and handling skills are developed under careful guidance of supervisors from each discipline who are experts in the management of at risk babies. All lecturers and supervisors on the course are experts in this field.

Find out more about upcoming courses hosted by Cerebral Palsy Cymru.


Feedback from parents who attended the course with their babies:

“Everyone was welcoming and friendly. Having both boys and attending the course on my own could be physically challenging, but there was always someone offering a helping hand.”

“The course has enabled me to think about and practice different positions to hold/position the boys in order to work different muscles. Also to know what my boys can tolerate; when to push them further and when to give them a break.”

“The EAIC has helped me gain a better understanding in how to incorporate therapy into day to day activities.”

“Everything that was shown to us has benefited my daughter and it gave us a better understanding of what we should be doing as a family.”


Feedback from delegates who attended the course:

“The whole combination of theoretical, practical, and hands-on learning, combined with opportunities for reflection and individual advise was most useful.”

“The course gave me confidence in goal setting for Early Intervention. I have a much greater knowledge of Early Intervention and feel that my clinical reasoning has developed as a result.”

“There was so much content on this course which I absolutely loved. An essential course to attend when working with our at ‘high-risk’ population!”

“This course helped me identify some ways that we can look at developing current services from an OT point of view.”

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Launch of Cerebral Palsy Cymru's new private therapy service

Join us to celebrate the launch of our new private therapy service. Sponsored by Case Management Cymru.

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