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Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) improving lives

“The earlier we can diagnose and get babies to intervention, the better. Receiving the diagnosis of cerebral palsy is, parents will say, the saddest day of their lives. However, families also say it’s often the first day they can move forward, because now they know how to help their child.”
- Professor Novak, Head of Research, Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute, University of Sydney

For 75 years, leading disability charity Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) has provided evidence-based services and programs delivering positive and measurable social impact for people with disability, and their families. Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common physical disability in childhood and people with CP experience significant barriers in everyday life.

In 2005, a generous bequest established the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation, funding world-class international research driving a global push towards prevention and cure of CP.

However, complex and lifelong physical, medical, educational and social needs associated with CP remain largely unmet. Furthermore, relative to the condition’s prevalence, CP remains under-recognised both at a societal level and within the political arena.

To address this, Cerebral Palsy Alliance collaborated with four other leading organisations, to develop the first Australian and New Zealand Cerebral Palsy Strategy. Reflecting a united voice informed by people with CP, their families, professionals and researchers across Australia and New Zealand, this game-changing strategy identifies three critical areas to focus efforts to improve the lives of people living with CP and their families, namely: 

• Early diagnosis 
• Effective interventions and treatments
• Reduced time between diagnosis and intervention

Australia’s first Early Diagnosis Clinic for Cerebral Palsy was launched in February 2018, at CPA’s Prairiewood site, streamlining the process of diagnosis for families, and bringing assessment, diagnosis and treatment under the one roof.

“Having a global assessment in one appointment was not only time-saving for your staff and for the family, but it gave four experts the ability to combine their skills for the benefit of that family,” said a donor after a visit to a clinic.

In order to further the aims of the Strategy, Cerebral Palsy Alliance requires funding to open additional Early Diagnosis Clinics for CP. The clinics will enable access for more families from a wider geographic location. 

The clinics will provide ongoing surveillance and monitoring of development for all babies diagnosed with or at high risk of CP, until age two, and the gold standard for diagnostic pathway for infants, combining neuroimaging, neurological, motor, cognitive, communication and feeding assessments, as well as screening of parental well-being. Families engaging with the clinics will experience a supportive, respectful and coordinated diagnostic journey.

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