News: House of Commons launch for cerebral palsy report by Churchill Fellow
Published: 9 Jan 2019
Churchill Fellow Amanda Richardson’s report on children with cerebral palsy will be launched at a reception at the House of Commons on Tuesday 15 January. The event will take place at the State Rooms of Speaker’s House by the kind permission of Mr Speaker, The Rt Hon John Bercow MP.
MPs and peers who attend will be asked to take the ‘CP Pledge’, a commitment to campaign for three of Amanda’s report’s key recommendations. These aim at improving provision by teachers and health professionals for children with cerebral palsy and their families. The event will also be attended by campaigners, clinicians and researchers working in the field of cerebral palsy.
The report showcases learning from Amanda’s Fellowship travels to Australia in 2018, where she investigated early interventions for children with cerebral palsy or at risk of developing it. Amanda, who is the Chief Executive of charity Action Cerebral Palsy, said:
“Having worked with children with cerebral palsy and their families for 23 years, I am passionate about improving outcomes for these children. Currently, too many children in the UK do not have signs of developmental delay identified and addressed early enough in the critical early weeks and months of life. This leads to lost opportunities for vital intervention for the child - and support for parents - at a time when they need it most.”
Below: Amanda, left, with Dr Prue Golland of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance
During her travels, Amanda identified areas of outstanding practice that she believes can be replicated in the UK. She learnt about the Australian Cerebral Palsy Register, a comprehensive bank of information on children with Cerebral Palsy. The Register is used by researchers in this field and informs prevention and intervention strategies in Australia and beyond. Amanda’s report calls for the creation of a similar register for the UK.
Amanda’s report also calls for improved teacher training on cerebral palsy, and standard national early intervention pathways by health professionals for babies. She said:
“I believe that these objectives are all achievable, given sufficient support. If implemented, they will significantly improve the lives and opportunities for children with cerebral palsy, now and in the future."