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Conference - 9th May 2014

*Accredited by APIL training 5.5 CPD hours



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To share and increase knowledge of how the effects of activity, exercise, hydrotherapy and different clinical therapeutic and educational approaches and placements can improve the condition and prognosis for children with cerebral palsy and brain injury.

Expected Learning Outcomes:
  1. To be updated on the latest N.I.C.E. recommendations and cost for the management of spasticity and co-existing early musculoskeletal changes.
  2. To be aware of the latest research into exercise and the energy cost of locomotion and movement in children with cerebral palsy and the implications for rehabilitation.
  3. To understand how to use the S.E.N. System in parallel with clinical negligence cases.
  4. To increase knowledge of the benefits and complexities of hydrotherapy and the evidence required to support and maintain home hydrotherapy pools.
  5. To understand how the Bobath concept and conductive educational approach impact on outcomes in cerebral palsy and brain injury cases and the cost involved.
The Agenda:
09.15 Chair’s Welcome and Introductions
09.25 Session 1: Benefits and accessibility of Hydrotherapy in CP and ABI.
Dr Heather Epps
10.05 Session 2: Exercise evaluation of the child with CP
Professor Vish Unnithan
10.45 Refreshments break/networking
11.20 Session 3: Maximising outcomes: using the SEN system in parallel with clinical negligence cases.  Barrister Deborah Hay
12.00 Panel, Questions and Answers
Professor V Unnithan, Dr H Epps, D Hay
12.30 Lunch in the Garden Room
13.30 Chair’s welcome back
13.35 Session 4:  Management of spasticity and co-existing early musculo- skeletal complications in children with non-progressive brain, implications for improving outcome and rehabilitation. Stephanie Cawker
14.15 Session 5: Evidencing the effects of Bobath Therapy in improving outcomes in Cerebral Palsy. Jenny Carroll
14.40 Session 6: Understanding Conductive Education. Evidencing the costs of a conductor in addition to therapies.  Helen Brind and Amanda Richardson
15.05 Panel, Questions and Answers Stephanie Cawker, Jenny Carroll, Helen Brind
15.30 Refreshments break/networking
15.55 Session 6: Case examples following settlement CNP team/ Dr H Epps
16.35 Questions and Answers
16.50 Chair’s Summation

Dr Heather Epps

Dr Heather Epps obtained her MSc and Ph.D. from Liverpool and Kings College London University in 1998 and 2005. She undertook a multi-centred hydrotherapy research project with Great Ormond Street and Birmingham Children’s Hospitals, the clinical research unit at UCL and Health Economics centre at York University. She then continued to work with the EuroQol group at York University for a further year. She is a consultant in paediatric and young adult neurophysiotherapy, director of Children’s Neuro Physio and Aquaepps and a medico-legal expert in the field of neurodisability in children and young adults. She has 23 years’ experience in this field and has a special interest in cerebral palsy, head injury, complex needs, catastrophic injury and also aquatic physiotherapy. Heather consults and teaches physiotherapists, carers and educational staff throughout the UK and is an expert in her field. She has worked in the 5 largest tertiary centres in the UK (Great Ormond Street Children’s, Alder Hey Children’s, Birmingham Children’s and the Middlesex Adolescent Unit Hospital’s), Tadworth Children’s Trust and within schools and the community. Heather was instrumental in developing the motor curriculum (one of 5 sections) of the profound curriculum. Heather is an Accredited Paediatric NeuroBobath and Aquatic Trained Physiotherapist delivering over 40 courses to educational and health professionals each year, reviewing papers for journals and releasing 4 training DVD’s for schools and physiotherapists. She has prepared quantum and tribunal reports and advised in numerous cases on the past, present and future physiotherapy and related equipment needs of children and young adults with complex needs and neurological dysfunction, including pool design. She is the executive research officer for the Aquatic Therapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists and has presented her work in America and Europe. Currently Heather lectures on the Hertfordshire University MSc and is consulting on another multi-centred study with Sheffield, Alder Hey and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospitals in addition to setting up a physiotherapy and hydrotherapy service for a special school in Kent. Heather is proud to maintain a clinical caseload despite her diverse interests.

Professor Vish Unnithan

Professor Unnithan obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Glasgow in 1993 and then did a 2 year post-doctoral research fellowship with the late Dr Oded Bar-Or at McMaster University in Canada. Subsequently, he has worked in both the USA (University of San Francisco and Syracuse University, NY) and the UK (University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University).  He is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a former President of the North American Society for Pediatric Exercise Medicine (2006-2010). He is currently Professor of Paediatric Exercise Physiology in the Centre for Sport, Health and Exercise Research at Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent.  His research interests lie in the area of paediatric exercise physiology. Over the last 26 years, he has primarily focused upon the physiological responses to exercise in the elite child athlete and the child with neuro-developmental disorders (cerebral palsy), with a specific emphasis on the cardiovascular and cardio-respiratory responses to exercise in these populations.  His energy cost of locomotion work in CP is widely cited in the extant literature in this area.  He has published extensively, with over 90 peer-reviewed publications.

Deborah Hay

Deborah appears in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners UK as an expert in her field. Deborah’s practice focuses on Education law including special educational needs, admissions and exclusions, higher and further education, community care, professional negligence and personal injury. Deborah regularly speaks and lectures at many conferences and seminars in this field (including for Central Law Training) and is a member of Special Interest User Group for the Special Education Needs and Disability Tribunal.Deborah Hay is an ‘outstanding barrister’ and a ‘formidable negotiator’ with ‘excellent knowledge of the law’” The Legal 500, 2011“Deborah Hay impresses sources with the variety and quality of her caseload. She has expertise in admissions, exclusions, special educational needs, higher and further education matters. Clients say of her that ‘she is outstanding in every respect and really pursues cases with vigor’.” Chambers UK, 2012.

Stephanie Cawker

Stephanie Cawker is a Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist working in paediatric neuro -disability, and an extended scope practitioner BTX injector. She has worked at Great Ormond Street Hospital since 2000 as part of the multidisciplinary neuro-disability service, and co-ordinates the movement disorders service. Previously she worked for Tower Hamlets and The Royal London NHS trusts as a community paediatric physiotherapist; as part of the neuro-orthopaedic team and in the gait analysis laboratory. Stephanie has been a long standing member of the Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists APCP, and has held roles at regional and national level. She was a member of the APCP ‘BTX guidance’ development group, 2008 and one of the Physiotherapy representatives on the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (England & Wales) guideline development group – ‘Spasticity management in children and young people with non-progressive brain disorders’ 2012. 

Jenny Carroll

Jenny Carroll leads the specialist team of therapists at the Bobath Centre, Wales, an internationally renowned paediatric Bobath therapist and senior tutor, recognised as an expert in the treatment of cerebral palsy. Jenny trained at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital School of Physiotherapy in Birmingham and qualified in 1985. Jenny worked in Birmingham for several years, then in Milton Keynes and Luton, Bedfordshire. In these posts Jenny developed her paediatric, Bobath and management skills before joining Bobath Children’s Therapy Centre Wales in 1998 and becoming centre director in 2006. Jenny is on the executive committee of the European Academy of Childhood Disability and  on the national committee of the British Association of Bobath Trained Therapists (BABTT), and is part of their editorial team.

Amanda Richardson

Amanda Richardson is a special needs teacher with over thirty years experience of teaching children in both mainstream and special school settings. She joined PACE, a charity and non-maintained special school for children with motor disorders and related learning challenges, in 1995 and with the Founder, Heather Last, OT, helped to grow the school from nine pupils to a service which provides full time and sessional provision for over a hundred children from Buckinghamshire and the surrounding counties.

Amanda is an advocate of the transdisciplinary approach used at PACE through which the complex and  inter-related needs of children with motor disorders can be addressed in an integrated manner using the combined skills of therapists, teachers and conductors (professionals trained in the motor education of children and adults with neurological conditions.)

Amanda became Head Teacher at PACE in 2002 and Chief Executive in 2012. She is currently Chair of Action Cerebral Palsy, a consortium of specialist providers for children with Cerebral Palsy, who are engaged in raising awareness of the challenges faced by children with Cerebral Palsy and their families at national level.

Helen Brind

Helen is a highly specialised NeuroBobath and Aquatic Trained paediatric physiotherapist with 19 years’ experience in Neurology. She has worked in Australia, America and the UK. She is currently the lead physiotherapist for the PACE Centre which is a charity based Conductive Education school catering for children with cerebral palsy and brain injury between the ages of 6 months and 18 years old. The PACE centre is a school which has Conductive Education as its central ethos. However Helen considers that a combination of many different approaches such as Bobath and Sensory integration play an important role in the development of specific programmes for each individual child. She is therefore able to combine many approaches with conductive education to ensure the best outcome for each child. Helen is also a member of the schools Senior Development and Training Team (SDTT)