There are estimated to be 30,000 children in the UK with cerebral palsy. But support is inconsistent, leading to very different outcomes for different children.
Amanda Richardson, chair of Action Cerebral Palsy, the consortium of CP charities behind the campaign, said: “Every day we see the amazing progress that children with cerebral palsy can make, given the right support.
“But we are fully aware that only a small proportion of the 1,800 children born with cerebral palsy every year receive the early and intensive intervention that can transform their lives.
“By joining forces, we aim to get a better deal for all children with cerebral palsy.”
Research has shown that early and intensive intervention can lead to significantly better outcomes for children with CP and significant future benefits for society.
With appropriate intervention, undamaged parts of the brain to take over some of the functions of the damaged part.
Early treatments can lead to greater independence that will improve participation in all aspects of life, reduce the costs of social and health care, and for many, enable greater academic achievement and ability to work.
Louise Taylor, mother of seven-year-old Sonny who has cerebral palsy and attends PACE, one of the consortium centres, said: “When Sonny was born we were given details of a bleak and uncertain future, but he is now highly motivated and has made massive achievements since he started to attend PACE.
“Early and intensive support can benefit not only the child, but also all those around him. We also know that the financial support Sonny will need in the future is now significantly less, thanks to all the improvements he has made.”
Action Cerebral Palsy are campaigning for:
Every child with cerebral palsy in the UK to have consistent access to high-quality services, enabling them to achieve their full potential.
Higher expectations of the potential outcomes for children and young people with cerebral palsy.
The earliest possible identification, assessment and diagnosis for infants and very young children with cerebral palsy.
A national early intervention programme for young children with cerebral palsy, with ring-fenced funding.
Better guidance and training for professionals working with children with cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy is a form of physical disability caused by damage to the immature or developing brain that occurs before, during or immediately after the birth of the child. As well as experiencing difficulty with movement, children with CP may also have speech and language and learning impairments.
PICTURED: Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North & Cleveleys and the only Member of Parliament with cerebral palsy, launched the Parliamentary inquiry to identify the policy changes needed to help children with CP achieve their full potential.
The inquiry will build on the recent Government announcement that health bodies will now be obliged to discuss with parents the educational advice, guidance and intervention services available to children with complex developmental and/or sensory needs, such as cerebral palsy, in the very early years.
This is a very positive step and will lead to a more joined-up approach between the early years education and health systems, meaning parents can ensure that their children receive crucial support that they may not have been aware of.
The inquiry will explore the more fundamental changes needed to improve early intervention and more joined up working across education and health services for children with cerebral palsy.
Action Cerebral Palsy comprise: Stick ‘n’ Step, Merseyside; Legacy Rainbow House, Ormskirk; PACE, Aylesbury; The Rainbow Centre, Fareham; London Centre for Children with CP; Percy Hedley, Newcastle; NICE, Birmingham; Steps, Loughborough; Paces, Sheffield; Megan Baker House, Herefordshire.