Claire Smart

CPA Assistive Tech Newsletter – get to know Claire Smart

Q: What is your background of work? How did you come to work at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, and be involved with the Research Institute?

My background is working as a physiotherapist. Growing up with family with a disability, I saw the impact that physiotherapy can have people’s quality of life. I also love the diversity there is in working with people with a disability and getting to see them achieve things they didn’t think was possible. I completed a thesis project in paediatrics as part of my honours degree and was really inspired about pursuing questions we didn’t have answers for and sharing knowledge with the potential to advance healthcare. I am currently part of the CPA Research Participation Model, which is a program giving therapists the opportunity to build their research skills.

Q: What are you passionate about in working with people with cerebral palsy?

I am really passionate about seeing children with cerebral palsy progress their skills and see all they can achieve. From getting to see kids take their first steps to teaching them how to ride a bike, it is a joy to be part of their journeys. I am also driven by innovation in technology and the potential it holds in changing the future trajectory of life for people with cerebral palsy.

Q: What are some exciting projects that you and your team are working on at the moment?

I’m currently working on a project called Accessible Tech Toys for Infants with Significant Motor Impairments. As part of phase one, we have a survey open that is gaining knowledge around parents’ experiences in finding toys for their child with cerebral palsy. Phase two has involved working with engineering students from Sydney University in building specifically adapted toys. We are looking forward to trialling these toys in the coming months with children around NSW and ACT.

Q: What are some things you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time I currently enjoy training for triathlons and recently exploring the great mountain biking trails there are around the Arboretum.

Q: What are 3 restaurants/cafes you like to go to in Canberra and would recommend to others?

The Howling Moon is one of my favourites and has a beautiful view of Black Mountain Tower and the sunset over Canberra.

Space Kitchen in Woden has very funky and creative food!

Café Stepping Stone is a social enterprise art café in a historic homestead in Strathnairn. They provide inclusive employment and training for migrant and refugee women with their vegetarian café and catering.

Q: What’s a podcast you’re listening to at the moment? What makes it interesting, and why do you enjoy it?

My favourite current podcast is called New Mercies. It is about Mercy Ships, an international development organisation that deploys hospital ships and volunteers to developing countries. They offer medical care for people living with diseases and disabilities, and build the capacity of the local healthcare systems. The podcast shares the stories of the Mercy Ships crew, patients, volunteers and partners. It is fascinating to hear the stories of life living on a ship and providing hope and healing to those in developing countries.