Early Diagnosis Clinic – Cerebral Palsy

Getting the right diagnosis early means starting the right support early

Early Diagnosis of cerebral palsy

A diagnosis of cerebral palsy can now be made for children under 6 months of age. Babies’ brains develop more rapidly in the first 1000 days of their life than at any other time. Getting the right diagnosis early means your child can start with appropriate interventions and supports to reach their best potential.

CPA’s Early Diagnosis Clinics are free diagnostic clinics for babies at high risk of cerebral palsy. The clinic aims to fast track diagnosis and enable quicker access to early interventions, family support and better outcomes for the future.

Each clinic has an expert multi-disciplinary team, including a paediatric neurologist, social worker, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, and speech pathologist.

Why is early intervention so important?

Research shows that early intervention including intensive, repetitive, task-specific exercise should start for children diagnosed with cerebral palsy within the first 12 months. This is essential for the developing brain as the connections between the brain and spine are still forming. Experiences a child has when they are very young, shapes the way their brains develop. Infants at risk of cerebral palsy also need targeted intervention and monitoring to prevent secondary problems from occurring.

"Early diagnosis of cerebral palsy is 98% accurate when three tests show that CP is likely – movement assessment, brain scan and neurological assessment.”

Who is eligible for the clinic?

Infants 12 months or younger are eligible if they have clinical history indicating risk for cerebral palsy. Risk factors may include prematurity, birth defects, genetic conditions, intrauterine growth restriction, seizures, neonatal stroke, infection. See below for more details.

The clinic comprises an expert multi-disciplinary team, including:

  • a paediatric neurologist
  • social worker
  • occupational therapist
  • physiotherapist, and
  • speech pathologist.


The team use evidence based assessments grounded in the latest international best practice guidelines. A comprehensive assessment is conducted which includes:

  • physical (including vision and pain)
  • neurological
  • motor function
  • feeding
  • communication
  • parent well-being

Our team are on hand to provide you with information, emotional support and support to access early intervention and additional resources. Each family will leave the clinic with a clear plan for follow up appointments at the clinic and referrals for further investigations and therapy as required.

These resources are designed to help you understand early diagnosis of cerebral palsy and how intervention can help. The links below include some quick facts about cerebral palsy, and information on a new assessment that allows medical professionals to identify babies at risk of cerebral palsy from birth.

0-2 Cerebral Palsy guide

This guide identifies the best cerebral palsy-specific early intervention supports, and how much is needed for each area of development.

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Early assessment and diagnosis of cerebral palsy

A guide for parents and caregivers.

Download guide

Early Diagnosis Factsheet – General Movements Assessment

Download guide

 

 

 

Contact our Early Diagnosis Clinics

Croudace Bay Stuart Centre

Opening hours

Thurs 8.30 am – 4.30 pm (by appointment)

Address

61 Parklea Ave
Croudace Bay NSW 2280

Phone

02 4979 4333

hunteredc@cerebralpalsy.org.au

 

Prairiewood Marconi Centre

Opening hours

Thurs 8.30 am – 5.00 pm (by appointment)

Address

224-244 Restwell Road
Prairiewood NSW 2176

Phone

0418 175 970

earlydiagnosisclinic@cerebralpalsy.org.au

 

Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick

Opening hours

Mondays 8:30am – 12:30pm (by appointment)

Address

Sydney Children’s Hospital, High St
Randwick NSW 2031

Phone

0418 175 970

earlydiagnosisclinic@cerebralpalsy.org.au

Refer to Early Diagnosis Clinic

We will respond as soon as possible, between Monday-Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm

The Early Diagnostics Clinic is a Cerebral Palsy Alliance initiative made possible by the support of NSW Health, Clayton Utz, The Farrell Family Foundation, Luke Hepworth, EA & HN Hulak Foundation, ATS Charitable Foundation, Australian Turf Club Foundation, Coca-Cola Australia Foundation, South Sydney Juniors and Dean Henry.

Are you a referrer?

Early Diagnosis of cerebral palsy. A range of resources have been developed to bridge the gap between research and practice and help practitioners understand how to implement the CPG on a practical level.

Find out more