Australian cerebral palsy community comes together to celebrate World CP Day

Australian cerebral palsy community comes together to celebrate World CP Day
Posted on Wed 6 Oct 2021

The Australian cerebral palsy community will mark World Cerebral Palsy Day on 6 October with a new campaign to celebrate and support the 34,000 Australians living with the condition.

Each year, World CP Day encourages people around the world to come together to celebrate and support those living with cerebral palsy, embrace diversity and to help create a more accessible future.

In 2021, World CP Day is launching the #MillionsOfReasons campaign, encouraging those in the cerebral palsy community to speak up and share stories of encouragement, inspiration and express pride in those living with cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in childhood, with roughly 500 Australians born every year born with cerebral palsy. Globally that figure is one baby every three minutes, and more than 17 million people live with cerebral palsy around the world.

#MillionsOfReasons aims to raise awareness about cerebral palsy by highlighting the scale and prevalence of the condition and the multitude of reasons the condition deserves more attention, more funding and more support.

Since being launched in 2012 by Cerebral Palsy Alliance, World CP Day has expanded to become a major annual event celebrated in 110 countries.

This period has coincided with significant progress in detecting and treating cerebral palsy, as well as preventative measures and the development of exciting new technologies to assist people living with cerebral palsy to enjoy greater independence. Australia is a world leader in cerebral palsy and has pioneered many of these advancements.

But despite these advancements, cerebral palsy remains under-recognised in the wider community, with many people unaware of the condition and the misconceptions about cerebral palsy.

To combat this, World CP Day has launched a myth-busting content series alongside Millions of Reasons to educate and inform about the complexities of cerebral palsy.

Together, World CP Day will harness the power of the passionate cerebral palsy community and unite people with disabilities, their families, allies and supporters to create lasting and meaningful change for people with cerebral palsy.

 “Through the collective efforts of Australian researchers, enormous progress has been made in the treatment and prevention of cerebral palsy in recent years. While we still have a long way to go in improving access, inclusion and opportunities for people living with cerebral palsy, World CP Day

allows us to reflect on the breakthroughs that have been made to support people with cerebral palsy to live their lives to their full potential,” said Professor Iona Novak, Cerebral Palsy Alliance Chair of Allied Health at The University of Sydney.

 “My reason for celebrating World CP Day is simple: disabled people worldwide deserve to live rich lives full of possibility and wonder. We’re more than a sad story. We’re whole human beings and our joy is revolutionary and radical because apparently, it’s still unexpected. The only way to change that is through visibility and education,” said Hannah Diviney, a disability advocate, campaigner and editor of Missing Perspectives.

Recent breakthroughs in the treatment and prevention of cerebral palsy spearheaded by Australian researchers include:

  • The rate of cerebral palsy has been reduced from one in 500 babies to one in 700, with more people able to walk, move and talk independently;
  • CP can now be detected in babies at 12 weeks of age, with work underway to develop an automated, smartphone-enabled screening app for use by families and health practitioners;
  • The creation of the largest whole-country data register of CP in the world;
  • New research has confirmed causal link between the common virus CMV in pregnant woman and up to 10% of babies diagnosed with CP;
  • Introduction of preventative strategies during and shortly after pregnancy that can reduce the incidence of CP by 30%;
  • Introduction of early screening of CP for babies in NICU;
  • First clinical Australian (stem cell) trial using sibling cord blood cells, and;
  • New life-changing technologies in exoskeletons, robotics and brain interfaces enabling real-time communication, enhanced independence and mobility.

 

Facts about cerebral palsy:

Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in childhood, affecting a person’s movement and posture. There is no known cure. It results mostly from a brain injury during pregnancy, or in some cases around the time or shortly after birth.

It is a lifelong, complex, chronic condition that affects movement and posture. Its impact can range from a weakness in one hand, to almost a complete lack of voluntary movement.

1 in 4 with CP cannot talk

1 in 3 cannot walk

1 in 2 have an intellectual disability

3 out of 4 live with daily chronic pain

1 in 4 have epilepsy.

It’s Dogtober! October is officially the month dedicated to raising awareness of Assistance Dogs in Australia. To celebrate, we spoke to Paralympic gold medallist Amanda Reid about her experience as someone living with cerebral palsy and how her Assistance Dog has had a major positive impact on her wellbeing.

A cerebral (palsy) conversation with filmmaker, actor, advocate and CPA client, Emily Dash