“The Australasian Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AusACPDM) is a multidisciplinary group committed to advancing knowledge and awareness of evidence based practice in the field of childhood physical disability.” This is accomplished through scientific meetings, educational activities, fostering research, and raising awareness about the needs and rights of young people with disabilities. 

Membership is open to a range of individuals, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, psychologists, special education educators, pediatricians, specialists, neurologists, and any others interested in the field of developmental medicine. 

Aside from advancing science and awareness, the AusACPDM also advocates for the Australian Cerebral Palsy Register. Launched in 2007, the Australian Cerebral Palsy Register is a database of information about those with Cerebral Palsy in Australia. This tool collects information such as birth details, severity of CP, and parent information, de-identifies the information, and creates a picture of what CP in Australia looks like. Research aims of the Register include monitoring trends of CP, understand causes of CP, develop preventative strategies, and assist in planning services.

The AusACPDM hosts a Biennial Conference. This year, the conference will take place in New South Wales, Australia from March 11-14, 2014. The purpose of the conference is to provide an exchange of ideas and information on the latest in research with worldwide leaders in the field. Registration information can be found at their website

International Keynote Speakers at the 2014 AusACPDM conference are Ian Brown, author of “The Boy in the Moon: A Father’s Search for his Disabled Son“, Andrew Gordon, Professor of Movement Science at Columbia University, and Unni Narayanan, surgeon and clinical epidemiologist at the Hospital for Sick Children and the Holland Bloorview Kinds Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto and Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto. 

Other speakers of note are: Euan Wallace, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Monash University and the Director of The Ritchie Center, a leading perinatal research center and Monash Health, a health service; Peter Anderson, psychologist, Principal Research Fellow at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and University of Melbourne, Director of the Victorian Infant Brain Studies team, and co-director of the Australian Centre for Child Neuropsychological Studies; Roslyn Boyd, Professor of Cerebral Palsy and Rehabilitation Research in the Queensland School of Medicine and Scientific Director of the Queensland Cerebral Palsy and Rehabilitation Research Centre at the University of Queensland; Kerr Graham, Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Melbourne and Director of the Hugh Williamson Gait Laboratory at Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne; Natasha Lannin, neurological occupational therapist and rehabilitation researcher; Anita Mudge, pediatric physiotherapy at Sydney Children’s Hospital; and Olaf Verschuren, Assistant Professor at the Center of Excellence for Rehabilitation Medicine at the University Medical Center Utrecht. 

The conference itself consists of a few parts. Pre-conference workshops for professionals the day before the official start of the conference, including Working with infants with Cerebral Palsy- lessons from new research and future possibilities, Supporting parents from diagnosis through the early years- lessons from research: Psychological distress in parents of clinically ill infants, Hip displacement in children with Cerebral Palsy: a national perspective on evidence based approach to surveillance and management, and Electrical stimulation of the upper and lower limb in rehabilitation of children with Cerebral Palsy: an interactive workshop. Breakfast sessions occur the mornings of the conference, each addressing topics in the field of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine with an expert in the field. Each conference day will have keynote speakers and breakout sessions that individuals can choose to attend. Finally, the conference has social programs encouraging further mingling and networking, such as a cinema under the stars, a wine tasting tour, and a golf package.

From learning about physical therapies to how to maintain personal well-being as a caretaker to in-depth scientific research updates, the AusACPDM conference is an excellent place for those interested in Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine to learn more about recent developments in the field from an international group. 

Visit the Australasian Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental medicine at their website.

To learn more about the Biennial Conference, visit the website and register directly, or check out Twitter for more details.