Neuro-know-how, for every journey

Cerebral Palsy Alliance

Thursday, 01 August, 2019



Neuro-know-how, for every journey

Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) has been supporting kids and adults with cerebral palsy for over 70 years, and that’s not changing. But what you might not know is that this unrivalled history has given CPA extraordinary insight into other physical and neurological conditions.

Today, about 60% of CPA clients receive support for conditions like autism, stroke, Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease and MS. So no matter where your patients are on their journey and no matter their age, CPA has the know-how to help them on the path to their best possible future.

Meet Kerrie, living with MS

Kerrie is a CPA client living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She was diagnosed more than 10 years ago, after noticing changes in her body.

One thing Kerrie knows about MS is that maintaining fitness is vital for her mental and emotional wellbeing, as well as her physical wellbeing. So as a wife, and mother of two active teenage sons, Kerrie wants to stay as strong as she can, because she knows it will help her maintain a positive outlook and a high level of independence.

Thinking outside the box

Finding the right gym and trainer had been difficult for Kerrie, who now spends most of her time in her chair. She needed a gym that would accommodate her wheelchair in the workouts, as well as access to trainers who would be able to work with her disability.

So when she heard CPA was opening up their accessible gym doors to people with a broad range of disabilities, thanks to the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), she was intrigued. Despite not having a diagnosis of CP, Kerrie got in touch, and is now a regular in her local CPA gym, working with their experts in exercise physiology and therapy.

CPA has gyms in four of their sites across NSW and ACT. Each of these sites has a dedicated team of exercise physiologists and personal trainers, delivering one-to-one sessions and group programs targeted at certain goals.

The gyms have modified equipment for people in wheelchairs and plenty of space to accommodate walkers, wheelchairs and other equipment.

Supportive environment designed to hit goals

Kerrie says that being part of Cerebral Palsy Alliance and its gym has been a really positive experience.

“Emotionally, it has really benefited me coming twice a week to the gym here at CPA. There is a supportive and welcoming team here, it’s close to home and having an outlet like this has been really positive for me.

“I’m also focused on keeping my ability to stand as much as I can. At the moment I can still stand to transfer which gives me a level of independence. But once I have to do slide transfers, that’s a game-changer for me because it makes life a little more difficult.

“Keeping the strength in my legs is probably more important and then I focus on moving. I think the more I move my body, the more it will be able to keep moving.

“And I don’t forget my upper body, because I use my arms a lot, pushing my body up when I transfer. My favourite activity for that is boxing!

“It’s great because the CPA team understand my goals and are excited about making a fun program that we can mix up to keep it fun. My personal trainer Allan reads my reports and is really interested in understanding my MS.”

Benefits of the one-stop-shop

Kerrie’s focus on her physical goals has delivered other unexpected benefits, with her one-to-one PT sessions providing a gateway to additional services in the same location. She now receives other support including occupational therapy and physiotherapy, which she accesses through the NDIS.

“Having everything in one building is so much better for me. My previous occupational therapy was delivered over the phone, whereas at CPA I receive it face-to-face, which adds a whole new level of care.”

Kerrie can tire easily with MS, so travelling long distances for services is not ideal. Receiving services closer to home helps conserve her energy levels, and also means she can direct her funds towards the personal supports she needs to help maintain her independence.

Unexpected support

CPA can also help clients understand their NDIS funds and plan the services and supports they will need to achieve their goals.

“It was also only through speaking with the team at CPA that I realised that I was eligible for the supports I really need under the NDIS.

“I did think the supports and services at CPA were only available to people living with cerebral palsy, but once I started coming to the gym, I realised that wasn’t the case. I’m excited to have my next NDIS plan so I can start receiving more supports here.”

Discover how CPA can support your patients. Call 1300 888 378, email ask@cerebralpalsy.org.au, or visit cerebralpalsy.org.au.

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