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Hemiplegia conference in Cambridgeshire, October 2010

Our latest HemiHelp conference was held in the quaint village of Comberton. We were joined by more than 85 HemiHelp members, including a mixture of parents and young people. The programme took in a number of perspectives on hemiplegia and was accompanies by a drama workshop for children, led by HIT theatre company.

Cambridge conference “Hemiplegia – why, when and how?” Dr Chris Verity, Paediatric Neurologist, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge

Opening the day came an insightful talk from Dr Chris Verity, paediatric neurologist from Addenbrookes Hospital. Dr Verity gave an overview of hemiplegia, illustrated by MRI scans. His talk was a useful insight in to hemiplegia from a medical perspective and provided a technical background.

Read Dr Verity's presentation here

‘The Role of OT/PT in treating the child with hemiplegia’ Carina Sewell, Jennie Fisk Specialist Occupational Therapists. Helen Evans, Sam Rimmer Specialist Physiotherapists. Suffolk Community Healthcare

Carina Sewell and her team of physiotherapists and occupational therapists from Suffolk Community Healthcare, gave a presentation that discussed how all therapists involved with a child should work together to provide the best treatment. The team talked about the importance of early intervention, their use of a neuro-developmental approach called Bobath and having a joined up approach for therapists. A series of images were used to display the types of exercises that help strengthen the affected side.

‘Educational Concerns for parents and young people’ Tracie Linehan Principal, Scope, Rutland House Services

This session really took the form and a Q&A. Tracie asked the audience what they felt the chief concerns were for parents and young people in education and then used the responses to shape her session. The list included staff understanding of disability, how much support should school give, making friends and handwriting. She went on to dissect these concerns and offer support, reiterating that a school’s understanding of disability is fundamental to a child’s happiness at school.

The afternoon sessions were a series of Q&A workshops, attendees could choose from:

Workshop Session 1

Transition in Education with Tracie Linehan

Living with Hemiplegia - Parents' Question time with Kathryn Skillings and Rob Taylor

Early Intervention and Joint working in the Child with hemiplegia with Carina Sewell and Jennie Fisk

Workshop Session 2

Inclusion in Education with Tracie Linehan

Living with Hemiplegia - Young People and Adult Hemi's Question time with Kathryn Skillings and Rob Taylor

Orthotic Provision with Andrew Collins of Dorset orthopaedics

All sessions allowed for a more in depth discussion with their speaker and the chance to ask a range of questions and share experiences. While parents were taking notes and asking questions, younger children had a jam packed day of drama games and mask making. At the end of the day, the group, wearing the animal masks treated everyone to a short performance to round off the conference.

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