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Check Out The Expert Exchange

As physical, occupational and speech therapists working with children with complex needs (and too often) exhausted families and disconnected teams that don't always see eye-to-eye, we recognised the need for clinical discussions that go beyond what we can gather from textbook and published guidelines.

Karen Pape: Optimizing Outcomes in Cerebral Palsy

Karen Pape, MD Optimizing Outcomes in Cerebral Palsy

Scroll down for the podcast and links to all good things discussed in the interview

Karen Pape, MD is a neonatologist and clinical neuroscientist who knows a lot about neuroplasticity and is excited about what we can do as pediatric therapists.

She is challenging the common belief that cerebral palsy and brain injuries do not recover and encouraging us as pediatric therapists, parents and people living with cerebral palsy to not accept less than optimal therapy.

In the world of childhood disability, we can do better!

Treatments that apply the principles of neuroplasticity and approach neuromotor rehabilitation as if we were training athletes for excellence are getting the results.

Karen says that we can no longer blame lack of progress on a non-progressive early brain injury. And she backs this up in her recent book where she generously shares her years of keen observations, clinical analysis and practical "in the trenches" work that have shaped her thinking and understanding of childhood disability and neuro-rehabilitiation.

In our interview Karen and I dig deeper into the practicalities of how pediatric therapists can apply the interventions that she talks about in her book, including how to avoid Butterfly Syndrome and avoid chasing Rainbows. She has a great talent for simplifying complex ideas and a strong message that everybody working or living with cerebral palsy needs to hear + she gets grumpy and it's awesome :-)

For a peek into a brilliant mind and a whole lot of useful advice scroll down to the podcast player to listen or find us on iTunes or Stitcher.

For quick links to all the good stuff Karen shares and more in depth info scroll down to the Resources Section

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The Podcast: Listen, enjoy, share...

If you have a slow internet connection, you may need to download the podcast first by clicking on the download symbol (the little down arrow) in the player below or find us on iTunes or Stitcher

Time Stamps (drag the cursor along the sound wave - might only work on your desktop)

  • Brains do recover - an Aha moment 4:00

  • When children are not progressing in therapy 8:30

  • Differentiating pseudoscience from innovative new approaches 9:35

  • Getting the most out of intensive therapies 12:44

  • Iona Novak's state of the evidence study 16:37

  • Brain development, brain recovery and the cerebellum 19:57

  • Windows of opportunity 24:56

  • Form vs Function 32:45

  • Botox & Surgery 46:36

  • Strength, Length & Alignment 50:18

  • Questions

  • Electrotherapy / estim 51.34

  • What about the more involved kids with Cerebral Palsy? 55:08

  • Water exercise 14:00

  • Mistakes we (don't want to) make 58:48

  • Ideal approaches to managing Cerebral Palsy 59:35

  • Dealing with conflicting clinicians 1:05:22

  • A really important message 1:10:08


Wired ON Development clickable links to great resources

Please note: these book links go through to Amazon Affiliate Program

Thanks for your support!


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