CPA offers four different courses all lasting two weeks or ten working days.
- Course for Therapists covering the assessment and treatment of children with CP
Participants are those who are already working with children with CP and they must be able to ensure that they will be continuing in this work.
- Course for CBR workers covering handling and management of children with CP
Participants must already be working in CBR programmes. They are selected by their programme managers.
- Course for Special Needs teachers in handling and management of children with CP in the classroom
Participants must already be working with children with special needs. They are selected by their programme managers
- Course in APT equipment making learning to create specialist furniture at affordable cost
Jean Westmacott runs courses for parents and communities in making supportive furniture for the children from waste paper and cardboard.
All courses integrate theoretical and practical learning in a logical sequence to make it easy for participants to retain and own the knowledge and skills.
Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists learn how to observe each child and record their abilities and difficulties. They learn to analyse the causes behind the difficulties and recognise the kind of CP each child has. They also learn to recognise any muscle shortening or joint changes that the child has developed because of lack of treatment and to recognise any that are threatening and how to prevent them from getting worse. At the same time they learn to handle and position each child in such a way that the child can learn new functional activities and be able to play and interact with the environment as well as become more independent. Finally the therapists learn how to pass on the techniques they use for each child to carers, family members and CBR workers and how to prescribe appropriate assistive devices such as chairs and standing frames for the children to use at home to practise sitting and standing.
CBR workers learn how to befriend the children in their care and his or her family and build up a relationship of trust. They learn to help families to incorporate the treatment programme designed by the therapists into the children’s everyday activities so that as they are being carried, fed, positioned, dressed, bathed and toileted, playing and moving about as they are being treated. They also learn to explain to the families the reasoning behind what they suggest and ensure that they are empowered and encouraged to use the techniques they are shown. Finally CBR workers and family members agree on the goals they want to achieve for each child and work out very small steps on the way to reach these goals.
Special Needs teachers learn about the causes and effects of cerebral palsy on developing children. They learn about the different kinds of CP and how to recognise and understand if children have other problems such as difficulties in seeing or hearing. They also learn about how to communicate with children who cannot speak. They are taught to make chairs and standing frames from APT and to use these in the classroom so that children can be more able to learn and participate in class activities. They teach these skills to community members so that more children can have these items to use at home as well as in school. They learn to raise awareness among communities of the need and benefits of making sure that children with CP get early intervention from therapists and CBR workers and they learn how these community activities can reduce the fear and stigma in which children with CP are regarded.