The South African National Cerebral Palsy Conference 2011 was held at the Summerstrand Hotel, Port Elizabeth in May. This year's theme was "Cerebral Palsy  -  The Rural Challenge", providing a wide scope for delegates from all disciplines and geographic areas to share experience, best practices,and learn new techniques to assist in the quest to improve the lives of people affected by cerebral palsy.

The Chairman of the Association, DrAnthony Albers, opened the conference welcoming close to 200 delegates from various health and other sectors, both local and foreign. 50 speakers delivered presentations on a variety of relevant topics including the challenges thatchildren with cerebral palsy living in rural areas face such as access to running water and the long distances they have to travel to clinics; the role of the pediatric surgeon in a team approach to cerebral palsy; Department of Healthrehabilitation services to clients with cerebral palsy - an Eastern Capeoverview; and sexuality and disability.

Cape Recife Head of Department said the "presentations were very practical, especially for therapists who work with children in the communities, in terms of what should be done in order to help children and families that are affected by cerebral palsy."

Dr Rob Campbell from Aurora Hospitalencouraged therapists to make use of an assessment tool called ICF (International Classification of Functioning - Disability and Health). Thisassessment tool helps a child holistically enabling them to make goals forthemselves.

Nestle Nutrition exhibited anutritional milk for children affected by cerebral palsy, Shonaquip exhibited access devises and Hambisela their facilitators' guide. Other exhibitorsincluded NCPPDSA, Timion, Kirkwood Support Group for Mothers with DisabledChildren (Kirkwood toys), Life Esidimeni and Rolling Inspiration.

The best presentation award went to Penny Metcalf, a specialist therapist with cerebral palsy, for herpresentation: "Teaching Auditory Discrimination and Pronunciation using the 'Face Clues Programme'". She made use of pictures showing how children shouldpronounce certain words in English - mainly 2nd language children with cerebral palsy.

The conference tackled critical issues regarding cerebral palsy and provided ways to overcome challenges faced by individuals affected by cerebral palsy by pointing out what still needs to be done.

Dr Nadine Lang closed off the conference and thanked the delegates for attending. Special thanks were made to sponsors: Rolling Inspiration, Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, Kyle Business Projects and Spec Savers.

The next South African National Cerebral Palsy Conference will most likely be held in Limpopo Province, May 2012.

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