Canning Vale program helping kids with cerebral palsy Xcelerate


Beth Langford, Max Holden, Rebecca Turner, Ability Centre’s Rowan Johnson, Brandon Taseff and Bryce Hudson all participated in Xcelerate last term.
Beth Langford, Max Holden, Rebecca Turner, Ability Centre’s Rowan Johnson, Brandon Taseff and Bryce Hudson all participated in Xcelerate last term.

A SUCCESSFUL running program for children with cerebral palsy will be available from Ability WA’s new Canning Vale branch.

Families living with cerebral palsy in the southeast metropolitan area can access the individualised program, aimed at improving running for children with varying diagnoses.

Cerebral palsy affects a person’s ability to move and hold a position and can be as mild as a weakness in one hand to affecting all areas of the person’s body, which influences their ability to swallow, speak, move and sit.

The program, titled Xcelerate, was launched as part of a research project lead by senior physiotherapists Noula Gibson and Annie Chappell who had worked with children and young people with cerebral palsy to develop a practical, evidence-based program.

The aim was to find out what impact learning to run would have on the lives of children and young people with cerebral palsy, with a particular focus on enabling them to join in more school, community and recreational activities, especially sports.

Senior physiotherapist at Ability WA Ashleigh Dobson said the program went further than improving running ability.

“One boy attended (Xcelerate) and he is now sports captain at his school, I like to think out program helped him put himself out there,” she said.

Each student completes a balance assessment, 10 x 5m sprints, beep test, shuttle run, 10m run and a muscle power sprint test at the start of an eight-week program.

Results will help personalise each program.

“This sort of program improves running ability and over all cardio vascular health, with flow on affects for good health,” Ms Dobson said.

Ms Dobson said the program helped with personal empowerment.

“Because (the children) are participating with other kids it shows them it’s not just them… (problems with walking) can be quite isolating and it shows if you knuckle down and commit you can achieve great results,” she said.

Ms Dobson said the children aged 8-17 showed huge improvements.

To learn more about Xcelerate contact Ashleigh Dobson at Ability WA on 9256 8800.