April 2015
The days are growing longer and warmer, and Toronto is preparing to welcome the world to its doorstep at the 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games. In celebration of the start of an exciting new season, this edition of CP-NET Today! has a special emphasis on fitness and fun. Let's all get out, and get active! 

The CP-NET Today! newsletter will help you keep up-to-date on exciting research developments in the area of Cerebral Palsy (CP) research funded by the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI), as well as news and events of interest to the CP-NET community. Please feel free to share this newsletter with family, friends and colleagues. They can subscribe to the CP-NET Today! e-Newsletter for free by registering here. Don't forget to check the cp-net.org website for more great resources on CP.
New Resources!

CP-NET Keeping Current: Sleep Issues Among Children with 

Cerebral Palsy

Sleep issues are a common concern among parents of all children, as problems with sleep can have significant impacts on the well-being of the entire family. Sleep disturbances, including bedtime resistance, night-time waking, and early morning awakening, may be even more relevant when they involve children with chronic conditions such as cerebral palsy (CP). This "Keeping Current" provides readers with research-supported information regarding occurrence, assessment and intervention for sleep issues in the context of children with CP. Read more.


CP-NET Reflections On: How Does Clinical Research Work?

Clinical and health services research are paramount in improving the lives of children with disabilities. It seems that each day brings word of a new finding or development. CP-NET is pleased to offer a two-part "primer" that aims to provide our readers with the essential understanding required to read a study with a critical eye. By understanding the research process, we hope that readers will be better equipped to identify a credible research study and effectively evaluate the personal importance and potential impacts of the study for their issues. 

Part 1: How to Ask a Research Question and Design a Study
Part 2: How to Do a Study, and What Should We Measure?


CanChild Survey Summary: How can we help youth with cerebral palsy to be physically active? 
This document summarizes the results of an online survey completed by109 pediatric rehabilitation professionals from the Ontario Association for Children's Rehabilitation Services centres. Survey respondents assessed their perceptions of the knowledge and attitudes of stakeholders regarding short- and long-term benefits, motivations, and other factors that influence participation in physical activity. In addition, respondents were asked to propose strategies for promoting participation in physical activity. This survey was conducted as part of the Stay-Fit program of research. Read more
CP-NET in the News!

CP-NET Researchers Use Imaging to Predict Therapy Outcomes
Constraint therapy can be a very effective means of improving hand and arm function
of children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy; however, only about half of children undergoing the 
Researchers use imaging as a tool to predict outcomes for therapy in cerebral palsy
Video courtesy of Western University
therapy will see results from what can be an intensive and frustrating process. A recent study has shown that Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) may be an effective tool to predict which children will be the best candidates for constraint therapy.

During the study, researchers found that the children with more compromised brain networks seemed to benefit most from constraint therapy.


It is hoped that the encouraging outcome of the study, which involved 7 children, will lead to a larger-scale trial. 


Learn more


Resting State and Diffusion Neuroimaging Predictors of Clinical Improvements Following Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy in Children With Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy. Authors: Manning KY, Fehlings D, Mesterman R, Gorter JW, Switzer L, Campbell C, Menon RS. J Child Neurol. 2015 Mar 11. pii: 0883073815572686. [Epub ahead of print]


CP-NET Project Spotlight!

Exergame Technology for Youth with CP
Youth with cerebral palsy are less physically active than their typically-developing peers, and may experience a decline in fitness and function as they enter their teen years. The Exergame project, part of the CP-NET Technology and Tools research program, is an innovative multi-player video game that combines recumbent cycling with social gaming. Exergames not only allow participating youth to improve their cardiovascular health, but also provide a valuable opportunity to connect with other players for fun and socialization. 

Video courtesy of NeuroDevNet
CP-NET Community Profile!

Megan Sherwin, Competitive Swimmer & CP-NET Research Participant

At what age did you become involved in sports?
I started to become involved in sports at the age of 6. I played soccer and hockey first. Then at age 9 I started swimming competitively at Variety Village. 

... and how did you become involved in swimming?
I found hockey hard to play because you need two hands to hold the stick and shoot the puck. My Dad cut a hole in my glove so I could hold onto the stick better but it didn't really work that well. I was taking swimming lessons at Variety Village and the coach of the Flames Swim Team asked my mom if I wanted join the swim team and I've never looked back.
Megan Sherwin - BEAP/Variety Village Video
Video courtesy of Birchount Exceptional Athlete Program (BEAP)

How have sports helped you in your life?

Sports have helped me become stronger physically, more confident and I've met some of my best friends. Sports also helped me figure out where I was going to go to high school which turned out to be Birchmount for the BEAP athletic program, which I love. Maybe sports will help me figure out what I want do after high school.

Was there much encouragement to participate or excel in sports?

My Dad said that even though I had a disability I still had to play a sport. Fortunately I love to play sports so it wasn't too much to ask. When I got into swimming there was lots of encouragement to keep on swimming and do my best. Early on in swimming I won the Pizza Nova Rising Stars Award and the next year I made Provincial times and got to travel with the team to places like Nepean and Brantford. Then I made CAN-AM times and started to travel to places like Montreal, Edmonton, and Miami for training camps and CAN-AM meets. So there was lots of recognition and incentives to keep on going and see how far I could go.

What advice would you want to pass on to other youth with cerebral palsy?
I would tell other youth with CP to just go out and try different things until you find something you love to do. Start early. Don't leave it too long because you don't want to miss out on opportunities.

What next? What are your future aspirations?
In my future I hope to represent Team Canada in the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

News & Events!

World CP Day 2015

In October 2015, CP-NET will host our 2nd annual "Creating Possibilities for CP: CP-NET Science & Family Day". Read about our 2014 event here, and stay tuned for details on how we will celebrate in 2015!

Image courtesy of Jooay / CHILD LeisureNET

Jooay: Connecting Children & Youth with Disabilities 

to Leisure

Children with disabilities have the same needs for fun and fitness as all children, but may have difficulty finding leisure activities that are accessible and suit their needs and interests.


McGill occupational therapist and CanChild / NeuroDevNet researcher Keiko Shikako-Thomas has played a lead role in the development of Jooay, a forthcoming app that will help families find local leisure activities for children with disabilities.


Jooay will allow families to browse nearby activities by category, keyword, or disability type. It will also have a social networking function, with users able to add their own activities and connect with each other through message boards.  


For more information about the Jooay app, visit  http://jooay.com/


CAPHC Presents! Webinar: Promoting leisure for children with disabilities
This webinar will outline the development and activities of a new network (CHILD Leisure-Net) of stakeholders that aims to enhance knowledge sharing, participatory research and development of new programs and policies that facilitate leisure participation. 

Wednesday, April 15 | 11:00am - 12:30pm (EDT)

CAPHC Presents! is a weekly webinar program dedicated to bringing together trusted and credible voices from across the child and youth healthcare continuum. Learn more
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