Sector News — 19 November 2014

Children and adults with disabilities in the ACT will have access to a greater range of services with the opening of a new $2-million therapy centre.

The Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s new centre in Scullin will be serviced by a team of six specialists and provides speech therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychology, early intervention services, technology and seating services and exercise physiology assessments.

Cerebral Palsy Alliance president Marelle Thornton, who retires this week after more than three decades leading the organisation, said the purpose-built centre would give Canberrans with disability access to more services.

“To all the children with disabilities who will come to us and their families, we’ll be looking at a range of services,” she said.

“It will be all of the services that are traditional for children with significant and complex needs as well as those that we will develop over time as families tells us what it is that is really going to make the difference and add the value.”Disabled person in wheechair

Mrs Thornton said some Canberra families had previously had to travel to Sydney to access services they would now be able to get locally.

Griffith mother-of-two Fiona Keary said the new centre would make a difference to her four-year-old son Max Howell, who has cerebral palsy and needs speech therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

“For us it means we can access facilities and services in Canberra that in the past sometimes we’ve actually had to go to Sydney for,” she said.

Ms Keary said Max was a cheeky and “sometimes wicked” child who had a a good sense of humour.

“Also, for us, it’s about having that support of an organisation where everyone else gets you as a family, so it’s very much that support in relation to other peers and families that understand,” she said.

Minister for Disability Joy Burch, who officially opened the new centre on Tuesday, said it would offer children and adults access to support groups, checkups, early intervention, aids and equipment, with six therapy rooms, equipment manufacturing workshop, break out rooms, and a gym.

The centre has been built on land donated by the ACT Government, and Sargents Pies Charitable Foundation donated $1.1 million for its construction.

This article first appeared on ‘Canberra Times’ on 18 November 2014.

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