Lisa Chiaerllo, PT, PhD, PCS Associate Professor

 Lisa Chiaerllo, PT, PhD, PCS
Associate Professor
College of Nursing and Health Professions
Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences
My participation in the 4th International Cerebral Palsy Conference in Pisa, Italy was a rewarding
and inspirational experience. Over 800 professionals from multiple disciplines, adults with
cerebral palsy, and parents of children with cerebral palsy attended the conference. The
conference advocated for collaboration among scientists, families, and society to improve the
quality of life for children, youth, and adults with cerebral palsy. During the conference I had the
opportunity to pursue research collaborations with colleagues in Canada, Australia, Europe,
and, Australia, including plans for a grant submission as well as implementation of a research
project. The conference inspired my continued pursuit to promote meaningful participation in
daily life for children and their families.
I presented two symposiums with Robert Palisano from Drexel and colleagues from Washington
State and Australia. The first presentation Participation Based Physical and Occupational
therapy for Children with Physical Disabilities presented a model to optimize participation and
the results of a case report. Key messages were to promote children’s self-determination, build
capacity of children, families, and communities, and provide children real world opportunities to
engage in desired home and community activities. Our research agenda supports the global trend
to promote participation of individuals with disability and full inclusion in society.
The second symposium Supporting Outcomes of Young Children with CP: Implications from the
Move & PLAY Study shared the findings and implications for services of a large international
study (US and Canada) that was funded at Drexel by the National Institute of Disability and
Rehabilitation Research. The study identified child, family, and environmental determinants of
gross motor function, self-care, participation, and playfulness of young children with cerebral
I also presented a free research paper, Determinants of Ease of Caregiving of Young Children
with Cerebral Palsy. This study found that child characteristics were the primary determinants of
ease of caregiving. The presentation generated audience discussion and support of further
research related to family outcomes.
During the conference, a colleague from Australia represented our team and presented two free
papers from the International CAPE Research Collaborative on leisure and recreation
participation of children and youth with cerebral palsy. This research explored the regional
differences in participation across the United States, Canada, and Australia and examined
patterns of participation based on children preferences. The session resulted in a lively discussion
from the audience on issues surrounding research on the construct of participation.
I foresee that future research and services for individuals with cerebral palsy will be positively
impacted by the synthesis of research disseminated at the conference.