AACPDM annual meeting

American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM) Pre-conference Sessions

Wednesday, October 23, 2024

Morning Sessions (8:00am - 12:00pm EDT)

PC1: An International Perspective on Technology Integration in Rehabilitation: Overcoming Barriers and Innovating Care

Purpose: Bring a collaborative, international group of diverse stakeholders to discuss various barriers and solutions to accessing innovative rehabilitation technology.

Target Audience: All those involved in care for children, youth and adults with Developmental Disabilities (Pediatricians, PTs, OTs SLPs, Physiatrists, Orthopedic Surgeons, Computer Scientists, Engineers and family members) and those with lived experience who have a strong interest in innovative technology use in rehabilitation across the life span.

Course Summary: This course will provide participants, with a diverse range of viewpoints on technology adoption in rehabilitation, an educational forum to identify/overcome barriers to access and implementation, discuss the ethical considerations surrounding technology recommendation and equity, learn about and critically evaluate emerging technologies and collaboratively brainstorm related to next steps in facilitation of technology development and adoption.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify and engage in brainstorming ideas on how best we can overcome barriers to technology use in rehabilitation and strategies for adoption
  • List various solutions to equitable access to potentially life-changing technologies across a variety of socio-economic levels and reimbursement schemes
  • Demonstrate impact and integration of innovative technologies
  • Engage in discussion on how best to standardize critical evaluation and scientific validation of rehabilitation technologies

PC2: Foot Deformities in Cerebral Palsy: A Comprehensive Approach

Purpose: To review common foot deformities in cerebral palsy (CP) to provide a forum for discussion of relevant, contemporary treatment options as well as technical tips and tricks from experts in the field.

Target Audience: Orthopaedic surgeons

Course Summary: The course, co-chaired by Drs. Rachel Thompson & Jason Howard, will provide an overview on foot deformity in patients with CP. We will begin by reviewing foot biomechanics, clinical/radiographic evaluation and non-operative management of deformity. We will review the most relevant information regarding sagittal plane deformity, planovalgus and equinovarus. For each deformity, the course includes experts' preferred treatment, debate of controversial treatment modalities as well as case discussion between experts and audience participants.

Learning Objectives:

  • clinically evaluate and diagnose common foot deformities seen in patients with CP and interpret correlative radiographic & gait data.
  • create an evidence-based treatment plan for sagittal plane foot deformity and generate an informed opinion on the use of neurotoxin for this deformity.
  • create an evidence-based treatment plan for planovalgus foot deformity
  • create an evidence-based treatment plan for equinovarus foot deformity

PC3: HABIT-ILE Masterclass: Unveiling the Key Ingredients and Practical Implementation Needs for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Purpose: To provide information to therapists and MDs who would like to implement a HABIT-ILE intervention regarding key principles, practical and training needs.

Target Audience: Physiotherapists, occupational therapists, physiartrists, medical doctors. Professionals responsible of a structure who would like to implement HABIT-ILE interventions

Course Summary: The development of Hand and arm bimanual intensive therapy including lower extremities (HABIT-ILE) was a small revolution in the pediatric neurorehabilitation field since it allowed for the first time proposing an intensive motor skill learning based process targeting simultaneously upper and lower extremities. This consequently allowed to apply such processes in children with bilateral cerebral palsy (CP).
Although HABIT-ILE has emerged recently in the literature, this intervention is now part of the recommended interventions for children with unilateral and bilateral cerebral palsy. It has been used in research projects for children from 1 to 18 years of age, with specific adaptations for the toddlers (mainly therapeutic dosage and organizational features). For a proper transfer from research to clinical practice, information not fully available in the scientific literature is needed and a dedicated training is largely recommended.

In this course, the speakers will highlight the key elements for the implementation of a HABIT-ILE intervention in clinical practice. The following points will be covered:
- the setting of functional goals,
- the analysis of therapeutic goals to lay the groundwork for treatment plan,
- the structure and functioning of a HABIT-ILE interventions,
- the importance of motor engagement time and advices to maximize it,
- the material and human needs required for such an intervention.
The course will also shed a light on the profile of children likely to respond to the treatment.

Learning Objectives:

  • Upon completion, participants will be able to understand the structure of a HABIT-ILE intervention.
  • Upon completion, participants will be able to understand how therapeutic goals are set in HABIT-ILE as well as define therapeutic starting points based on functional goals observations.
  • Upon completion, participants will be able to discriminate the children who are likely to respond to the treatment.
  • Upon completion, participants will be able to identify the material and human needs to apply the intervention.

PC4: Transforming Your Early-Stage Research Program into an Established One

Purpose: The purpose of the present course is to outline a plan to transition from an early-stage investigator to an independent investigator. The plan will include developing a research program with impact, setting up networks and complementary team members, establishing larger, multi-site collaborations, and mentoring junior researchers while continuing to receive mentorship.

Target Audience: Early stage investigators (assistant professors and above) transitioning to independence who have an interest in cerebral palsy (CP) or other child-onset developmental disabilities.

Course Summary: The AACPDM’s Research Committee proposes a 2-part pre-Conference course with the overarching aim of preparing researchers to develop successful research programs focused on cerebral palsy or other child-onset developmental disabilities. These courses will be seminar, discussion, and activity based on how to navigate research impact, independence, mentorship, and professional development.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand how to focus on research impact through the research trajectory – from the stakeholder’s perspective
  • Understand how to develop a plan to transition from a mentored research program to an independent research program with impact
  • Learn how to create a research team and to create research support networks
  • Understand how to mentor junior researchers and how to continue receiving mentorship


Afternoon Sessions (1:00pm - 5:00 pm EDT)

PC5: Learning to Read and Interpret Gait Lab Kinematics and Kinetics: Testing Your Skills

Purpose: The purpose of this course is to help beginners and experts hone their gait analysis data interpretation skills by participating in an interactive session reviewing common kinematics graphs and reviewing 4 case studies.

Target Audience: Physicians, physical therapist, allied health providers, biomechanists, engineers

Course Summary: The purpose of this course is to help beginners and experts hone their gait analysis data interpretation skills. This course will be divided into 2 parts. The first part of the presentation will be interactive. During the presentation, individual kinematic or kinetic graphs will be presented on the slide. Using internet based interactive software, the audience will be asked, through multiple choice or open-ended questions, to describe the impairment commonly associated with the graph. The speaker will review the responses from the audience and provide the case that the graph originated from. Additionally, the audience will be asked to identify the impact of missed placed markers on kinematics graphs. This will be followed by examples of walking trials that compare kinematics/kinetics changes based on marker placement. The second part of the presentation will be a review of four case studies. Before the meeting, each of the four cases will have been distributed to experts in the interpretation of gait analysis. Each expert will have completed a questionnaire describing gait impairments that they have identified, and their surgical recommendations to address the impairments. The course presenters will compare and contrast the expert recommendations and facilitate discussion among participants.

Learning Objectives:

  • Upon completion, participates will be able to identify impairments associated with commonly seen kinematic and/or kinetic graphs.
  • Upon completion, participates will be able to identify changes in kinematic and kinetic graphs due to misplaced markers.
  • Upon completion, participates will be able to use gait analysis evaluations to determine gait impairments.
  • Upon completion, participates will be able to use gait analysis evaluations to determine surgical interventions.

PC6: Operationalizing the Black Box of Coaching: The Applied Coaching Tool

Purpose: Provide participants with the knowledge, understanding and confidence, through use of a practice support tool, to implement coaching behaviours in their clinical practice.

Target Audience: Rehabilitation professionals of all disciplines:
Physical Therapy
Occupational Therapy
Speech Language Pathology
Child Life Specialists

Course Summary: This pre-conference course uses a variety of active learning strategies, including review of research evidence, use of video examples, interactive discussion, role playing, self-reflection and practice to demystify the "Black Box" of coaching. Participants will learn about the underlying research and theories that support coaching and demonstrate the evidence for use of a coaching approach in pediatric rehabilitation. We will explain the difference between an expert model and coaching model and introduce learners to a practice support tool that operationalizes coaching to allow novice coaches to become comfortable applying coaching behaviours in their practice. Learners will be exposed to a variety of specific coaching behaviours that they can use and adapt in their own treatment sessions. This course encourages real-time practice, self-reflection and goal setting to move coaching theory to implementation.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the underlying research that supports coaching in pediatric rehabilitation
  • Associate foundational therapeutic approaches with explicit coaching behaviours outlined in the Applied Coaching Tool.
  • Describe and enact important coaching events in the Applied Coaching Tool.
  • Summarize and develop an individualized action plan for implementing coaching within their practice.

PC7: Initiating a Research Program Focused on Cerebral Palsy or Other Child-Onset Developmental Disabilities

Purpose: The purpose of the present course is to help researchers who are still training or are in the very early stages of their career understand the ingredients of a successful research program, ways to identify good mentors and research opportunities, the different research funding mechanisms available, and the components of a competitive grant application.

Target Audience: Graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and assistant professors who have an interest in cerebral palsy (CP) or other child-onset developmental disabilities.

Course Summary: The AACPDM’s Research Committee proposes a 2-part Pre-Conference course at the annual meetings with the overarching aim of preparing researchers to develop successful research programs focused on cerebral palsy or other child-onset developmental disabilities.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the key ingredients to a successful research program
  • Understand how to identify mentorship and research opportunities
  • Understand grant mechanisms and how to prepare a successful grant application
  • Define positive mentor-mentee characteristics

PC8: Unlocking Solutions: Strategies for Managing Self-Injurious and Aggressive Behaviors in Pediatric and Adult Populations with Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities

Purpose: Management of self-injurious and aggressive behaviors remains a challenge in both pediatric and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities and complex medical needs. These challenges pose hurdles in caregiving and require a nuanced understanding of both medical and non-medical interventions.

Target Audience: Physicians, nurses, allied health practitioners and others who treat people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the lifespan with self-injurious/aggressive behaviors

Course Summary: This interactive, cased based discussion and multidisciplinary workshop aims to foster a comprehensive approach that integrates medical, environmental and behavioral management expertise to understand and address these behaviors. Attendees will receive updates on the evidence-based approach and guidance and how-tos to implement/ develop new practices to manage these patients with high risk for injury to self and others

Learning Objectives:

  • Define self-injurious and aggressive behaviours and differentiate underlying causes of these behaviors
  • Understand the non-medical approach to management of self-injurious and aggressive behaviors
  • Engage in case-based discussions and apply use of a non-medical toolkit for management of self-injurious behaviors
  • Develop a best practice approach to medical management of self-injurious behaviors.

Important Dates

December 5, 2023
Abstract Submissions Open

January 31, 2024
Abstract Submissions Deadline

April 2024
Presentation Acceptances Sent Out

May 20, 2024
Registration Opens

June 30, 2024
Early Bird Registration Closes

October 21, 2024
Advance Registration Closes

October 23-26, 2024
78th Annual Meeting
On-site Registration Available