MRFF supporting new longitudinal follow-up study to assess children’s school readiness

31 March 2022

The Australasian Cerebral Palsy Clinical Trials Network team is excited to announce that the team has secured funding from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF, $1.44M 2022-2025) to follow up with the children who participated in our past early intervention studies, to assess the influence of these trials on the child’s School Readiness. The new study ‘School Readiness: 4-5 year old follow-up of Randomised Trials of Neuroprotection and Rehabilitation for Children at risk of CP’ will follow up 452 eligible children who had previously participated in our early intervention clinical trials (REACH, GAME, PACT & Early PACT, Protect ME), from across Qld, NSW, Vic and WA.

The first 2,000 days establishes future health and education trajectories, however, children with poor school readiness are currently not identified until they commence school. School Readiness includes abilities in cognition, motor, physical activity, health, language, readiness to learn and is strongly linked to later academic attainment. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a lifelong childhood complex disability (1 in 700 children). The study aims to assess children’s cognition, gross and fine motor skills, social and behavioural development, communication, speech, eating skills, nutrition, growth, and physical activity. The assessments are completed at a one-off appointment, and are primarily play-based. After assessments completion, the family will receive a full report of the participant’s school readiness.

School readiness is a framework for assessing profiles of strengths and vulnerabilities of the preschool child in the context of transition to school. The new School Readiness study is first of its kind, working with children and families who have previously participated in early diagnosis and intervention studies developed by the team. Data obtained from this study will help to determine the impact of different early intervention strategies on school readiness of children identified as at high risk of cerebral palsy. The results of this follow-up study will be used to guide future intervention strategies to help children be ready for school.

Contact Details: Dr Morgan Carlton and Laura Gascoigne-Pees, Clinical Research Coordinators, 0480 331 014,

This project is funded by MRFF Maternal First 2,000 Days and Childhood Health, APP2007292.