Paediatric Physiotherapy Seminar: Early detection and intervention for infants at high-risk of development impairments

School of Population and Global Health Building Room B103 (Theatre 1) 207 Bouverie Street The University of Melbourne, VIC 3010


Join Physiotherapist and University of Melbourne Senior Researcher, Associate Professor Alicia Spittle as joins colleagues Professor Giovanni Cioni and Dr Andrea Guzzetta, to present the paediatric educational seminar

"Early detection and intervention for infants at high-risk of development impairments"

In this seminar we will discuss the state of the evidence on early intervention for children who are born at high risk of developmental impairments such as cerebral palsy, learn about assessments tools that can be easily administered in clinical practice including the Hammersmith Infant Neurological Examination and discuss current practices and future directions in early detection and early intervention for infants with neurodevelopment impairments within the first year of life.

Speakers include world leaders in the field of early detection, early infant assessment and early intervention:

Alicia Spittle

Associate Professor Alicia Spittle 

Deputy Head of Department of Physiotherapy, Melbourne School of Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne

Associate Professor Alicia Spittle is a Physiotherapist and Senior Researcher at the University of Melbourne and leads the motor team of the Victorian Infant Brain Study at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. She is a current recipient of a National Health Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Career Development Fellowship, and Chief Investigator on several NHMRC project grants, along with the NHRMC Centre of Research Excellence in Newborn Medicine. In addition to her research, she works clinically in the neonatal intensive care unit and follow-up clinic at the Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne.

Giovanni Cioni

Professor Giovanni Cioni

Scientifc Director,IRCCS Fondazione Stella Maris, Italy, Child Neurology and Psychiatry, University of Pisa

Giovanni Cioni is Full Professor of Child Neurology and Psychiatry, University of Pisa, Italy. He obtained laurea cum laude, University of Florence, School of Medicine, and Specializations in Child Neurology and Psychiatry and in Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Pisa. He also received special training in Neonatal Neurology at the University of Groningen, with Heinz Prechtl, and training in child neurology and rehabilitation in many Centres in Europe. He is currently Scientific Director of IRCCS Fondazione Stella Maris, National Biomedical Research Hospital for neurodevelopmental disorders, Director of PhD Programme in Neuroscience, and of the School of Specialization in Child Neurology and Psychiatry, University of Pisa.

His has a special interest in brain plasticity in relation to neurodevelopmental disorders (human and mouse models) and early intervention; neuroimaging techniques (including Ultra High Field MR) and application to child neurology; new approaches to neurological evaluation of newborns and young infants; Short- and long-term follow-up of the newborn at risk for neurological damage; Central visual disorders in children.

Dr Andrea Guzzetta

Dr Andrea Guzzetta

Head of Infant Neurology Section, Stella Maris Scientific Institute, Italy

Andrea Guzzetta, MD PhD is a Child Neuropsychiatrist at Fondazione Stella Maris, Pisa, Italy.  Andrea is the Head of the Infant Neurology Section and Head of the Stella Maris Infant Lab for Early Intervention (SMILE) and an Associate Professor at the University of Pisa, Medical School.  His research focuses on the effects of early brain damage on the development of different functions (motor, visual) and the underlying neuroplastic mechanisms with an overall aim of improving early intervention paradigms.

Current research themes include: Advanced brain imaging focused on the study of structural differences in brain reorganization between congenital and acquired lesions (e.g. DTI, cortical connectivity, etc.); new early interventions, based on the stimulation of the mirror neuron system to activate the motor cortex and thus influence the pattern of cortical reorganization.