What is HABIT-ILE about?

In Australia, 35,000 people have cerebral palsy (CP), and between 60-70% of these people have difficulties with movement on both sides of their body (bilateral CP). We don’t yet have strong research evidence to support intensive therapy for children with bilateral CP to improve their ability to use their hands, walk and perform daily life tasks that are important to them or that they need to do. We do have promising pilot data on a new intervention, called HABIT-ILE. We have received over $1 million AUD from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to test HABIT-ILE in 150 children with bilateral CP and compare results to the usual care that is received. We want to know if HABIT-ILE is effective at improving hand function and gross motor function. We are also going to use special functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to whether HABIT-ILE induces neuroplastic changes in the brain.

HABIT-ILE is delivered as a “day camp” model (6.5 hours a day for 10 days around the school holidays – a total of 65 hours of therapy!). Each camp will involve 10-12 children and therapy will be based on the child’s motor abilities, age, interests and self-identified goals. This includes play, craft, cooking, everyday living skills, gaming technologies and practice of goal activities and physical activities. We have commenced recruitment at our Brisbane site and have so far received expressions of interest from over 20 families!

Who can participate?

This study seeks children who:

  • Have confirmed diagnosis of bilateral CP (diplegia/quadriplegia), GMFCS levels II (walks with limitations) to IV (limited self-mobility but able to do a standing transfer with the assistance of 1 person)
  • Aged 6 to 16 years
  • Have the ability to grasp light objects and lift more impaired arm 15cm above a table surface
  • Are able to understand instructions and complete testing
  • Do not have uncontrolled seizures
  • Did not have or not planning orthopaedic surgery in the six months prior to or scheduled during study period
  • Do not have visual impairment interfering with treatment/testing
  • Have the ability to undertake standing transfers with the assistance of 1 person and/or walk a few steps (with a walker) at the minimum

Find out more and register your interest to participate

This project is funded by NHMRC 1144846.

Chief Investigators

Dr Leanne Sakzewski, Prof. Roslyn Boyd, Dr Yannick Bleyenheuft, Prof. Iona Novak, Prof. Catherine Elliott, Dr. Cathy Morgan, Dr Kerstin Pannek

Associate Investigators

Dr David Rowell, Ms Prue Golland, Prof. Robert Ware


  • Dr Leanne Sakzewski, Ph: 07 3069 7345 or E: l.sakzewski1@uq.edu.au (Mon-Thurs)
  • Dr Sarah Reedman, Ph: 07 3069 7336 or E: s.reedman@uq.edu.au (Mon-Fri)
  • Dr Natalie Dos Santos, Ph: 07 3069 7356 or E: n.dossantos@uq.edu.au (Mon-Thurs)

Project members

Associate Professor Leanne Sakzewski

NHMRC Career Development Fellow (Occupational Therapy)

Professor Roslyn Boyd

Professor and Scientific Director

Dr Sarah Reedman

Research Fellow (Physiotherapist)

Dr Andrea Burgess

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Occupational Therapy)