29 November 2011

Today, MontroseAccess, in partnership with The University of Queensland (UQ), announced a major new initiative which is set to benefit children with disabilities worldwide.

For more than 75 years, the charity MontroseAccess has been offering world-class therapy support to children and young adults in Queensland with physical disabilities.

While continuing to offer best-practice therapy state-wide, MontroseAccess will now also offer two Masters Scholarships to its staff for research related to physical disabilities. In doing so, staff will gain cutting-edge and globally in-demand knowledge on the understanding and treatment of various conditions.

The two-year scholarships will be launched in 2012, and the next in 2013.

MontroseAccess Manager for Client Services North, Mathilde Backhouse, said: "Our reputation has been built on always delivering the highest-quality therapy services to our children and young adult clients, but now instead of simply following the pack, we will be leading it. This research will put us at the forefront of understanding and the treatment of children with physical disabilities worldwide."

The program is a partnership with UQ's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences where senior researchers will supervise all aspects of the research.

"We are excited by this collaboration with MontroseAccess, particularly as the partnership enables researchers to be embedded in the organisation. This will allow research in this unique population of children and young adults, some with severe disabilities, that has not been possible before," said Head of School, Professor Louise Hickson.

As well as two Masters Scholarships, MontroseAccess will advertise in Australia and internationally for a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. This will be a three-year post and will give MontroseAccess global recognition for providing in-depth, evidence-based research into rare and often complex disabilities.

"The information gained from these various research positions will be shared amongst our own therapists, but also with therapists and clinicians Australia wide and even worldwide. All of the research will be rigorously peer-reviewed and conform to the strict guidelines set out by UQ to ensure it is of the highest possible standard," Ms Backhouse said.

The winner of the first Masters Scholarship is being announced tonight at a special, invite-only event on the charity's Corinda grounds. MontroseAccess clients, families and supporters will be informed of the research developments at the same time and media are welcome to attend the event but are asked to RSVP immediately. Details of the event time and particular location can be obtained by calling Sarah Peterson on 0414 571 547.

Media: If you would like high-res images or to arrange a photo shoot or interview, please feel free to contact MontroseAccess General Manager of Client Services, Clare Besly, on (07) 3717 1178 or email cbesly@montroseaccess.org.au.

About MontroseAccess:

MontroseAccess provides therapy, respite and recreation services to more than 600 children and young adults with physical disabilities throughout Queensland. This is delivered through our four metropolitan offices at Brisbane, Brisbane North, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, with outreach programs accessing regional and remote parts of the state.

Formed in 1933 as the Queensland Society For Crippled Children, the organisation was established to support children living with the effects of polio. Since then, it has grown to provide varied and holistic services to clients with varying degrees of disability; some of the most common being neuromuscular conditions, juvenile arthritis, acquired brain injury and arthrogryposis.

Our clients age from toddlers (through our Early Childhood Program) to young adults (the Lifestyle & Leisure Program).

MontroseAccess is an independent, not-for-profit organisation without political or religious affiliation. We do not duplicate services provided by condition specific organisations – we provide services to those young people who would not otherwise be able to obtain them.