Friday, 22 January 2010

Des grandes fromages aux Bruxelles

Big cheeses in Europe

From an email received today, from Prof. Bernard Dan –

EACD 2010 in the Capital of Europe

Dear Colleagues,

The forthcoming meeting of the European Academy of Childhood Disability will take place in Brussels from 26 to 29 May 2010.

The scientific programme of the meeting will focus on evaluation of management outcome in childhood disability. Many areas will be covered, including movement disorders, spasticity, visual problems, ADHD, behaviour, education, communication, muscle disorders, epilepsy, nutrition, cognition, transitions to adulthood, pain and sleep. Moreover, the very location of the meeting in Brussels will emphasise the European perspective of the action of the EACD.

In addition to patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium and the City of Brussels, Mr. Jerzy Buzek, the President of the European Parliament, has accepted to offer us the patronage of the European Parliament. The first European highlight of the meeting will be the address of Ms. Roberta Angelilli, Vice-President of the European Parliament, at the official opening ceremony, which will be hosted by the Mayor of Brussels in the magnificent Salle Gothique at the Grand Place of Brussels.

The scientific programme itself includes several European highlights. There will be a symposium on orphan drugs organised in partnership with the European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA). There will also be a special workshop dedicated to European policies in childhood disability, addressing health service provision, basic and clinical research, public health policies and networking, and a keynote lecture on a European perspective in policy making in childhood disability by Dr. Andrzej Rys, Director of Public Health at the European Commission.

Overall, the programme promises to be varied and educational. We look forward to seeing you in Brussels.

On behalf of the organising committee,
Prof. Bernard Dan,
President of EACD 2010 Meeting

'Capital of Europe'? He jests. Surely.

M.Dan is an academic neurologist. In Brussells

From the conference blurb

The EACD is an academic, multidisciplinary association of professionals working with children with disabilities throughout Europe. Its members include paediatricians, paediatric neurologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and communication therapists, psychologists, rehabilitation physicians, orthopaedic surgeons, orthotists, nurses, dieticians, social workers and special-needs teachers. The EACD aims to ensure the development of high quality research and teaching in the field of childhood disability and improve the care of these children across Europe.

The theme of the Brussels 2010 EACD Meeting is "MEASURES OF PROGRESS – Evaluating management outcome in childhood disability". Major conceptual and technological advances in the management of children with neurodevelopmental disability have brought about new challenges with respect to evaluation, management and research in habilitation outcomes. The Brussels 2010 EACD Meeting will provide an occasion for updating and clarifying the multidimensional model of disablement as it specifically applies to management of children with neurodevelopmental disability. It will reemphasise the need for reliable measurement of management outcomes through new findings, from functional imaging to quality of life assessment...

... There will be sessions organised together with the European Paediatric Neurology Society (EPNS) and a session organized by the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM). There will be a special workshop dedicated to European Union policy making for the benefit of children with disabilities and a workshop on parenting the child with disabilities organised by parents for parents...

... The Mayor of Brussels, Freddy Thielemans, will welcome us at an opening reception in the magnificent Salle Gothique at the Grand Place, which is arguably the most beautiful square in the world.

Key-note addresses

The first obligation of the healer is to establish that the treatment works (Nigel Paneth, USA)
  • Translational research: from animal models to child habilitation (Tommasso Pizzorusso, Italy)
  • Multidisciplinarity approach (Martin Bax, UK) 
  • From stem cells to neural networks: basic mechanisms and perspectives for neurodevelopmental disorders (Pierre Vanderhaeghen, Belgium) 
  • From early assessment and therapeutic education to later assessment (Michel Le Métayer, France) 
  • Essentials of measuring health and life quality in youth with neurodevelopmental conditions (Gabriel Ronen, Canada) 
  • Finding pathways from gene to behaviour (Christopher Oliver, UK) 
  • Augmentative communication (Annalu Waller, UK) 
  • European perspective in policy making in childhood disability (Andrzej Rys, European Commission) 
  • Evidence-based practice (Hans Forssberg, Sweden)
Some interesting and not all unproblematic propositions there. If I had several hundred Euros to spare I should dearly love to go an hear some of them, and puzzle whether 'Europe' is going to be part of the solution, or just another (very big) manifestation of the problem? It certainly seems for some to be one big Klondyke.

I won't make the usual observation, nor ask the usual question here...

Inter alia, there will also be 'instructional courses':

Courses on the methods of therapy evaluation, on the Measures of Progress, on how to perform RCTs and meta-analysis studies are very welcome as well as courses related to the main topics of the meeting.

Again, no comment, no question.

The Mayor's greeting to the conference

The greeting to the conference by Freddy Thielemans, Mayor of the City of Brussels, concludes with these words –

… The struggle is constantly renewed. A fight against hopelessness or abandon, a fight in favour of continued life, fair education (sometimes of the parents as well), but also a demand for a measure of humility. To have to bear all the know-well, all those who know better than the medical team or the patient or even the family. Those who know why and how to the point of charlatanism. Why is wisdom such an unattainable virtue?

I wish to thank all of you, and all the others, who have helped us in keeping hope, who were with us in times of despair and in particular those who never lied to us. For truth is another necessary weapon under the circumstances.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as the Mayor of this City I want to thank you for being within our walls. But in particular, as the father of a wonderful daughter with a disability, I wish to express my gratitude for the help, the hope and the knowledge we may share thanks to you. In the hope that her life, and the life of all children with disabilities, may still be full of happiness, beauty and especially of the greatest freedom.

Now read that all again, knowing that Freddy Thielemans, Mayor of the City of Brussels, has a disabled daughter. I wonder...

Measures of Progress
Management of children with developmental disorders
22nd Annual Meeting of the
European Academy of Childhood Disability
27-29 May 2010
Under the Patronage of
HRH Princess Astrid of Belgium,
The European Parliament and
The City of Brussels


  1. ".... and a workshop on parenting the child with disabilities organised by parents for parents.

    "... by parents". Who? From where?
    "... for parents". Whom? From where?

    Can I be the only person who finds it ever so slightly bizarre that in the midst of a pan-European academic conference, someone has rounded up one bunch of parents to organise and another bunch of parents to attend this event?

    Will those parents who attend be paying the fee to attend the conference, for the benefit of this "workshop".


    Bizarre. Or maybe just tired and ought to go to bed.

  2. Norman,

    Tokenistic liberalism. There has always been a lot of it about in paediatrics. Well, just about enough, anyway...


  3. As I began to read the bit in this report by the Mayor of Brussels I thought:
    “There is something different here”.
    That something was in the tone of his voice.

    Even though it was all on paper I could still hear it. Just as it can be heard in that video clip you mentioned in one of your postings when David Cameron began to answer a question asked by a man from Buddy Bears in Northern Ireland.

    Cameron, D. (2009) Cameron Direct – Health, YouTube, 23 May

    It was the tone of his voice that was so important and so different. It wasn’t a soppy voice, or a voice that was saying “I need your votes”. It was the voice of someone who knows.

    Voices like those I hear when, for example, James and Norman write.

    The voices of people who know.