05 OCT 2016
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Brad Searle: CPTV

Information and education leads to empowerment and advances that will help improve the quality of life for everyone with cerebral palsy (CP). That’s the firm belief of USA's Brad Searle, creator of the world’s first dedicated TV app for adults and children with CP – Cerebral Palsy Television (CPTV)

Knowledge is power

Brad is a board member of Reaching for the Stars (RFTS), the largest parent-led pediatric CP organization in the world, and has a seven year old son Jacob who has spastic quadriplegia CP.

“Education across the CP community is key to future advocacy, so we know the right questions to ask to be more effective in our goals”, Brad said.

“An educated community is a stronger community, and increases our chances to change the therapeutic model for CP and improve the quality of life for everyone with CP.”

A game-changer, and it’s free

Launched in September 2016, CPTV is intended to be a free resource for the CP community. US and international audiences can currently access CPTV through a Roku Media Streaming Player that connects to your TV. Soon to release on Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, it is set to be a game-changer when it comes to sharing information about research, technologies, and treatment for CP.

“We’ve created multiple categories within the channel to host a broad range of content, including; Education and Research, Awareness, Inspiration, Assistive Technology, Equipment Reviews, Therapies and Treatments, Q&A sessions with subject professionals and reoccurring episodes from popular groups within the CP community like Handicap This!. Jacob and I are always hacking things to make them accessible, so we are also working on a life hacking category to share our adventures.” Brad said.

“We hope that the CP community will find the information we provide useful, supportive and helpful. Advocates for CP need to be educated in the latest advancements available for CP research, technology and treatments,” he said.

The idea

The idea for CPTV first began when Brad was trying to find a better way of catching up on CP research videos that he’d missed from a workshop. With his kids around, he didn’t have the time to sit down and watch hours of material in one go, and craved the ability to be able to stop, rewind or pause, a bit like you would when watching a show on your DVR.

“In our house we happen to be big fans of the Roku. We have three of them throughout our home and use them for accessing Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. But it is also a tool we use to make our TVs more accessible for Jacob”, Brad said.

“Jacob uses an iPad to communicate at home, school, everywhere and by downloading a remote control app to his iPad he has control of the Roku and can watch whatever he wants during TV time with his brother and sister.”

“I attended a CP workshop at the NIH (National Institutes of Health) which was broadcast live on the internet and made available for download afterwards. I was only able to attend the first day of the two-day workshop so I had to catch up as soon as the videos were available for download.”

“The first day of the workshop lasted nearly seven hours and the second day was at least six hours long. That’s a lot of time to spend watching a video, especially if you have kids you need to pay attention to or just the daily routine to keep up with.”

“I couldn’t help but think this would be much more convenient to watch on TV with the ability to stop, pause, or pick back up where I left off when I had time,” he said.

It took a little bit of time, but Brad was able to separate the NIH CP workshop video into multiple videos sorted by topic and presenter, which led to the development on his first Roku TV app, CPTV.

“After I had the framework in place for the channel we saw the potential for this project to evolve into a resourceful tool for the CP community and started searching for more content to add”, Brad said.

How you can help

And evolve is has. In addition to making CPTV a free resource for people everywhere, Brad is also offering CPTV sponsorship opportunities to durable medical equipment, and other service providers, who support the prevention, treatment and cure of CP – not only to ensure the future development of CPTV, but to fund RFTS research and advocacy efforts.

“If someone has created something that can benefit person with CP, we want to help get that information out to the community! We’re looking to provide informative videos about what to expect for a specific type of appointment to detailed reviews about new treatments, technologies and equipment that are available. Whether it’s through applicable commercials or additional categories within the channel, CPTV was built with plenty of room to expand.”