About this event

  • Date and time Tue 25 Jan 2022 from 6:00pm to 8:30pm
  • Location Online
  • Organised by Maternity and the Newborn Forum

This webinar presents a new multidisciplinary approach to working with parents and high-risk infants, along with up-to-date research on the outcomes and neurodevelopment needs of high-risk, premature, and sick infants. 

Leaders in developmental psychology, children’s occupational therapy, neuroscience, and neonatology will provide insightful presentations on approaches you can take to provide parental support and meet the developmental needs of high-risk babies in neonatal units. The latest research about sleep in high-risk babies, and outcomes of high-risk babies into adulthood will be addressed. You will also hear from a parent with first-hand experience of this approach and how it worked for them. 

During this webinar you will learn about:

  • The outcomes of babies born early and sick into adulthood
  • New interventions to support parents and high-risk infants in the neonatal units using a multidisciplinary, coordinated approach
  • Sleep and brain development in order to provide high-risk babies the optimal environment

CPD learning applied.

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Key speakers

Dieter Wolke

Professor Dieter Wolke

Professor of Developmental Psychology and Individual Differences, Department of Psychology, University of Warwick

Speaker's biography

Dieter Wolke is a Professor in the department of psychology, University of Warwick. He is the lead of the Lifespan Health and Wellbeing Group. His research is interdisciplinary, longitudinal and in the field of developmental psychopathology. He investigates how early influences in life such as being born before term (i.e. preterm) or having early regulatory problems (crying, sleeping and feeding) affect brain and psychological development. How are developmental trajectories altered by parents, peers or siblings? He is or was involved in a range of longitudinal studies such as the Bavarian Longitudinal Study, the EPICure study, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) cohort or the UK Household Longitudinal Study (Understanding Society). He is joint manager of the Horizon 2020 RECAP-preterm (www.recap-preterm.eu) project involving 12 countries investigating the lives of preterm children and adults. He coordinated the Follow-up Care committee that developed European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI) newborn-health-standards project) and is member of the steering committee of Glance – Global Alliance for newborn care (https://www.glance-network.org/). He is the author of more than 450 peer reviewed articles and a highly cited researcher since 2017. He received an honorary doctorate in science (Dr rer nat h.c.) from the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, in 2014 for his contribution to psychological science. He has been awarded the distinguished contribution to developmental psychology by the British Psychological Society in 2020.

Read more here - https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/professor_dieter_wolke.

Betty Hutchon

Dr Betty Hutchon

 Head, Children’s Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

Speaker's biography

Dr Betty Hutchon has collaborated and worked closely with the late Dr Brazelton, at Harvard University and Boston Childrens Hospital for many years. She was part of a small team who set up the Brazelton Centre UK, a registered charity. Betty is a master trainer for the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS) and Newborn Behavioral Observations (NBO). 


She has completed extensive training in Prechtl’s general movement (GM) neurological assessment, which is a highly reliable technique for the assessment of spontaneous movements in preterm and very young infants.  It is the most predictive test available for young infants to detect cerebral palsy.  


Dr Betty Hutchon is co-author of the highly successful course: ‘Early Assessment & Intervention for Babies & Young Children’. Since co-writing the course content for this 6 day course she has trained more than 1000 physiotherapists, occupational therapists and doctors throughout the world in early assessment and intervention.  


She has been awarded three outstanding Achievement Awards during her time at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. She has recently been the recipient of the Pioneering Award in Neonatal Therapy presented by National Association of Neonatal Therapists (NANT in USA). 


Dr Betty Hutchon was invited by Action Cerebral Palsy to give evidence on the early identification of cerebral palsy at a special select committee in the Houses of Parliament. Her contribution is documented in the final report published in 2015.  


Dr Betty Hutchon was part of a highly expert team of professionals and academics who worked on the The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines for developmental follow up of preterm infants published in 2017. The guideline is available to view on –  


She was also part of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists recently published standards for neonatal practice - ‘Occupational Therapy in neonatal services and early intervention’, 



Dr Betty Hutchon  has presented at many national and international conferences all over the world including being invited to present as a keynote speaker at the European Academy of Childhood Disability. She co-presented with Dr Joanna Hawthorne, Cambridge at the World Association Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) in June 2014 and again in May 2016.  


Dr Betty Hutchon’s current passion is her work with the Ei SMART team advocating an evidence based transdisciplinary approach to early intervention.  www.eismart.co.uk. Their recent paper is published in December 2019 in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology journal titled ‘Early intervention programmes for infants at high risk of atypical neurodevelopmental outcome: Hutchon et al’ and their podcast is available on YouTube.  

Dr Topun Austin

Dr Topun Austin

Consultant Neonatologist, Neonatal Unit, Rosie Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

Speaker's biography

Dr Topun Austin is a Consultant Neonatologist in Cambridge, and Honorary Professor of Neurophotonics at University College London. He is the Director of the Evelyn Perinatal Imaging Centre (EPIC), based at the Rosie Hospital, Cambridge. His main research interests are in brain development and injury in the newborn, using novel monitoring and imaging technologies and their translation into routine clinical care as well as ways of assessing early infant behaviour and functional brain connectivity. He works closely with Professor David Rowitch (Head of Paediatrics, Cambridge University) in the development of the Cambridge NeuroNICU, developing a brain-orientated model of care for newborn infants in intensive care.


He is the co-director of neoLAB, which is a collaborative group between EPIC and Biomedical Optics Laboratory at UCL (Professor Jem Hebden, Assoc. Prof. Rob Cooper). The group has been involved in developing state-of-the-art optical imaging systems to study functional activity in the developing brain. He is currently involved in a number of projects using optical and EEG systems to study: 1) the role of sleep and functional connectivity in the developing brain, 2) neural synchrony between mother and babies in association with affectionate touch, 3) functional imaging of motor activity in infants at risk of cerebral palsy, 4) evaluating the optimal way to detect seizures in the newborn.


He has a number of productive collaborations with the Departments of Psychology (Prof. Mark Johnson, Dr. Sarah-Lloyd Fox), Psychiatry (Prof. Sir Simon Baron-Cohen) and Clinical Neurosciences (Prof. Marek Czosnyka, Dr. Peter Smielewski) at the University of Cambridge and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (Assoc. Prof. Vicky Leong).

Further information can be found at www.neolabresearch.com.

Sibylle Erdmann

Dr Sibylle Erdmann

Psychologist, Parent and Co-Chair, Ei SMART Management Team

Speaker's biography

Dr Sibylle Erdmann has over a decade of lived experience as a parent carer to her two children, including an initial stay of 400 days in various London Neonatal Intensive Care Units.  


She first became involved in healthcare improvement through UCLPartners and is a founding member of Q, an initiative connecting people with quality improvement expertise across the UK. 


As co-chair of Ei SMART, she is passionate about supporting families and bringing together knowledge from different fields.  


Dr Erdmann has many years experience in organisational consulting and holds a bachelor in psychology, a master of science in social psychology and a doctorate in organisational change. In her thesis ‘On healthcare and healing’, she explored how public and private practices can come together to form an organisation.  


She volunteered for the London Neonatal Operational Delivery Network since it was founded and is an international speaker on the topic of sharing newborn care between healthcare teams and families. 


Her writing includes: 


View the programme

Welcome and introduction

Dr Joanna Hawthorne, Psychologist and Former Director, Brazelton Centre

Long term outcome after very preterm birth into adulthood: Implications for intervention

Professor Dieter Wolke, Professor of Developmental Psychology and Individual Differences, Department of Psychology, University of Warwick

Questions and answers
Ei SMART: Early intervention, Sensory, Motor, Attention and regulation, Relationships, Together: A new approach to improving the experience for parents of high-risk infants and children through co-production and working collaboratively

Dr Betty Hutchon, Head, Children’s Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and Dr Sibylle Erdmann, Psychologist, Parent and Co-Chair, Ei SMART Management Team

Questions and answers
Sleep, touch and making of the human brain

Dr Topun Austin, Consultant Neonatologist, Neonatal Unit, Rosie Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

Questions and answers
Closing remarks

Dr Joanna Hawthorne 

Close of meeting



Disclaimer: All views expressed in this webinar are of the speakers themselves and not of the RSM nor the speaker's organisations.

Special rates for difficult times 
The RSM wishes to offer healthcare professionals continued learning opportunities during the coronavirus pandemic. The RSM’s ​weekly COVID-19 Series ​webinars remain free of charge, while there will be small charges to register for other online education. These fees will enable the RSM to continue its programme of activities and will apply during the course of the pandemic.

Registration for this webinar will close 2 hours prior to the start time. You will receive the webinar link 2 hours before the meeting. Late registrations will not be accepted.

This webinar will be recorded and stored by the Royal Society of Medicine and may be  distributed  in future on various internet channels. 

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