Hundreds of families apply for Napa pop-up clinics in Ireland

Parents hope the paediatric therapy centre will set up its European base here

Napa is based in the US and Australia and offers an intensive model of therapy when treating children with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders. Photograph: iStock

Families have applied in their hundreds for a pop-up clinic in Ireland by the world-renowned paediatric therapy centre Napa amid the possibility that the clinic will decide to set up its European headquarters in Ireland.

Napa is based in the US and Australia and offers an intensive model of therapy (IMOT) when treating children with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders.

Kerry mother Noreen O’Neill is currently in Poland with her five-year-old son, Michael, who has developmental delays arising out of his severe epilepsy.

Noreen O’Neill with her five-year-old son Michael

Michael has received two weeks of IMOT therapy in Poland on a programme which is not affiliated with Napa. Flights, accommodation and the programme cost the Cork-based mother €4,000.


Ms O’Neill said that Irish families are desperate to get Napa to set up in this country, with many families having travelled to the Neurological and Physical Abilitation centre in Boston for treatment for their children.

Impressive results

Ms O’Neill said that intensive therapy over a period of a few weeks leads to impressive results. As a result, she said, 300 families have already signed up for the Napa pop-up clinics to be held in Ireland in August and September of next year.

“Napa are inundated with application forms from Ireland. They never imagined that it would be the volume that it is. They offer dynamic movement intervention. They have trexo robotics, feeding services, a neurosuit, spidercage, oxygen therapy and so on.

“They are so techy with all of their equipment but their knowledge is also unbelievable. We did virtual sessions last year during Covid with them. And even through a computer screen the physical therapy was extraordinary.”

Ms O’Neill cited the case of six-year-old Zoe Cryan, from Castleplunkett in Roscommon, who travelled to the US for treatment with Napa in 2019. Born at 24 weeks, Zoe suffered two significant bleeds to the brain and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Zoe’s mother, Siobhan, is one of the parents who is hoping that Napa will set up a base in Ireland. Ms O’Neill said that Zoe’s condition has improved considerably due to pioneering medical attention she has received in the Boston Napa clinic.

“Zoe was 100 per cent peg fed and she came back three weeks later and she is now eating three meals a day. She is no longer peg fed and only gets water through her peg.

“It is intensive. It is five days a week with a minimum of three hours a day. But they get results.”

Siz-year-old Zoe Cryan from Roscommon receiving treatment at a Napa centre in the US

Ms O’Neill said Irish parents will have to pay for Napa treatments. However, she indicated that families would be ecstatic to have the service on their doorstep with Ireland currently in the running as Napa bids to establish a base in Europe.

She said in addition to the cost of travelling overseas for intensive treatment, it is tough on little kids and their families to endure flights and long periods in cars.

“You have kids with feeding tubes or breathing tubes going overseas for treatment that is not available in Ireland. To have to travel to America is huge on a child.

“My son Michael is standing. He is taking steps with support. He is sitting independently. He is no longer tube fed. He is going to playschool. He is horse riding.

“My son has developmental delays caused by the damage done by his epilepsy. Napa has the best of everything. We want that for Ireland.”

Ms O’Neill hopes to bring Michael to the US early next year for treatment with Napa, with further therapy planned at the pop-up clinics in Ireland in late summer.

Napa was founded in 2008 by a mother who wanted to make the best therapies in the world available under one roof for children with physical and neurological challenges.

Information on registering for the pop-up clinics in Ireland can be obtained here.