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This continuing education course will provide you with the skills needed in the role of a coach to support families with infants and young children who show neuromotor developmental issues in order to plan, implement and evaluate family-centred early interventions.


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At a glance


course certificate, COPCA (5 ECTS)




6 days contact teaching


CHF 2'100.00


ZHAW, Campus Stadt-Mitte, Building MG, Katharina-Sulzer-Platz 9, 8401 Winterthur  (Show on Google Maps)

Language of instruction:

  • English
  • English (contact days, individual coaching, peer feedback), German (option for individual coaching, peer feedback)

Objectives and content

Target audience

  • Graduates in physiotherapy from a university of applied sciences or a vocational college, experienced and actually working in early intervention
  • Graduates in occupational therapy from a university of applied sciences or a vocal college, experienced and actually working in early intervention


Upon completion of the COPCA® module, students are able to

  • explain the two basic theoretical components of the COPCA® early intervention programme (family focusing / theory of neuronal group selection) and put them into practice
  • explain to parents how the two basic theoretical components of COPCA® are put into practice: coaching the actively involved family in their everyday lives and challenging the child with neuromotor developmental disorders to develop active and self-produced movement
  • apply the communication principles of coaching (e.g. active listening, ask the right questions)


COPCA® (abbreviation of COPing with and CAring for Infants with Special Needs) – a family centred program
Website COPCA®

This module focuses on the planning, implementation and evaluation of family-centred early intervention in infants and toddlers with neuromotor developmental impairments. During the module students will learn how to challenge these infants and toddlers to exhibit active, exploratory and varied motor behaviour with trial-and-error experiences (important foundations for motor learning). Students will be introduced to communication principles applied in coaching (e.g. active listening, asking the right questions) and learn how to accompany families in their everyday lives. COPCA® aims a) to empower whole families in decision-making processes and b) to support the motor capacities of the child so that families can participate optimally with their child in everyday life.


  • from current practice to COPCA®
  • the coaching approach in COPCA®
  • the neurodevelopmental component of COPCA®
  • the family-centred component of COPCA®: inclusion of the family
  • framework conditions and practical implementation
  • communication in the context of COPCA®
  • demonstration of COPCA® through videos
  • individual coaching and peer feedback on your own COPCA® treatments

The module can be followed as stand-alone module or as part of the CAS Specialities in Paediatric Physiotherapy (specialising in COPCA®).


Blended learning is an integrated learning concept that makes optimal use of the networking options available today via the Internet and the Intranet in combination with traditional learning methods and media in a meaningful learning arrangement. The following teaching methods are used: presentations, group work, coaching in groups, video examples. Teaching during required attendance will generally be in the form of hybrid learning, meaning that students can choose to participate either on site or online via video conferencing. Students should be aware that before and after each block course with compulsory attendance autonomous and guided self-directed study including practical and reflection work is required. In addition, individual coaching sessions will be provided to each student, and held online, in the two intervening periods between the block courses requiring compulsory attendance.


Video analysis of a COPCA® treatment

Enquiries and contact


  • Institute of Physiotherapy
  • Institute of Occupational Therapy


Prof. Dr. Schirin Akhbari Ziegler
Michèle Brülhart
Jeannette Curcio
Selina Güttinger
Prof. Dr. Mijna Hadders-Algra
Patrizia Sonderer

Offered in cooperation with

The curriculum of the COPCA® module was developed in collaboration with the Institute of Developmental Neurology at the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Groningen (Netherlands), in particular with the founders of COPCA® Mrs. Tineke Dirks and Professor MD Mijna Hadders-Algra.


Admission requirements

  • prior completion of the on continuing education course Infant Motor Profile
  • prior completion of the on continuing education course Normal Development of the Child or proof of an equivalent further education (Admission by equivalency procedure possible)
  • current employment in the field of paediatric physiotherapy or occupational therapy, access to children under two years of age is required
  • you should have the opportunity to accompany an infant and his family during the course

Information for applicants

  • Next execution: 08./09.05, 21./22.08.,04./05.12.2025 - online lessons
  • General teaching hours: 09.15am - 16.30pm (exceptions are possible)
  • Note: during the contact days, the language of instruction is English

Start Application deadline Registration link
08.05.2025 08.04.2025 Application

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