Cerebral Palsy

What is it?

Cerebral palsy is the name for a group of lifelong conditions that affect movement and co-ordination. It’s caused by a brain injury that occurs before, during or soon after birth.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of cerebral palsy often become noticeable in a child’s early life, around the age of 2-3 years. They may:

  • Have delays in reaching developmental milestones.
  • Have weak arms or legs.
  • Seem too stiff or too floppy.
  • Have fidgety, jerky or clumsy movements.
  • Have random, uncontrolled movements.
  • Walk on tiptoes.
  • Have other difficulties such as problems with swallowing and communication.

Each child’s difficulties are unique. Some people only have minor problems, while others may have more significant difficulties.

Supporting children with cerebral palsy

Depending on your child’s needs, the Children’s Integrated Service may support them to develop a range of skills such as:

  • Self-care.
  • Hand function.
  • Movement and mobility.
  • Play and leisure.
  • Speech, Language and Communication skills.

As each child with cerebral palsy is unique their treatment will depend on individual needs and they may require different levels and kinds of support at different ages.

How often do you see my child for Physiotherapy?

Early intervention helps to achieve better motor skills. We will see your child more often when they are young. On average 90% of gross motor function is reached by 5 years. Most affected children’s motor development will plateau around 3 years.

Once your child has achieved maximum gross motor skills, therapy will be directed to maintain the gained skills. If your child had surgery or Botulinum toxin injections we will see them more often.

We recommend home based programmes led by the parent and supported by a therapist. We also provide specialist equipment to help your child develop. Therapists or therapy assistants will see your child for treatment. Pre-school children may be seen within a group

Older children are encouraged to do strengthening exercises. This will be directed by their therapists.

24 hours postural care management will be provided for the children with complex physical needs.

Therapist will set up a therapy programme. They will train school and parents to do the programme. Parents and school needs to do the programme. Therapist will review the programme as and when required.


Visit our SLT resources section for more advice about supporting your child’s speech and language skills

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Page last reviewed: 26 August, 2021