Cerebral Palsy

This is the general term for a number of neurological conditions that affect movement and co-ordination. Cerebral palsy is caused by a problem in the parts of the brain responsible for controlling muscles. The condition can occur if the brain develops abnormally or is damaged before, during or shortly after birth.

There can be several causes for cerebral palsy such as a difficult or premature birth or an infection but sometimes the cause is not known. Cerebral palsy can occur with other problems such as epilepsy, hearing and/or vision problems.

Cerebral palsy normally becomes apparent during the first three years of life. A child with cerebral palsy has difficulty in achieving the normal developmental motor milestones. They are usually slower to crawl, walk and or talk. The physical movement difficulties vary according to the type of cerebral palsy a child has and the severity of the movement and co-ordination problems vary considerably.

Children with cerebral palsy may attend specialist educational settings or mainstream school.

The presenting problems for a child with cerebral palsy include –

  • Muscle tone
  • Co-ordination
  • Speech and communication

Speech and Language Therapists can help a child with these difficulties by –

  • Advising and managing early eating and drinking problems
  • Assessing a child’s communication levels and skills
  • Devising specific step by step programs to help develop communication skills
  • Advising on early communication skills and play
  • Working directly with a child
  • Advising staff and parents
  • Passing on their knowledge of different forms of communication
  • Having an up to date knowledge of electronic communication aids and switches
  • Teaching a child to use different forms of communication and monitoring this

Last updated: January 26th, 2018