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Cerebral Palsy

What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is one of the most common developmental disabilities. It is a group of disorders of the development of movement and posture due to the non-progressive disturbances that occurred in the developing fetal or infant brain. It is the most common physical disability in childhood and occurs in 1 in every 500 births.

The motor disorders are often accompanied by disturbances in sensation, cognition, communication, perception and/or behaviour and/or seizure disorder.

What causes cerebral palsy?
The pathophysiology of cerebral palsy is not yet fully understood. What we do know is that there are events that can occur during the child’s neural development during the fetal, maternal, gestational or postnatal period such as:

  • Brain injury or abnormal brain development
  • Prematurity or postmaturity
  • Cerebral leukomalacia
  • Cerebral infections or inflammation
  • Hemorrhage

What can physiotherapy do?

As physiotherapists, we can:

  • Conduct an individualised assessment of motor function
  • Assess walking and provide advice on how to optimise this (such as improving walking speed)
  • Provide activity-based and goal-directed exercises and activities to improve physical function
  • Prescribe exercises to maintain and improve strength

Goals for physiotherapy

  • Maximise potential for physical independence
  • Improve the quality of life of your child and family


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