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Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder caused by a non-progressive brain injury or malformation that occurs while the child’s brain is immature. Cerebral Palsy primarily affects body movement and muscle coordination, however the child may also experience other problems of development.
Every case of cerebral palsy is unique to the individual. There are different causes of CP and different patterns and severity of impairments. Children with CP often present other impairments such as hearing, vision or cognitive deficits. Although cerebral palsy is damage to the brain that currently cannot be fully repaired, treatment and therapy help manage the effects on the child’s development, and improve the participation of children and youth in the activities that are important for their development, so as to improve their quality of life and that of their families.
Cerebral palsy is a complex and highly diverse disorder.
A large variety of causes and risk factors may interact to cause a particular child’s cerebral palsy.
Several research studies have identified risk factors that may arise prenatally (prior to labour and delivery), perinatally (during the birthing process) or postnatally (after birth in the first year of life).
Many studies are currently searching for new ways to prevent, cure, and treat CP.
There are several treatments that can help improving motor function, support participation in meaningful activities and a good quality of life for children and youth with CP.
Overview For Clinicians
Recent studies using a variety of methodologies have identified genetic abnormalities in as many as 15-30% of unselected cases of cerebral palsy pulled from population-based registries.
Comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) or high resolution microarray is now widely available to clinicians and should be considered as a first line test, along with neuroimaging, in the diagnostic evaluation of cerebral with clinically documented or suspected cerebral palsy.
Families and youth with CP place a high value on participation in leisure activities. There is evidence-supporting interventions to promote participation, policies that families have the right to access, and resources to help families connect to adapted leisure activities.
CIMT is one of the rehabilitation interventions with high-quality evidence supporting its efficacy for children with hemiplegic CP.
Cerebral palsy is a complex physical disability and can affect the whole body, creating many potential sources for pain and can often result in painful associated conditions. For children with cerebral palsy expressing a pain sensation accurately can be challenging. Without proper assessment, pain cannot be managed, impacting a child’s participation in everyday activities.
In 2007, information collected from parents during inter- views as part of the Adolescent Study of Quality of Life, Mobility and Exercise conducted through CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research showed a general theme of “If I knew then what I know now, I would have done things differently.”
Dr. Andrew Gordon from Columbia University explains how Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) and Hand and arm bimanual intensive training (HABIT) can work together to improve motor skills for children with cerebral palsy.
Dr. Michael Shevell from McGill University provides insight into causes for cerebral palsy, while highlighting its’ complexity. New technologies are allowing researchers gain new insights, with the near-future implications for prevention, therapy and interventions.
Cerebral palsy is complex, and consequently so is the development of the disorder. Making informed decisions about a young adults health care options, while finding the right sources of support can make all the difference.
This study examined the level of involvement in leisure activities for children 6-12 years of age with cerebral palsy (CP). The Children’s Assessment of Participation and Enjoyment was the evaluation tool used, and was carried out in children who were able to actively participate in completing this measure. Results showed that children with CP are actively involved in a wide range of leisure activities, although they were less likely to participate in social and active-physical activities, when compared to typically developing peers.
Quality of life is defined as an individual’s personal perception of their well-being and general satisfaction with life. This study found that a parent’s view of their child’s quality of life is similar to the child’s own perceptions of their quality of life. However, disparities exist, therefore children themselves should complete quality of life questionnaires whenever feasible, so as to gain their own perspectives.
Good communication is a key part of healthcare. In this study, researchers were interested in understanding whether parents were satisfied with the way a diagnosis of cerebral palsy was communicated to them, and what factors related to that satisfaction.
Sleep disorders can have a negative effect on children’s behavior and school performance. This article explores different types of sleep problems impacting children with cerebral palsy and their families.
Classification systems are an important part of care. They help physicians assess needs. Determining subtype of Cerebral Palsy allows physicians to assess pathogenesis, type of motor impairment and burden of comorbidity associated with cerebral palsy. Alternatively, GMFCS allows physicians to measure the severity of motor impairment and helps inform the progress of treatment and rehabilitation.
Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) is an intervention that has proven to be effective for improving motor skills in children with cerebral palsy. In this section you can find summaries about what CIMT is as well as other similar interventions, most frequently used assessments for this intervention, clinical guidelines developed by different rehabilitation centers, suggestions of activities and schedules to start a CIMT program, and centers offering this therapy in Canada.