Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a condition caused by abnormal brain development or injury to the brain as it develops. This can occur before, during, after birth or during early childhood. It is the most common childhood disability.

There are several forms of cerebral palsy:

  • Spastic cerebral palsy
    Spastic cerebral palsy is characterised by stiff limbs, increased muscle tone and tightness making it difficult to move joints. Movement can be difficult and requires increased effort. 
  • Dyskinetic/dystonic cerebral palsy 
    Dyskinetic or dystonic cerebral palsy is characterised by difficulties with coordination, muscle tone and control of movement and control of posture. It can also result in involuntary movements. 
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy 
    Ataxic cerebral palsy is caused as a result of damage to the area of the brain responsible for coordination and balance. Children can also have tremors whilst moving. This form of cerebral palsy is relatively rare. 
  • Worster-Drought syndrome
    Worster-Drought syndrome affects the nerves and muscles needed for speaking, eating, drinking and swallowing. 
  • Mixed
    It is fairly common to have features of more than one type of cerebral palsy.

In almost all cases, a child with cerebral palsy will be recognised as having special educational needs (SEN). Because cerebral palsy causes noticeable physical difficulties, the focus of support will often be on physical adaptations. This can mean that there is a lack of focus on what education and communication techniques should be used and integrated into the curriculum. It may be necessary to seek special educational needs advice in order to secure holistic support.

In our experience, SEN additional support may be adequate to cater for a child with cerebral palsy. However, because of the ranging needs and provision required, an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) tends to be necessary.


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