Cerebal Palsy

About Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is not a single condition; it is a group of disorders of the development of the body’s motor system, causing movement, muscle and posture problems. Cerebral palsy is often accompanied by other associated challenges including communication struggles and problems with cognition, perception and behaviour.

It is caused by damage or faulty development in a certain part of the brain and this usually happens in the womb or - in some cases - during or shortly after birth.

There are four main types of cerebral palsy:
Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common form of the disorder. The muscles are stiffer than normal and the degree of effect in an arm or leg can vary from case to case.
Athetoid cerebral palsy causes involuntary, slow, writhing movements of the hands and sudden muscle spasms which often affect the tongue or face muscles.
Ataxic cerebral palsy affects balance and fine motor skills. Children may struggle with handwriting and other fine motor skills such as tying shoelaces.
Mixed cerebral palsy is a combination of two or even all three of the above categories.

Approximately half of children diagnosed with cerebral palsy also have some degree of learning difficulty, due to either problems with muscle control, motor-skills and co-ordination or through other neurological conditions. The frustration this can cause, can lead to the development into other psychological conditions including anxiety, a sense of isolation and possibly even depression.

Parents of a child with this ‘non progressive disorder’ may feel there is little they can do to help their child progress – and our first task is often to reassure them that there is hope for their child.

Helping your child with Cerebral Palsy

Physiotherapy is the primary treatment for the physiological effects of cerebral palsy. There are also a range of other treatments and options available and we will discuss these with you at the outset, providing professional guidance to help you decide the best way forward for your child.

One of the most effective treatments available for a child with cerebral palsy is Verbal Behaviour and this can be hugely successful, particularly when implemented as part of a broader programme of treatment.

Based on the techniques of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), Verbal Behaviour teaches language and communication skills and can benefit your child in a number of ways, including:

  • The development of more meaningful relationships with children and adults.
  • An ability to express needs, wants and desires with others.
  • Improved cognitive functions. 
  • Positive and socially acceptable behaviour patterns.

These language, communication and social skills are taught using Natural Environment Teaching (NET) and this approach encourages a willingness to learn, even with children who are seemingly unmotivated learners.

Family support network

Over the years NETwork Interventions have linked up hundreds of parents and families across the world through our NETwork programme.

One way of doing this is our sibling network scheme for the brothers and sisters of children with learning difficulties, where family members can share their experiences.

We also link up parents who are caring for a child with disorders such as cerebral palsy. Knowing that there is a support network of others who are going through the same experiences can make all the difference.

Did you know?

Many individuals with cerebral palsy go on to live independently. NETwork Interventions focuses on ensuring that the skills the child learns, are taught to independence and will stay with them for life. This increases their ability to live, learn and thrive in the community.
Please contact us today to talk about your child’s needs.

The next steps...

Contact us today to find out how NETwork is helping families and schools like yours.  For more information and resources please get in touch with us.

"Our son was diagnosed with Asperger’s aged 7; NETwork Interventions spent a day observing him at school and at home and quickly identified the skills he was lacking – skill deficits that we - and others working with our son - had not picked up on. NETwork Interventions trained us to help our son learn those missing skills. The results have been remarkable – he no longer cries about going to school, his concentration and behaviour are much better and he is far less likely to alienate others by the things he says. Thank you."
Parent in Surrey

"It is always a pleasure talking to Lu and Shelley - we think they are superstars!"
C & C, Ottawa

"We started an informal intervention for our 18 month old last week, Zack. Lu came for an observation around a month ago. This was followed by Shelley spending two days with our family last week. Our 18 month old had three signs and plenty of motivation and social intent, but no requests for items or people. He had a few unintelligible requests for activities and just sounds or unintelligible words for when he labels things. We have done our research. As professionals in the field of child development and with ASD and ADHD in our extended family, we know that it is better to act earlier rather than later. We didn’t want a heavy or burdensome programme for reasons of time, of finance and also of emotion. Admitting there may be a problem is actually very difficult. Last week was extremely draining emotionally in this capacity. We know that prevention is necessary as there is no firm cure and we can’t take the risk of not intervening and waiting another six months as our GP and Paediatrician told us. Shelley came to the farm with us, came swimming with us, to the park and to granny and grandpa’s home with us. She did day to day life with us such as bath time and bed time. The first day Shelley watched what life was like for me, balancing home, children, marriage and work. Life is hectic. The second day we swapped roles and she put recommendations in acting as I would and then supported me to implement it. She is coming back on Thursday to see how we are getting on and she is returning with a new schedule for me after going away to analyse it these last few days. We are absolutely thrilled with Zack’s progress already. His Gymboree teachers commented on his language ‘explosion’. His aunty, who does not know that we are running this intervention, commented on how much Zack is talking this week. I am confident that within a few months, Zack will not have a spiky developmental profile and it looks as though he will have even more skills than his peers at this rate. This is fun and I am so grateful to Shelley, Lu and Ruth who, together, have created the ‘perfect programme’ for us."
Luke, Louise, Lyndsay and Zack, Surrey, England

"This week I have been feeling very defeated with my son changing campuses at school. At the end of my call with Shelley I was filled with hope again. That is why I love our calls. Not simply because of the work with my son, but because Shelley always helps me to see a way forward. "
Gem, Brisbane

"I have had previous counselling for over two years but left because of no progress. I am finding the experience with Liz different in a very positive way. After just four sessions I am seeing great progress."
M, London

"The observation and assessment period that NETwork complete at the beginning is difficult to understand at the outset, but it turns out that it is an intricate process that [does] indeed find the issues to work on and subsequently address and resolve."
Mum, Quebec

"Dillan had significant behavioural issues and received a very late diagnosis of NVLD when he was 9 years old. This diagnosis did little to help our family. Louise quickly and efficiently set up a programme for our teenage son which rapidly identified his strengths and weaknesses. Shelley taught us and his teachers how to best address these, including language deficits which had previously remained unrecognised, Louise’s team worked within our budget, working hours and extensive travel commitments, working closely with school and our local authority to ensure everybody was on board and funding accessed. At times it felt as though Louise was coordinating a small army. Additional support of parent-counselling through Louise’s team proved invaluable, even though we were originally a little sceptical. It most likely made the difference between success and failure in our ability as parents to sustain a positive family unit whilst implementing the programme. We worked with NETwork Interventions for just under one year."
Dr Edwards, North London

"We would like to say a massive thank you for your hard work during the 2 day assessment. We are so grateful and highly impressed with your level of knowledge, confidence, professionalism as well as the kindness and respect shown to our family. Now, we really believe there is light at the end of the tunnel."
Monica, UK

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