• Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills (the ability to move in a coordinated and purposeful way).

    CP is usually caused by brain damage that happens before or during a baby's birth, or during the first 3 to 5 years of a child's life. This brain damage can also  lead to other health issues, including vision, hearing, and speech problems; and learning disabilities.

    Physiotherapy & Cerebral Palsy

    Physiotherapy (PT) is an important part of managing CP. It usually starts soon after diagnosis and continues as long as the child still has needs.

    Generally the goals of physiotherapy are to:

    • Improve a child’s independence by improving their mobility.
    • Strengthen muscles.
    • Prevent joints from becoming tight or permanently bent (contracted).

    As part of a child's physiotherapy, parents may be taught ways to keep their child's muscles strong and joints flexible. Physiotherapists may work with parents on the following activities:  

    • Exercise and strengthen the child's limbs using play activities.
    • Set aside times for active physical play with other members of the family or friends.

    Physiotherapy also may include the use of:

    • Special positions, exercises, and cushions to help keep a child in a more natural and
      comfortable position.
    • Braces, casts, and splints to help straighten and support the child's joints. These
      devices also may help manage uncontrolled limb movements.
    • Scooters, wheelchairs, and other devices for increased mobility.