Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is the most common disability in childhood. It is a permanent physical condition that affects muscle control. Managing cerebral palsy involves a team approach with parents, therapists, doctors, nurses and teachers all contributing.

The image is a still from a Cerebral Palsy Society NZ video.

Cerebral palsy is a permanent physical condition that affects muscle control. It is the most common physical disability in childhood.

See some videos featuring Cerebral Palsy Youth Alliance members talk about the Freedoms Project. They give personal examples of the Freedom they are speaking about - the Freedoms are about individual rights, human rights and the equitable treatment that all people deserve. 

Nobody has a longer relationship with a family member with a disability than their sibling. Watch Parent to Parent's videos of siblings telling their stories and find out about some sibling support groups. 

If you receive news that your child has special needs, it can be distressing. Remember, there are services available when you want or need help.

When your child is diagnosed with a chronic illness or disability, coping is an ongoing process. Everybody copes in a different way. Seek support when you need it.

If your child has a long-term disability, a needs assessment is the first step towards getting support or services for your child and family.

Financial support may be available because of your child's special needs. 

Many parents think about using complementary or alternative medicine approaches for their children. There are some important things to think about using these approaches for your child.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for children with cerebral palsy is unproven and has potential hazards - we do not recommend it.

Scientists are developing stem cell therapies for the replacement or repair of damaged tissues such as nerves, muscle and other parts of the body. Doctors and scientists are researching stem cell therapy and looking at the best ways to use stem cells in cerebral palsy.  

Information about the use of diazepam for painful muscle spasm and stiffness.

Information about the use of baclofen for severe muscle spasm (spasticity). This may be due to cerebral palsy or other conditions that affect the brain or spinal cord.

Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) is a permanent neurosurgical operation. SDR reduces spasticity (stiffness) in the legs of tamariki/children with cerebral palsy. 

Tube feeding generally involves delivering a liquid feed through the nose (nasal tube) or stomach (gastrostomy tube). Tube feeding helps your child to meet their nutritional needs when they are not able to eat or drink enough by mouth.

Your therapist or doctor may use a standardised scale to help you and others understand your child's level of functioning.