Managing Children with Cerebral Palsy

Managing Children with Cerebral Palsy

An online course for physical therapists / physiotherapists


The World Disability report mentions that of 93 million children between 1-14 years present with a moderate to severe disability and 13 million with a severe disability. In low and middle-income countries, the literature reports a prevalence ranging from 0.4% to 12.7%. It also highlights that children in low and middle-income countries are exposed to multiple risks including poverty, malnutrition, poor health, and unstimulating environment, which can further impair their condition (WHO, 2011).

The ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Department is working in 30 countries in situations of conflict/post conflict and witnesses that the situation of children with Cerebral Palsy merits increased attention and care. Indeed, not only the prevalence is very high but those children and their families often don’t received basic minimal care, which ensures them an acceptable quality of life. For the families this adds an additional burden to an already challenging life (ICRC, Annual Report 2015).

Many professionals around the world neither benefit from any specialized training in paediatrics nor have access to the current literature. The ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Department have identified education in Cerebral Palsy as a priority. Through this course, the ICRC and Physiopedia aim to provide physiotherapists and other health related professionals free access to quality information on managing children with Cerebral Palsy, the ultimate goal being to increase theoretical knowledge as a basis for sound rehabilitation practice.

This course does not intend to discuss or debate on advanced theories, techniques or build on additional advances in research as there are many specialists around the world who already do a great job. The ultimate goal of this course is first of all to provide physiotherapists and other health professionals involved in the management of children with Cerebral Palsy around the world basic knowledge and references, which will further increase their knowledge and most probably their competencies. They will then be in the position to find, read, critically appraise and choose the references and techniques appropriate to their needs and context.

We also hope that the information shared will prevent physiotherapy interventions too far away from evidence based practice or even malpractice. Indeed, children with Cerebral Palsy should not cry during treatment, be systematically placed under electrophysical agents or benefit merely from passive or active range of movement. Mothers should not walk for hours to get the information and hope that their children will be “cured”.

Last but not least, we hope again to bridge the gap between professionals from low and high income countries and therefore enlarge the community of practice in the field of Cerebral Palsy for the benefit of all, children, families and professionals. For clinicians working in under resourced regions the magnitude of this problem is self evident, a paradigm shift in response to the need is essential to begin to give children with Cerebral Palsy a meaningful life.

“Children are a quality of life ... when our children are happy, then we are better as human beings." Whoopi Goldberg


  • Section one – Understanding Cerebral Palsy
  • Section two – Child development and evaluation
  • Section three – Positioning and handling
  • Section four – Communication, feeding and into adulthood
  • Section five – Everyday activities and vocational training
  • Section six – Specific therapeutic interventions


There were relevant, recent resources to back up the course information. Consider the course both a fantastic refresher and update. I particularly enjoyed the more visual aspects of the course as I find it far easier to learn visually.
I thought the layout of the course was fantastic, the information was grouped into areas that made sense and flowed easily into the next section's topics. I really enjoyed that there were a lot of different kinds of resources available, from videos to discussion forums and articles. It really helped with my learning.
The course gave me a new insight and I am very eager to apply all of these in my practise and challenge myself to give all my clients, the best quality of life. This course was a door to all my questions and doubts. I have learnt so much and look forward to learning even more.
I have got all the information about a holistic view on CP management in one course. This is not very common. The idea of a multi discipline and a multi level learning was very helpful. The wonderful videos were very educational.
I enjoyed everything on the course but my best elements were the ones not taught to us in school such as communication, feeding, transition to adulthood, employment, orthoses, specific intervention.
I particularly appreciated the detail surrounding all the aspects of cerebral palsy that need assessing and treating. It was very detailed and explained in the best way possible, making it easy for anyone to understand and explain to others. It covered all the bases and even helped with great ideas for future treatment.