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Managing Children with Cerebral Palsy

An online course for physical therapists / physiotherapists

Managing Children with Cerebral Palsy An online course for physical therapists / physiotherapists

This course is available to start and complete at any time on your own schedule.

The course is only available to FULL Physiopedia Plus members.

I am amazed with the high quality of the online courses. All the content of the courses are evidence-based and have excellent videos, articles and guidelines. I really recommend Physiopedia courses!

Course aims

This course aims to align global understanding of Cerebral Palsy. It will provide a framework to develop introductory level principles of the management of children with Cerebral Palsy relevant in all contexts. The global network formed through this course will allow for shared knowledge and experiences to support good health care and better quality of life for children with Cerebral Palsy around the world.

Course summary

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

Course outline

  • 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

Accreditation details

24 PP+ points will be awarded on completion of this course (an additional 4 PP+ points available on completion of an optional assignment).

This course has been accredited by:

  1. South African Society of Physiotherapy (24 CEUs Level 2)
  2. Texas Physical Therapy Association (24 CCUs)
  3. Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (ProCert) (20 CCUs) - Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Accreditation for this course is being sought with:

  1. World Confederation for Physical Therapy

A standard accreditation pack for this course can be provided for submission to other accreditation organisations. To access to this pack please contact

Hours of learning

Completing this course will involve approximately 24 hours of learning activities. These will be delivered in 6 sections that can be completed on a participant’s own schedule, however it is recommended that the course is completed over a 6 week period. There is an optional additional 4 hour activity for participants who wish to submit an assignment for a course distinction.

Target audience

This course is suitable for all Health Care Professionals especially Physiotherapy or Physical Therapy Professionals including clinicians, assistant or students who have a good understanding of the key principles of Physiotherapy but little prior experience in Cerebral Palsy. It will also be of interest to any professionals (e.g. Prosthetists, Orthotists, Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Medical Doctors) motivated to upgrade their knowledge on Cerebral Palsy.

Course practicalities

This course is divided into 6 sections and it is suggested (but not required) that each section be completed over the duration of approximately a week. Please note that no deadlines are applied and this course can be started and completed according to your own schedule. We expect the required elements of each section to take around 4-6 hours depending on your schedule and learning style. Additionally there are many optional resources provided and if you choose to review these the course could take longer to complete.
It’s not going to be easy, we’ll expect you to work hard for your completion certificate and PP+ points! You won’t be sitting back and watching webinars, we’ll expect you to reading tasks, complete quizzes, perform literature searches and other learning activities. You’ll need to reflect on your own experiences and contribute them within the discussion forum, this is where we can learn from each other’s experiences and knowledge from all around the world! At the end of the course, when you have completed all of the required elements, you will be able to download a certificate of completion and 24 PP+ points will be added to your personalised learning dashboard.

Types of learning activity involved

Reading Physiopedia pages, journal articles, book chapters. Watching videos. Attempting quizzes. Participating in an international forum.


Interviews were recorded with 10 clinicians and topic specialists for this course including:

  1. Archie Hinchcliffe, Consultant Physiotherapy Trainer and Cerebral Palsy textbook author
  2. Yvonne Frizzel, Clinician and Clinical Head, Akbar Kare Institute Pakistan
  3. Roelie Wolting, Trainer and Consultant in CBR and Inclusive Development, Enablement
  4. Lurinda Prinsloo, Program Director, Hambisela project
  5. Leon Taylor, Individual with Cerebral Palsy, Paralympian, an ambassador for Cerebral Palsy Sport

Example resources provided

58 resources including book chapters, journal articles, videos, reports such as:

  • Hinchcliffe A. Children with cerebral Palsy: A manual for therapists, parents and community workers. SAGE Publications India; 2007 Feb 6.
  • Finnie NR. Handling the Young Child with Cerebral Palsy at Home. Elsevier Health Sciences; 1997.
  • Shepherd RB. Cerebral palsy in infancy. Elsevier Health Sciences; 2013 Sep 20.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course you will be able to:

  • describe three ways in which damage to the brain influences movement and posture in individuals related to the different classifications and subclassifications of Cerebral Palsy
  • describe their local national prevalence and the global prevalence of Cerebral Palsy
  • describe how the role of a physical therapist fits within the multiple roles included in an ideal interdisciplinary team working with a child with Cerebral Palsy
  • interpret three movement tests to differentiate between normal child development and the development of a child with Cerebral Palsy
  • describe three appropriate assessment measures used to evaluate a child with cerebral palsy
  • explain to a parent or carer four principles of good positioning for a child with Cerebral Palsy
  • explain to a parent or carer two principles of good handling of a child with Cerebral Palsy
  • explain to a parent or carer 3 appropriate approaches for communication with a child with Cerebral Palsy
  • explain to a parent or carer 6 principles for good practice in the feeding of a child with Cerebral Palsy
  • design appropriate positioning and stimulation strategies for use during everyday activities and play, for a particular child with cerebral palsy based on an evaluation of that child’s condition
  • identify six different therapeutic approaches to managing a child with Cerebral Palsy supported by evidence
  • develop three activities that promote communication, movements, social and emotional skills, and learning in a child with cerebral palsy based on an evaluation of that child’s particular condition
  • list four commonly used types of orthotics used in children with cerebral palsy
  • explain four principles underlying orthotic use in children with cerebral palsy
  • develop a treatment plan involving three evidence based specific therapeutic interventions based on an evaluation of a child with Cerebral Palsy
  • describe six challenges faced by an individual with Cerebral Palsy through their lifespan

Requirements to complete this course

In order to complete this course and receive a course completion certificate you will need to:

  1. Be a part of the Physiopedia Plus Community Culture
  2. Complete the pre and post course competency tool
  3. Log as completed all the required reading and video viewing activities
  4. <liActively participate in the course forum discussions
  5. Pass a final quiz with a score of 80% or more
  6. Complete a course evaluation form


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.