Marshall Clinical Expert | April 25, 2024 | Physical Therapy

A Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis

Cerebral Palsy: the most common motor disability. A group of disorders that affect a person's ability to move, maintain posture, and balance themselves.

Cerebral Palsy is often caused by damage that has occurred in the brain that affects its overall development. This disruption of development affects the ability to:

  • Control movement

  • Maintain posture

  • Maintain balance

  • Maintain muscle tone

Did you know that:

Nearly 70% of Cerebral Palsy cases are the result of an injury at birth?

Over 1 million people in the U.S. are living with CP?

Approximately 10,000 babies are diagnosed with CP each year?

brain pic

When Cerebral Palsy might appear noticeable:

CP might be recognizable as early as infancy or during the years of preschool and is categorized as a “non-progressive” disorder. Non-progressive essentially means that it will not continue to develop or get worse.

Common abilities affected:

  • Movement

  • Range of Motion

  • Swallowing

  • Vision

  • Intellect/learning

*CP increases the likelihood of seizure activity or one becoming blind or deaf

There are four main types of CP:

1. Spastic: stiffness and difficulty moving (most common type)

  • Hemiplegic: affects one side of the body

  • Diplegic: affects both legs

  • Qudrapelgic: affects all four limbs and the trunk

  • Monoplegia: only one limb is affected

cp stats

2. Dyskenetic/Athetoid: causes uncontrollable movements

3. Ataxic: causes problems with balance and depth perception

4. Mixed: has symptoms of more than one type

How do we treat CP at Marshall Pediatric Therapy?

Marshall's multidisciplinary approach to treatment ensures that there's a comprehensive level of commitment to care. Marshall Pediatric Therapy offers Pediatric Occupational Therapy, Speech-Language Therapy, Physical Therapy, Mental Health Therapy, and a behavior program (Building Blocks Program), for children diagnosed with autism. Together, these disciplines can work together to address all possible concerns. Below you can see how Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech-Language therapy services contribute to what is being addressed. Marshall Pediatric Therapy has successfully treated a wide array of Cerebral Palsy diagnoses, ranging from milder to much more complex conditions. Marshall works with each individual patient and their family to instill confidence along the way.

Occupational Therapy works on:

  • Becoming more aware of one's surroundings (deficits of proprioception)

  • Developing and following a routine

  • Assists with activities of daily living

  • Problem-solving

  • Works on gross motor and fine motor skills

  • Helps to control sensory and emotional needs

Physical Therapy works on:

  • Develops hand-eye coordination

  • Building strength

  • Improving one’s balance

  • Maintaining flexibility

  • Optimizing physical functioning levels (endurance and core alignment)

  • Maximizing independence

Speech-Language Therapy works on:

  • Articulation

  • Pronunciation

  • Stuttering/Fluency

  • Swallowing

  • Chewing

  • Listening

  • Formation of sounds and words

  • Development of language and vocabulary

  • Speech volume (breath support and control)

  • Speech muscles and coordination

What are the common symptoms of CP?

*Note that some symptoms are more obvious than others

  • Seizures

  • Hypertonicity

  • Hypotonicity

  • Rigidity

  • Ataxia lack of balance and coordination

  • Movement

  • Developmental delays

  • Weakness

  • Side preference

  • Walking difficulties

  • Difficulty with fine motor skills

  • Oral issues

  • Excess drooling

  • Poor bone density

  • Speech-language problems

  • Learning difficulties

  • Seizures

  • Emotional and behavioral challenges

  • Vision and hearing impairment

Additional links for:

Botox for CP

Benefits of massage therapy for CP

Cerebral palsy in relation to incontinence

Toe walking for CP:

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital CP Clinic: