Child to Child Approach with Cerebral Palsy

Original Editor - Roelie Wolting

Top Contributors - Michelle Lee, Naomi O'Reilly, Tony Lowe, Laura Ritchie and Roelie Wolting


The information on this page has developed for you from the expert work of Roelie Wolting alongside the Enablement Cerebral Palsy Project and Handicap International Group.

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What is the Child to Child Approach?

Child-to-Child (CtC) is an approach to health promotion and community development that is led by children. It is based on the belief that children can be actively involved in their communities and in solving community problems. CtC projects involve children in activities that interest, challenge and empower them. In so doing, the approach "encourages and enables children to play an active and responsible role in the health and development of themselves, other children, their families and communities".

Here is a brochure on the child to child approach.

The CtC approach to health education was first introduced in 1978 by David Morley, following the Alma Ata Declaration on Primary Health care and in preparation for the International Year of the Child. It was developed as a way for school-aged children to learn about and pass on basic health messages to their peers and younger siblings. Today, it is estimated that more than 250 CtC projects have taken place in more than 70 countries worldwide.

Initially, CtC activities were designed for children in the world’s poorest countries and were focused on primary health care issues such as malaria and diarrhoea. However, by the early 1990s, recognition of the flexibility and appropriateness of the approach for children in other contexts led to the adaptation and implementation of CtC projects in Manchester, UK, and later in London as well. Projects have taken place in primary and secondary schools, after-school clubs and summer play schemes.

Child to child approach including disability issues is implemented and with exciting results. I firmly believe that we can do much more in including children to make inclusion happening in our society.

Children can be very cruel or very kind to a child who is different. Cruelty can be seen in teasing, laughing or even doing physical harm but also by excluding and rejecting children. Often children act like this because they do not understand and do not know how to relate to a child who is different. Child to child approach can be used by schools, by children clubs, by children programmes, by child rehab programmes, and by you.

A six step approach to learning and action

  • Step 1: Choosing the right idea, understanding it well
  • Step 2: Finding out more
  • Step 3: Discussing what we have found out and planning action
  • Step 4: Taking action
  • Step 5: Discussing results of the action
  • Step 6: Doing it better and sustaining the action
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Experiences of the Child to Child Approach

MIEP (Mpika Inclusive Education Project) has enabled children with and without disabilities to mix much more freely and make friends. ‘Children without disabilities no longer call us names the way they used to. We learn and play together − football, netball, athletics − and no one notices the differences between us.’

Implementing the Child to Child Approach

Here are a couple of resources which may help you to implement the child to child approach in your setting: