Managing Children with Cerebral Palsy

This course originally took place as a free open online course in 2016. The course has since been updated and accredited for CEUs/CPD points and is available in Physioplus, it can be started and completed at any time that suits you. It is also available in French. Please note that this course is no longer free to access and is now only available to FULL Physioplus members.

Summary[edit | edit source]

  • Course Type - Open, Online
  • Course Reference - PP08
  • Course Co-ordinators - Barbara Rau, Rachael Lowe
  • Institutions - ICRC and Physiopedia
  • About this course - This online course will develop knowledge of Cerebral Palsy.
  • Who can take part- This course is aimed at Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy professionals, clinicians, students and assistants; other interested health care professionals interested in this subject are more than welcome to participate. 
  • Date of course -  5 September 2016
  • Time commitment - approximately 24 hours over 6 weeks
  • Requirements - You will complete online learning activities, engage with additional resources, take part in the conversation online and complete the course evaluation.
  • Assessment - There will be a final quiz and you will be asked to write a case study on cerebral palsy.
  • Awards - Completion certificate.

Introduction[edit | edit source]

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 specialised 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

Aim[edit | edit source]

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. 

Learning Objectives[edit | edit source]

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
  • interpret three movement tests to differentiate between normal child development and the development of a child with Cerebral Palsy
  • evaluate a child with cerebral palsy using three appropriate assessment measures
  • 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
  • identify six different therapeutic approaches to managing a child with Cerebral Palsy supported by evidence
  • 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
  • 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

Intended Audience[edit | edit source]

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 structure[edit | edit source]

Participants will be required to complete the following tasks each week:

  1. Complete between 2 and 5 reading activities.
  2. Complete a short quiz.
  3. Contribute to the online discussions.

Additionally you will have the option to:

  • Look at additional resources such as videos, case studies, journal articles.

Cost[edit | edit source]

This course is FREE!

Time Commitment[edit | edit source]

This course is 6 weeks long. Participants will be required to devote a minimum of 4 hours per week to the course. These 4 hours can be completed at a time that suits you with in the six weeks of the course, there is no requirement to be online at a specific time.

Language[edit | edit source]

The course will be run in English, although participants will only require basic English skills (reading skills are more important than conversational skills). Participants will be encouraged to be respectful and empathetic to those for whom English is not their first language (e.g. in the discussion forum).

Accreditation, Assessment and Certification[edit | edit source]

On the successful completion of this course each participant will be provided with a Physiopedia Certificate of Completion and PP+ Points (our own Physiopedia Plus points which are equivalent to CPD Points/CEUs). These will be awarded provided you have:

  1. Contributed to the online discussion each week
  2. Completed the pre and post course competency tool
  3. Passed the final course quiz
  4. Submitted a case study on Cerebral Palsy during week 6
  5. Completed a course evaluation form

People Involved In This Course[edit | edit source]

Course Co-ordinators[edit | edit source]

The course coordinators for this course are Barbara Rau from ICRC and Rachael Lowe from Physiopedia. 

Course Facilitators[edit | edit source]

Our course facilitators are all clinicians with a great deal of experience supporting good health care and better quality of life for individuals with Cerebral Palsy. They have been instrumental in creating the course content and will be guiding you through the course and answering your questions in the discussion forum each week.

  • Zeon De Wet, P&O, ICRC
  • Verbena Bottini, PT, ICRC, Afghanistan
  • Yvonne Frizzell, PT, Pakistan
  • Greg Halford, P&O, ICRC, Gaza
  • Lucia Bernhard, PT, ICRC, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Lorena Enebral Perez , PT, ICRC, Afgahnistan
  • Ghassan Husni Ali, P&O, ICRC, Iraq
  • Naomi O'Reilly, PT, Physiopedia, Ireland
  • Estibaliz Garcia, OT, Handicap International, Belgium
  • Lurinda Prinsloo, OT, Cerebral Palsy Association, South Africa
  • Roelie Wolting, PT, Enablement, Netherlands
  • Simon Lalor, P&O, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
  • Maarten Abeel, PT, ICRC

Course Contacts[edit | edit source]

Throughout this course you should email us if you have any problems at all. We would prefer that you let us know about problems or difficulties that you have encountered so that we can provide assistance.

Contact Course Co-ordinator