Physical · Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy · Profile

What is it?

Cerebral palsy is a permanent physical condition that affects a person’s ability to move and balance.

What causes it?

It is caused by an injury to the brain, usually before birth. Its effect can be as mild as just a weakness in one hand ranging to almost complete lack of movement.


Cerebral Palsy is diagnosed in approximately 1 in 500 births.

Medical Considerations

The type of cerebral palsy that occurs depends on the part of the brain that is affected.

Spastic cerebral palsy

Movements of an affected arm or leg are stiff and jerky. Some muscles may become permanently shortened and stiff. There are different words that are used to describe the type of types of spastic cerebral palsy. For example:

Athetoid or dyskinetic cerebral palsy:

People with this type of cerebral palsy may have slow, writhing movements of the hands, arms, feet, or legs while some have sudden muscle spasms.

Ataxic cerebral palsy:

People with ataxic cerebral palsy have difficulties with balance and fine movement. This can mean loss of balance, being unsteady when walking or undertaking fine motor tasks.

Mixed cerebral palsy:

People with mixed cerebral palsy have a combination of two or three of the above types.


Movements can be unpredictable, muscles can be stiff or tight and in some cases people can have shaky movements or tremors. People with cerebral palsy may have seizures and other impairments affecting speech, vision, hearing and/or intellect.


Students with Cerebral Palsy may need some physical modifications in the classroom and technological support to provide alternatives to writing.

Further Information

Cerebral Palsy Australia

Cerebral Palsy · Educational

Lesson Preparation & Materials

Teaching Strategies

Feedback & Assessment

Cerebral Palsy · Pastoral

Classroom Management

Peers & SLSOs


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