Cerebral palsy affects each child differently.
Children with cerebral palsy experience disorders of movement, but may also have difficulties which can influence:
- Vision / Hearing
- Eating and swallowing
Such difficulties can range from mild to severe and may affect their ability to function at home and at school.
Types of cerebral palsy
The child's ability to control movement and posture may be affected by:
- Spasticity - tightness of muscles restricting movement
- Hypotonia - floppiness of muscles which cause difficulties moving
- Athetosis - almost constant involuntary movements which the child finds difficult to control
- Ataxia - jerky movements making co-ordinated movement difficult
These effect the distribution throughout the child’s body:
- Hemiplegia - primarily affects one side of the body
- Diplegia - mainly affects legs with some involvement of the arms
- Quadriplegia - affects the whole body
Occupational therapists can help with functionally related issues
Occupational therapy is aimed at helping the child to achieve or maintain their maximum level of independence and to develop practical life skills so that the child can participate to his/her full potential in the home & classroom environment.
We can help with:
- Moving safely
- Sustaining posture e.g. sitting for table top activities
- Fine motor skills e.g. handwriting
- Gross motor skills e.g. moving from one position to another or balance skills
- Organisation, planning & sequencing
- Confidence, self esteem & social skills
- Use of technology
- Self-care skills such as feeding self or getting dressed
Assessment & treatment
Following referral and discussion with the child, parents/carers and teachers, the following specialist assessments & treatments may be offered:
- Developmental skills
- Self-care skills
- Independent living skills (young adults)
- Fine and gross motor skills
- Visual perception
- Sensory processing
- The need for specialist equipment and adaptations
Occupational therapists use standardised assessments, observation and analysis of the child’s everyday activities in his/her environment.
Occupational therapists identify how the child’s strengths and difficulties affect performance at home and school and decide whether intervention is required.
Any child aged 0-16 years, presenting with the difficulties mentioned, who attends nursery or school in Camden, can be referred.
Referral to the occupational therapy department can be made to:
Head occupational therapist
Lower ground floor
The Royal Free Hospital
Telephone: 020 7830 2535
Once a referral is accepted the child will be placed on our waiting list and the referrer will receive an acknowledgement letter.
The department is open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday