Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects movement, posture, reflexes, balance, muscle tone and coordination.

Behaviour Help is a registered NDIS provider.

little kid with cerebral palsy receives muscular therapy to aid movement

Definition of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects movement, posture, reflexes, balance, muscle tone and coordination. This condition is caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the developing brain affects a person’s ability to control their muscles.


Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is caused by abnormal brain development or injury that occurs to the parts of the brain that control movement, coordination and posture. The damage can occur to the brain as it develops before birth, during birth or in the first two years of life. In some cases, the condition is caused by lack of oxygen to child’s brain during birth.

Additionally brain damage leading to Cerebral palsy can happen before birth, within a month after a child’s birth or within the first years of a child’s life when the brain is still developing. Depending on the specific cause, one would be having Congenital Cerebral palsy (brain damage that happened before or during birth) or Acquired Cerebral palsy (brain damage that occurs more than 28 days after birth and associated with an infection (such as meningitis) or head injury).


Types of Cerebral Palsy

  • Spastic cerebral palsy – this means stiff or tight muscles and increased tone which affects the range, accuracy and strength of movement.
  • Athetoid cerebral palsy –this means uncontrolled and involuntary movements.
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy – this means difficulties with balance, coordination, controlling shaky movements and tremors that occur with voluntary movement.
  • Mixed type cerebral palsy – this means a combination of symptoms of more than one type of cerebral palsy.


Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

Symptoms vary depending on the type and severity of the cerebral palsy and may even change over time. Symptoms include:

  • Delays in reaching motor skill milestones (e.g. sitting, rolling or crawling).
  • Delays in speech development and difficulty speaking.
  • Having exaggerated reflexes.
  • Lack of muscle coordination.
  • Uncontrolled body movements.
  • Problems with balance and coordination.
  • Feeding and swallowing difficulties.
  • Preference to use one side of the body to reach for things.
  • Variations in muscle tone i.e. low muscle tone (e.g. being floppy, weak or limp) or increased muscle tone (e.g. being too stiff).
  • Tremors or involuntary movements.


Some other conditions that may occur in association with the cerebral palsy include:

  • Seizure disorders.
  • Intellectual disabilities.
  • Learning difficulties.
  • Bladder and bowel control difficulties.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Hearing impairment.
  • Vision impairment.
  • Speech and language disorders.

Behaviour Help

If you are supporting an individual with this diagnosis, please refer to our services and resources. They aim to help children, adolescents and adults achieve better communication, social, emotional, behavioural and learning outcomes. So whether you are wanting guidance on parenting, teaching, supporting or providing therapy, Behaviour Help is at hand.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list of all the possible causes, symptoms and types but some general information that can be further explored. Based on what you have read if you have any concerns about an individual, please raise them with the individual/s. The caregiver can then raise these concerns with their local doctor who can provide a referral to the relevant professional (e.g. paediatrician, psychologist, psychiatrist, allied health professional and learning specialists) for diagnosis and treatment if appropriate.

Which resources are right for you?


Based on the Taking CHARGE of Rainbow of Emotions Workbook this app helps children of all ages develop emotional regulation skills. The app guides the child to firstly, identify and express their emotion in appropriate ways. Then the child is guided to use emotional management tool/s from the CHARGE tool kit to manage their emotions in a healthy way.

The acronym CHARGE stands for the different categories of emotional management tools – Chat tools, Helpful thinking tools, Amusement tools, Relaxation tools, Good routine tools and Exercise tools.

Behaviour Help App - Using the evidence-based approach of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS), the Behaviour Help web-based app allows people supporting individuals with emotional and behavioural difficulties to complete a Functional Behaviour Analysis and put together a comprehensive Behaviour Support Plan (BSP). The BSP can then be used by everyone interacting with the individual to manage and prevent challenging behaviours and ultimately improve their lives, and the lives of those who support them.


If you want to learn more about emotional and behavioural difficulties then we have a great range of books you can read on your Kindle or order from Amazon.


Personalised and practical one to one help tailored specifically to your family.

Online Courses

Access these online courses anytime online to learn about a range of diagnoses, practical skills and strategies to help develop the individual’s emotional regulation skills. Also learn to utilise the positive behaviour support framework to address anxiety, aggression, ADHD, ASD and ODD.

SEL Educational Videos

Minimise or eliminate the occurrence of challenging behaviours by teaching children of all ages appropriate ways of communicating, interacting, managing their emotions and behaviours.

The SEL curriculum uses video modelling to provide direct, explicit and systematic teaching of the various skills by discussing the importance of the skill, modelling the skill so the child learns what the skill looks like? sounds like? feels like? and learn the skill in staged situations that simulate real life scenarios.


Personalised and practical behaviour therapy tailored specifically to your family.


Webinars discuss a range of practical strategies to guide your child learn positive ways of behaving and managing their emotions.


Attend our practical and interactive workshops to learn about a range of diagnoses, practical skills and strategies to help develop the individual’s emotions, behaviours, social and communication skills in your learning environment.

Ask Dolly

Since you’re here, you probably have questions and concerns. I am Dolly Bhargava, am here to help. I am a NDIS registered behaviour support practitioner and speech pathologist.

I have worked in a number of settings for over 21 years so, how can I help?

Please tell me what is worrying you right now and I will do my best to recommend resources and/or services that will be most useful to you in your situation.

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