Cerebral Palsy

Adrianna Duva

What is Cerebral Palsy?

  • A group of disorders affecting movement and posture which causes activity limitation.
  • Damage in the developing brain during the prenatal, perinatal, or postnatal period.
  • Permanent

(Moreno-De-Luca, Ledbetter, & Martin, 2012) (Proposed, 2005, p. 571).

30-60% percent of children with cerebral palsy also have intellectual disabilities (Moreno-De-Luca et al. 2012).


Can occur in isolation or as a combination. Most common:

  • birth asphyxia
  • maternal fever during labor
  • prematurity/ low birth weight
  • multiple gestations
  • placental pathology
  • Unknown (most cases)

(Moreno-De-Luca et al. 2012).

Half of children with cerebral palsy struggle with communication disorders (Pennington et al. 2010)

Underlying Language Implications

Depictions of cerebral palsy are often fixated on the motor impairments, when in fact the disorder involves difficulties with..

(Rosenbaum et al. 2007)

Example: Dysarthria

Common for children with cerebral palsy. This is because certain motor impairment affects the power and coordination of the muscles through the vocal tract, which affects respiration, phonation and speech sound articulation.

(Rosenbaum et al. 2007)

Targets for Intervention (Case-by-Case Situation)

  • Breath control
  • Slowing speech rate
  • Increasing respiratory effort and volume control
  • Use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)- for nonverbal clients (ex. picture charts)

(Cockerill et al. 2014) (Pennington et al. 2010)
Speech therapy


This is an example of what speech therapy might look like for a child with cerebral palsy.


Cockerill, H., Elbourne, D., Allen, E., Scrutton, D., Will, E., McNee, A., & ... Baird, G. (2014). Speech, communication and use of augmentative communication in young people with cerebral palsy: The SH& PE population study. Child: Care, Health & Development, 40(2), 149-157 9p. doi:10.1111/cch.12066

Moreno-De-Luca, A., Ledbetter, D. H., & Martin, C. L. (2012). Review: Genomic insights into the causes and classification of the cerebral palsies. Lancet Neurology, 11283-292. doi:10.1016/S1474-4422

Pennington, L., Miller, N., et al. (2010) Intensive speech and language therapy for older children with cerebral palsy. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 52, 337–344.

Proposed definition and classification of cerebral palsy, April 2005. (2005). Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 47(8), 571-576 6p.

Rosenbaum, P., Paneth, N., et al. (2007) A report: the definition and classification of cerebral palsy April 2006. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 49 (Suppl. 109), 8–14.