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Neurological Conditions

Who do we see?

We work with children and young people with neurological conditions at home, school or in clinic. These are conditions affecting the brain that the child will have throughout their lives. This may impact on their movement and physical ability, learning and communication. Sometimes these children and young people will have a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy, and this can be their only diagnosis or may be one of multiple.

These children and young people will usually have had an MRI scan of their head after birth and/or during childhood which will show some differences in a certain area of their brain. These differences can be caused by genetic changes or following birth complications such as prematurity and/or a birth related injury. For more information about our work with Early Years children, click here.

Conditions are sometimes called ‘long term’ as they will always be present and the brain cannot be physically repaired. Your Physiotherapist can support you with discussing your child’s individual condition as every child is different.


What is muscle tone and how is it managed?

When a child or young person has changes to how their brain is made up, it is likely to affect their muscle tone. It may be higher than usual (meaning their muscles are tight and stiff) or lower than usual (meaning their muscles are weaker and floppy). This can make it difficult for the child or young person to do daily tasks, for example, roll, sit, stand, walk, feed themselves or brush their teeth. Muscle tone can also affect how easy it is for carers to change or transfer a child or young person. Muscle tone can be managed with medication, and regular stretching can help relieve symptoms.

On your child’s clinic letters you may see a GMFCS number. This directly refers to their current ability but please speak to the named Physiotherapist if you have any queries relating to this.

Children with these conditions need to be encouraged to be physically active. The ability to be active will vary, for example, some people may aim to move themselves in their wheelchair or experience floating in water, whilst others may want to be involved in a sport. Sometimes this can be challenging but please speak to your Physiotherapist for advice if needed. For more information about Keeping Healthy click here.



How will the Physiotherapist work with me/my child?

  • Improve or maintain functional ability
  • Work to individual goals/targets which will be set by them and their family, supported by their named Physiotherapist, to be reviewed as required
  • Improve or maintain joint range of movement/muscle length
  • Manage posture
  • Manage impact of growth


What is postural management?

Children and young people who find it hard to move are most at risk of developing body shape changes. This is because they often sit and lie in limited positions. Postural management is important to protect a child’s body shape. If they are not supported correctly, they may develop further issues such as scoliosis (curve of the spine) which can cause pain and reduce their ability to function.

Postural management is a 24 hour approach to manage a CYP in all positions, for example lying, sitting, standing. Your CYPs Physiotherapist will monitor their alignment in all positions and may suggest strategies or request equipment to provide the necessary support.

The specialist equipment may be:

  • Standing frames
  • Sleep systems
  • Therapy wedges
  • Floor sitters
  • Walkers

Seating is also very important for postural management so a CYP with a long term neurological condition may see Wheelchair Services to provide a wheelchair, and Occupational Therapy who will consider whether the CYP needs specialist indoor seating.

Below are some useful links: