What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy is a long-life physical disability that affects movement and posture. It is a non-progressive disorder caused by an injury to the developing brain, either during pregnancy or early after birth. Vista Healthcare offers a range of wonderful supports for those living with Cerebral Palsy. This includes:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Home rehabilitation programs
  • Equipment prescription
  • Exercise Physiology

Over the last 10 years the rate of Cerebral Palsy in Australia has decreased and cases are, broadly speaking, becoming less severe in children. We are highly empathetic clinicians and ensure each client experiences our values of compassion & care when working with Vista Healthcare.

Types of Cerebral Palsy

There are three main types of Cerebral Palsy. These are:

  1. Hemiplegia, in which one side of the body is affected. This could mean just the right arm and/or leg, or the left arm and/or left leg.
  2. Quadriplegia, in which both the arms and the legs are affected; muscles of the trunk, face and mouth can also be affected. In many cases Quadriplegia affects speech as well, and:
  3. Diplegia, in which both legs are affected, with the arms being affected to a lesser extent.

 Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy can symptomise in many ways, typically Vista Healthcare is contacted to help improve:

  • Low muscle tone
  • Delayed development
  • Muscle spasm and stiffness
  • Over-using one side of the body

These symptoms will vary based on the severity and/or the type of Cerebral Palsy that someone is diagnosed with.

For example, someone with Hemiplegia may have weakness in their right arm that makes writing or eating challenging. Someone with Diplegia, conversely, may have more challenges with mobility because their lower limbs are affected.

Mentally disabled woman shows her strength with a dumbbell

Shot of a senior woman in a wheelchair being cared for a nurse

Back view of nurse caregiver support walking with elderly woman outdoor

What Healthcare is Beneficial for Treating CP?

Fortunately, there are many interventions available to support CP, including caring Physiotherapists & Occupational Therapists.

For adults living with Cerebral Palsy, the focus is often on developing physical capacity, which translates to improvements in independence and overall wellbeing. As such, Physiotherapists are primarily addressing a person’s physical characteristics relating to

  • Posture
  • Mobility
  • Coordination
  • Balance
  • Strength output
  • Walking/movement patterns

The role of a Physiotherapist also includes making recommendations for assistive equipment such as specialised footwear, orthotics or mobility aids.

As people with Cerebral Palsy get older, their care program often includes ongoing Physiotherapy for arthritic and muscle-related pain management.  Physiotherapists are also central to:

  • Assessing falls risk (and providing education and support around reducing falls)
  • Managing declines in mobility and balance

These are all important elements to general health and wellbeing. The World Health Organisation guidelines outline a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week. As Physiotherapists, we want to support everyone to be able to do this to reduce cardiovascular risk, weight gain and other related medical issues.

For adults with Cerebral Palsy, a Physiotherapist can play a significant role.

A Vista Healthcare Case Study on Treating Cerebral Palsy


Vista Healthcare has been providing Physiotherapy support to a 33-year-old man with Diplegia. His goal was to maintain his current mobility so he can safely access public transport to undertake his normal activities (including full-time work and part-time study).


We conducted an initial assessment to get a comprehensive understanding of the client’s situation, the tests we used were a gait analysis, a six-minute walk test and a sit to stand test.

The results indicated that, while he is currently able to mobilise independently with a mobility aid, he is experiencing declines in lower limb strength and subsequent tolerance for exercise.

Therapy Delivered

We devised a personalised rehabilitation program for him, which included:

  • A range of stretches
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Incremental gait retraining
  • An endurance exercise program
  • Referral to an Exercise Physiologist
  • Referral to a Podiatrist for orthotics
  • Referral to a Dietician for weight loss
  • Education around mobility aids for independent walking (including exploring the option of a wheelchair)

A wheelchair can be hard to consider for someone who is quite young. However, it can bring great benefits, and in this case can enable the client to visit theme parks and undertake other activities he enjoys.


This client is having weekly one-hour sessions and has made meaningful progress. He is able to walk longer distances now (with his mobility aid) and has reported that walking feels easier and less painful.


This is a great outcome and with the multidisciplinary approach Vista has recommended, we have taken the first steps to living our best lives together.

Elderly Senior Caucasian Woman Indoors Holding Coffee or Tea in a Mug and Looking Out the Window Enjoying the View in the Summer

Beautiful 90 Plus Year-Old Elderly Senior Caucasian Woman Sitting Outdoors in Shade in the the Summer

A young black disabled woman with a wheelchair and a bright colored sweater and her Asian friend walk around the city.

Cerebral Palsy Treatment FAQ

  • Is Vista Healthcare a neuro-physiotherapist?

    Yes, neuro-physiotherapist is a term to suggest a physio is experienced treating neurological conditions, Vista Healthcare is well-versed with the condition.

    All of Vista Healthcare’s Physiotherapists are Australian and registered with the APA and AHPRA appropriately.

    We are also committed to ongoing professional development and training. This ensures that the treatments we provide are always up-to-date, evidence-based, and in keeping with best practice.

  • Who is an appropriate CP referral for Vista Healthcare?

    We work with children aged 7-18 and adults over 18 living with a physical and/or neurological condition.

    We do not provide early intervention support for children aged 0-7, so in these cases we refer the family on to a suitable practitioner.

    In the event that we cannot meet the goals of any of our patients, we will communicate this to them and refer them to other specialist providers wherever suitable.

  • How is Cerebral Palsy in babies and toddlers recognisable?

    Babies with Cerebral Palsy typically have low muscle tone. This can present as:

    • The baby being overly-floppy
    • The baby having difficulty with head control, or with lifting their head when lying or sitting
    • Having muscle spasms

    Depending on the type of Cerebral Palsy, children may also show signs of:

    • Developmental delays (not meeting key milestones)
    • Poor reflexes
    • Difficulty swallowing or feeding

    For toddlers, the symptoms will also vary depending upon the type of cerebral palsy involved. Developmental delays are often the reason why children are investigated for Cerebral Palsy, the primary indicators are difficulty with walking or speech.

  • What are the secondary effects of Cerebral Palsy?

    While Cerebral Palsy is not a degenerative disorder, it can have secondary effects that impact the body in different ways. This includes:

    • Musculoskeletal damage (such as arthritis)
    • Reduced cardiovascular fitness
    • Chronic pain
    • Weight gain (from reduced mobility)

Take the Next Step with Vista Healthcare

Call Vista Healthcare today and schedule an initial assessment. Vista Healthcare provides professional Physiotherapy & Occupational Therapy to the community. Please note about our services:

  • We are home-visiting clinicians
  • We are NDIS registered
  • We service Sydney & the Blue Mountains
  • We are highly compassionate and dedicated to our clients

Our clinicians are very experienced in supporting people who are living with Cerebral Palsy. In addition to excellent clinical skills, we pride ourselves on having excellent communication skills and being empathetic.

Vista Healthcare is ready to support you by offering professional services with compassion and care. Please use our contact page for any questions you may have.