A new approach in rehabilitation of children with cerebral palsy

Document Type : Review Articles


1 Lecturer, Academic Member, Department of Physical Education, Zarandieh Branch, Islamic Azad University, Zarandieh, Iran

2 Lecturer, Academic Member, Musculoskeletal Research Center, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

3 Lecturer, Academic Member, Department of Occupational Therapy, Hamedan University of Medical Sciences, Hamedan, Iran



Introduction: Children with cerebral palsy may receive various rehabilitative intervention programs aimed at facilitating their development and improving their functional independence in such areas as movement, self-care, playing, leisure and school activities. Occupational therapists working with children with Cerebral Palsy (CP) employ a variety of therapeutic approaches among which neurodevelopmental treatment approach has been traditionally the most common. Considering the expansion of family-centered therapy approaches, the importance of obligation to the International Classification of Functioning, Disabilities and Health principles (ICF, WHO, 2001), limitations of current therapy approaches and recent advances from dynamic systems theory, there is an urgent need to develop a new approach in occupational therapy at the present time. The aims of this study were to present a brief description of CP with an emphasis on the role of occupational therapy in it and to explore the benefits of family-centered approach, dynamic systems theory and family-centered functional therapy in the rehabilitation process of children with cerebral palsy.Materials and Methods: In this study, a comprehensive review of the literature published from 1966 to 2011 was conducted via PubMed, Scopus, ProQuest and Google Scholar data bases. The keywords used in search were “cerebral palsy”, “functional”, “therapy”, “family-centered”. All articles were initially evaluated according to predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria and then selected article were reviewed.Results: Of 128 articles found, 22 articles met the inclusion and exclusion criteria and were considered as appropriate for this study.Conclusion: Family-centered functional therapy, which combines theoretical principles of occupational therapy, family centered approach and dynamic systems theory of motor development, is an optimal response to  developmental needs of children with cerebral palsy. However, the efficacy of this approach has not been proven empirically.Keywords: Cerebral palsy, Family centered functional therapy, Dynamic systems theory