Family-Centred Functional Therapy for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health (East Africa)


In this paper we describe the development and initial evaluation of a family-centred functional approach to therapy for young children with cerebral palsy. The family-centred functional therapy approach is based on theoretical concepts from family-centred service and a systems approach to motor development. Principles of this approach include an emphasis on functional performance, and providing therapy when movement behaviors are amenable to change. Therapy focuses on identifying and changing performance constraints in the task, the child or the environment. Four initial studies were completed to develop and evaluate the feasibility of the family-centred functional therapy approach. Results indicate that children receiving this approach improve in functional performance over the course of intervention. Development of the therapy approach needs to continue to enable therapists to develop methods to identify a broader range of factors that enable or constrain task performance. Further development of specific therapeutic strategies is also required, particularly strategies that focus on changing the task or the environment around the child as a means to improve performance.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Physical & Occupational Therapy In Pediatrics