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Fifteen-minute consultation: Modern-day art and science of managing cerebral palsy
  1. Jill Cadwgan1,2,
  2. Jane Goodwin2,
  3. Charlie Fairhurst1
  1. 1 Evelina London Children’s Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust (Kings Health Partners), London, UK
  2. 2 Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jill Cadwgan, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne Ne1 4LP, UK; J.E.Kisler{at}


While there remains limited intervention to address the damage to the developing brain, current multidisciplinary management of cerebral palsy (CP) needs to minimise the impact of secondary musculoskeletal complications. A focus on comorbidities to maximise function for activity and participation by supporting the child and family in their environment is required. Comprehensive clinical guidance was published by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) earlier this year. This article aims to provide a practical clinical approach to the child and family based on:(1) art: empathy, listening and weighing up the clinical picture of the child and family in context; diagnosis, the need for support and space; and care coordination at the right time; and (2) science: the current science in CP care is rapidly expanding in terms of plasticity, pathophysiology, functional assessments and treatments.

  • comm child health
  • general paediatrics
  • multidisciplinary team-care
  • neurodevelopment
  • neurodisability

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  • Contributors JC and CF are clinicians with specialist expertise in the management of cerebral palsy. JC drafted the initial content for this article but has based it on previous publications by CF. JG is an academic psychologist with mixed-methods research experience regarding family adaption to caring for a disabled child, and child, family and health perspectives on the impact of therapeutic interventions in children with cerebral palsy. All authors have contributed to editing successive drafts and agreed the content of the final article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.