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How Does CP Affect School Life?

Most children will hopefully make it through primary school and high school without great problems – it’s simply a part of growing up. But for children with cerebral palsy, special planning is required to ensure they are guided through the educational system and into adulthood successfully.

Because of their unique situations, children with cerebral palsy may need additional help to participate in every day play and learning at home, nursery and school. While some children will cope well in mainstream schooling, others may benefit more from being in specialised surroundings.

How does cerebral palsy affect school life?

Around two thirds of children with cerebral palsy will suffer with cognitive impairment as a result. This can affect their problem solving, reasoning, learning and adaptive functioning and therefore have a knock-on effect on their school life. Psychological and behavioural disorders often associated with cerebral palsy may also have an effect on the way your child learns at school however the main
aim for every child with cerebral palsy is for them to achieve their maximum potential.

Early Childhood

Nursery school programmes, and playgroup educators should be involved as possible as the focus turns towards preparing your child for education. At this stage parents play a vital role in the child’s development and should aim to work in conjunction with the schools programme. Early intervention could decrease the need for special education services in the future.

Primary School (4-11 Years)

If your child has successfully made it through early years education then they should already have a good head start when entering primary school. Your child’s learning plan should be reviewed and updated annually based on their progress and changing needs.

As a parent you can help the transition by meeting with the school and teachers before your child enrols to discuss methods of teaching and find out about available services.

Each school is different, however it is likely that they will provide adaptive lesson plans, one-to-one support, mainstream classroom involvement or a combination of them all. Ideally your child will have the same access to the same level of education as others in the school in a less restrictive environment.

Secondary School (11-16 Years)

Secondary school can be a daunting, awkward experience for any young adolescent, but for teenagers with cerebral palsy it can be especially difficult.

Depending on individual circumstances, your child will have a comprehensive plan to ensure they are well prepared for adulthood when they leave school.

Your may find your local school has other options for your child such as special or contained classrooms for children that require tailored attention, individualised instruction or technical assistance, even just for a portion of the day.

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