Best practice tips for cerebral palsy

Best practice tips are strategies that have been evaluated in other settings, target a relevant factor (such as a teaching style that lowers student anxiety), or is considered best practice by experts in the field.

Adjust the expectations

Consider providing different ways to get information and show learning. For example, students who have trouble with writing can be assessed using computers or tablets. Other options include providing tests with large print texts, allowing the student to use finger pointing, or encouraging the student to say the answers.

Make eye contact at the student's level

Think about how to have good eye contact for students who may sit at a lower height (for example, in a wheelchair). This may involve kneeling down or sitting on a chair when you communicate.

Create plenty of space for movement

Consider whether the physical space can be rearranged and check that pathways are free. This may mean checking if pathways are wide enough for a student to easily navigate and that there are no loose objects on the floor.

Consider seating position and duration

Some students might need extra help to support their posture or physical comfort in the classroom. Bean bags or pillows may help, sometimes the student may need to change position regularly or stand.

This may help with pain management, or particular tasks like handwriting.

It is important that you speak with the student and their parents or carers about how you can assist the student to optimise their levels of comfort for classroom participation and engagement.

Consider also talking with any allied health professionals working with the student about the best seating position for them.  

For some students, a seating aid, postural support or mobility aid may be required. Such devices are permitted for therapeutic purposes, not for managing behaviour.

Use of these devices must be prescribed by an allied health professional. Their use in the school must be planned in consultation with student and their parent/carer and only used in accordance with that plan.