Hemiplegia is a form of Cerebral Palsy, caused by a brain injury that results in a varying degree of weakness, stiffness (spasticity) and lack of control in one side of the body. The definition comes from the Greek word 'hemi' meaning half.
Hemiplegia is caused by injury to parts of the brain that control movements of the limbs, body, face, etc. This injury may happen before, during, or soon after birth.
We also talk about a right or left hemiplegia, depending on the side affected. Generally, injury to the left side of the brain will cause a right hemiplegia and injury to the right side a left hemiplegia. Hemiplegia is life long and non-progressive.
- Children's Hemiplegia and Stroke Association - Hemiplegia which focuses on the impact on Children and their families, containing lots of information, advice and support.
- Newcastle University: Hemiplegia Research - Fun 'n' Games This website gives ideas for games and toys that can be used to practise movements that children with hemiplegia find difficult, providing a fun way to get the two hands busy working together.
- contact - Hemiplegia support Contact is a charity providing support and information to people with hemiplegia and their families in the UK
- HemiChat is a parent led UK Charity built on support relating to babies, children and young adults living with Hemiplegia
Developmental Coordination Disorder (often called Dyspraxia or DCD)
DCD is a neuro-developmental condition that affects physical coordination. It causes a child to perform less well than expected in daily activities for their age, and appear to move clumsily.
Around 5% of school aged children are thought to be affected, 75% of those diagnosed will be boys. This does not mean that DCD necessarily affects boys more than girls, but that it is better spotted in boys. The condition may run in families, but can also appear where no family history is evident.
DCD is a condition that affects movement and coordination in children and adults. It is generally not diagnosed until a child is six and is a lifelong condition. The difficulties experienced by people with DCD may differ over the course of their life and many people learn to manage it.
DCD is diagnosed by a Paediatrician, usually in consultation with an Occupational Therapist, who will complete standardised assessments. DCD is a separate condition but can exist alongside other conditions such as Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
Problems can include:
- Movement. Fine and gross motor coordination and dexterity can be impacted and physical skills are more effortful to learn and retain.
- Organisation and Planning. This affects a person's body, thoughts, routines and equipment use.
- Visual Perception. This impacts how the brain interprets visual information and can cause problems with school work.
- Speech. Verbal Dyspraxia affects the way a person produces speech. It may be diagnosed separately to general DCD.
What you might see
Your child has difficulties with movement and may experience difficulties with all or some of the following:
- Self-Care: washing hair effectively; difficulties doing up buttons, laces and zips; trouble using a knife and fork together; wiping after toileting; putting clothes on the right way round
- Tool Use: scissors; cutlery; sports equipment; toothbrush
- Handwriting and drawing: Both neatness and speed, although girls often master this skill well
- Organisation and planning: laying out school work correctly; orientating clothing; following routines
- Play: construction toys and crafts
- Sports and Physical play: learning to ride a bike; ball / racket games; outdoor equipment
- Learning new motor tasks
As your child grows they may experience their difficulties change, often with tool use and organising themselves becoming more of a problem than when they were younger.
What should you do if you are worried your child may have DCD
Talk to your school and find out if they have any concerns about your child. Talk to your GP to discuss a referral to a Paediatrician to explore the issues your child is experiencing further.
- Dyspraxia Foundation is committed to making the teaching and medical professions more aware of dyspraxia; and to spread understanding of how those who have the condition can be helped.
- CanChild - Diagnoses is a research centre dedicated to generating knowledge & transforming lives of children and youth with developmental conditions and their families.
Hypermobility is the term used to describe the ability to move joints beyond the normal range of movement. Joint hypermobility is common in the general population. It may be present in just a few joints or it may be widespread. It is most common in childhood and adolescence, in females, and Asian and Afro-Caribbean races. It tends to lessen with age.
In many people joint hypermobility is of no medical consequence and commonly does not give rise to symptoms. Hypermobility can even be considered an advantage, for example athletes, gymnasts, dancers and musicians might specifically be selected because of their extra range of movement.
We offer training for education staff on hypermobility which is run regularly throughout the year. Please contact the department on 01782 427 450 for details.
Hypermobility Syndromes Association - Living with hypermobility syndrome provides information on a whole range of aspects of living with hypermobility, including explanations of how systems might be affected, and what can be done to help manage the symptoms.