doctor examining a toddler

Care Plan

A plan of care is a road map that will improve a child’s physical, developmental and psychological development. The care plan’s scope involves the input of several professionals that work to assess a child’s abilities and limitations, and devise treatments and accommodations that help expand a child’s capabilities.

Many individuals come to the aid of a family touched by cerebral palsy. Since every child’s condition and circumstances are unique, their needs will be, as well. The types of services a family can afford or need – and the level of support they receive – depends upon many factors.

Access to health care facilities, health insurance, adequate shelter, financial stability, government assistance, community support, effective education plans, and funding can be extremely beneficial. The care plan outlines various aspects a parent may want to explore while managing their child’s journey with cerebral palsy.

Click on the links contained in the outline for more details.

The Care Plan Process for Managing Cerebral Palsy

MyChild has developed the MyChild Care Plan Process At-A-Glance to provide parents with an outline to organize their efforts to care for their child.

After receiving a cerebral palsy diagnosis, many parents have informed MyChild that they are confused as to who to see and how to care for their child. The MyChild Care Plan Process At-A-Glance provides an overview of the process from diagnosis to management of care.

This process is not meant to be all-inclusive. It is to present a guide which MyChild™ hopes will provide insight into the many aspects of care, whether at home, at the doctor’s office, during education evaluations, or simply for planning for the future.

Each section of the MyChild™ Care Plan Process At-A-Glance can be explained in detail by clicking on the section heading.

Components of the care plan process include:

These components are outlined below.

Care Team For Management

Many individuals come to the assistance of a family touched by cerebral palsy. Since every child’s condition and circumstances are unique, their needs will be as well.

The types of services a family can afford and the level of support they receive depend upon many factors. Often the family dynamics play an important role.

Being aware of the support systems that are available is the first line of defense in obtaining assistance. Qualifying, applying and following program guidelines are additional steps often required.

Following, MyChild provides an overview of the types of services and the providers that are available, in hopes of creating awareness of providers which may assist parents in caring for their child.

The following is a list of some of the types of providers that may be of assistance. This is not intended to be a fully comprehensive list, but instead to provide a few of the types of providers the parents may deploy for assistance in managing their child’s condition during the child’s life span. Gaining knowledge of available resources is a powerful tool towards providing the care the family needs and the child deserves.

The service teams include:

To learn more about these teams, visit Care Team For Managing Cerebral Palsy.

The Diagnosis

Parents or legal guardians work closely with the child’s primary care physician to obtain a formal diagnosis. The diagnosis will attempt to discover the cause and form of cerebral palsy. During the diagnosis process, many screens and tests provide relevant information to confirm or rule-out a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. In addition, children may have associative conditions or co-mitigating factors that may also be diagnosed during this process.

For efficient retrieval, these should be stored in a child’s home health records. You will refer to these documents often for many different purposes.

In particular, the following documents are extremely useful:

Document Cause of Cerebral Palsy

  • Radiological findings of brain injury or abnormality – PVL, IVH, HIE, Cerebral Dysgenesis
  • Cause of brain damage or abnormality – prematurity, low birth weight, lack of oxygen, malformation, shaken baby, accident, medical malpractice, infection, prematurity, etc.
  • Timing of brain damage – prenatal, perinatal, postnatal, acquired, congenital, or genetic predisposition

To learn more, visit Cause of Cerebral Palsy.

Document Form of Cerebral Palsy

  • Severity – mild, moderate, severe, and no CP
  • Extent – plegia or paresis
  • Location/anatomical distribution – mono, di, hemi, para, tri, tetra, quad, and penta
  • Gross Motor Function Classification Level – Level I, Level II, Level III, and Level IV

To learn more, visit Form of Cerebral Palsy.

Obtain Medical Records

  • Fill out The Cerebral Palsy Risk Factor Checklist, discuss with your child’s doctor, and maintain a copy in your child’s health records.
  • Fill out The Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis Checklist as you receive diagnosis and test results, and maintain a copy in your child’s health records.
  • Obtain medical records from your child’s various doctors for diagnosis, lab results, test results, specialist recommendations, and immunization records, and keep a copy in your child’s health records. (Note, these results are usually provided free at the time the doctor discloses the information to the parents, however asking for medical records after the fact may require a formal written request and a nominal cost for record retrieval.)
  • File medical records obtained in your child’s health records for future reference. These documents help a parent to document their child’s care, but may also be retrieved when reviewing your child’s condition with other doctors, for tax preparation, for bill payments, creating trusts, financial planning, caregiving, government benefit applications, or education eligibility consideration.

To learn more, visit Record Keeping.

To learn more about the diagnosis process, visit Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy.

The Evaluation

Upon diagnosis, an orthopedic surgeon will likely define the extent, location and severity of the child’s motor impairment. The child’s primary care physician will document any associative conditions or co-mitigating factors. Some associative conditions and co-mitigating factors may develop over the child’s lifespan and can be added to this plan. A child with special needs is urged to begin early intervention.

During early intervention and school evaluations the child’s activities of daily living will be evaluated for services and adaptive device consideration. Family dynamics and socio-economic status will be assessed by school, government agencies or specialists to assist with services and possible funding and support. Educational plans will be made during the child’s school years in the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process.

Evaluation includes:

Mobility/Motor Impairment Evaluation

  • Abnormal muscle tone
  • Movement coordination and control difficulties
  • Reflex irregularity
  • Abnormal posture
  • Abnormal balance
  • Gross motor dysfunction
  • Fine motor dysfunction
  • Oral motor dysfunction (Feeding, swallowing, respiratory, speech and vocal)

To learn more visit Mobility.

Associative Conditions and Co-Mitigating Factors Assessment

To learn more about associative conditions and co-mitigating factors, visit Associative Conditions.

  • Bathing
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Eating
  • Food preparation
  • Grooming
  • Housekeeping
  • Leisure
  • Mobility
  • Personal hygiene
  • Recreation
  • Self-care
  • Shopping
  • Transferring (bed, chair, toiletry, etc)
  • Walking
  • Work

Family Dynamics and Socio-Economic Status Assessment

  • Access to health care
  • Access to health insurance
  • Socio-economic situation (financial, educational, parental status, language barriers)
  • Caretaking capacity
  • Support network
  • Housing situation
  • Transportation situation
  • Extenuating circumstances

To learn more about care at home, visit Home-Based Assistance.

Education Assessments

  • Academic Performance
  • Adaptive Delay or Impairment
  • Capacity to Learn/Learning Impairments
  • Communication Level
  • Emotional Status
  • Health
  • Intelligence
  • Motor Abilities
  • Social Ability
  • Vision and Hearing

To learn more about evaluation, visit Education Assessments.

The Goal

The child’s care team will provide parents with health care goals. Each provider may have certain goals that relate to particular treatment objectives. Some may be short-term goals, while others are long-term. School administrators may concentrate on educational goals, while an orthopedic surgeon may be more interested in mobility goals. Home care providers may concentrate on skill sets required to obtain self-care, independence and quality of life. In general, the top ten long-term goals for an individual with cerebral palsy include:

Top Ten Goals

To learn more about goals, visit The Goals.

Most children with cerebral palsy can live long, happy, quality lives. Admittedly, their care may involve more visits to the doctor, require therapy or medications, and perhaps surgery. The severity level, extent and location of impairment, pain levels and ability to function all play a significant role in a person’s life span. In addition, managing cerebral palsy involves proper management of the child’s primary and associative conditions. Co-mitigating factors like chocking as a result of oral motor dysfunction, weight loss as a result of improper nutrient levels, or complications from seizures are all co-mitigating factors that are emergent and require proper and timely management, or it may put the child at risk for diminished life span.

As is the case with all conditions, acknowledging and managing symptoms will help to minimize risk, maintain quality of life, and optimize life span.

To learn more, visit Life Expectancy of Cerebral Palsy.

The Plan

Once care plan goals are created, they can be categorized in the following ways. These categories were chosen as they pertain to the specific needs of medical treatment, care at home, government assistance, community support and funding, education, or various services which may be required.

Care at Home

To learn more, visit Care at Home.

Medical Care

Six step treatment plan

To learn more, visit Six-Step Treatment Plan for Cerebral Palsy.

Forms of Treatment

To learn more, visit Treatment of Cerebral Palsy.

Government Assistance

To learn more, visit Government Assistance.

Special Education

Types of Special Education Plans

To learn more, visit Special Education.

Special Education Transitions

To learn more, visit Special Education Transitions.

MyChild™ Resources

To learn more, visit MyChild™ Resources.

Community Support and Funding Service

To learn more, visit Community Support and Funding Service.

Professional Service

Transitioning Into Adulthood

To learn more, visit Transitioning Into Adulthood.

Maturing with Cerebral Palsy

To learn more, visit Maturing with Cerebral Palsy.

To learn more about the plan, visit The Plan.

Record Keeping

Medical professionals are only required to keep medical records for an established number of years. After that point, records can either be stored or destroyed. Some opt to keep the records if care is ongoing. It is recommended that parents maintain a home file with the child’s records. Records are useful when setting goals, evaluating progress, communicating with others, preparing tax records, and for applying for aid. They may become essential in estate planning and care in the event a parent passes. Having documents organized in a file can make retrieval more efficient, when and if needed.

  • Ten Benefits of Maintaining a Child’s Health Records
  • Medical Records: Frequently Asked Questions
  • Types of Records to Maintain

To learn more, visit Record Keeping.

  • a couple stares up at their new home

    Government assistance

    Cerebral palsy can be expensive to families, especially those lacking adequate insurance benefits or those in low-income situation. Many programs have been developed within the government, at various levels (federal, state, and local), to assist with such needs. The challenge seems to be in understanding what types of programs are available, where to find more information on the programs, how to apply, when to apply, and what to expect during the process.
    Government Assistance »

  • mother and son sitting on the steps looking hopeful

    About MyChild™ resources

    Whether helping an adult with cerebral palsy to locate government assistance to providing a parent with a source of inspiration on a difficult day, MyChild™’s team of knowledgeable and caring call center representatives assemble to answer questions and provide support. Additionally, kits of useful information on a variety of important topics commonly requested – such as therapies and community support, or housing and government assistance – are provided, free of charge.
    MyChild™ Resources »

  • therapist and son enjoying a therapy session

    Community support and funding

    Organizations within the community exist to support and assist individuals with disabilities. Often, it is just a matter of being aware of what resources are in your community and how to contact them. Learn more about community support in your area.
    Community Support and Funding »


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MyChild™ Resources

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MyChild™ Call Center Assistance

Do you have questions about anything related to a child’s cerebral palsy? Our call center representatives have the answer. From simple questions about how to apply for government aid to finding ways to enhance a child’s quality of life or education, MyChild™’s team is available to provide much-needed information, and support.
MyChild™ Call Center Assistance»

MyChild™ Resources

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MyChild™ Online Inquiry

MyChild™ is proud to offer numerous methods by which to answer questions, provide insight and offer support to families. Our online form allows visitors to inquire about informational kits and ask questions or seek support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Use our online inquiry form to express your concerns or thoughts, any time.
MyChild™ Online Inquiry »

MyChild™ Resources

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MyChild™ Resource Kits

Sometimes, it’s helpful to have guideposts to help us navigate situations that are new to us. When these occur, MyChild™ has developed a series of helpful, informative kits to shed light on a diverse variety of popular topics associated with cerebral palsy. The free kits are designed to help individuals manage their condition and maximize future potential.
MyChild™ Resource Kits »

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