How to use the information in Interventions and Therapies

Our appraisal of the research evidence for each intervention is intended to provide one piece of information to people with cerebral palsy, their families and caregivers, and other stakeholders, such as clinicians, service providers and funding bodies.

Decisions about whether to use an intervention are also based on a range of other factors such as:

  1. Values, goals and preferences of the person with cerebral palsy and their families and caregivers
  2. Whether the intervention is suitable for the person with cerebral palsy or family member. Characteristics to consider when deciding whether an intervention is appropriate are:
    • Person’s age
    • Type of cerebral palsy (e.g. hemiplegia, quadriplegia)
    • Type of movement disorder (e.g. spasticity, ataxia)
    • Severity of gross and fine motor disorder
    • Presence and severity of communication difficulties
    • Co-existing issues such as Autism, intellectual disability, vision/hearing impairment, challenging behaviour
  3. Personal and financial resources of the person and family
  4. Services available, the models of practices of these services, and the skills, knowledge and experience of clinicians
  5. Geographical distance from services and options for innovative means of carrying out the intervention
  6. Cost of the intervention, equipment and resources required, and whether the amount of benefit from the intervention appears to be worth the time involved, costs of the intervention, and inconveniences and burden in carrying out the intervention10
  7. The importance and meaningfulness of the outcome that the intervention addresses10
  8. The likelihood of harm from participating in the intervention or conversely missed opportunity or harm from not engaging with the intervention10
  9. The existence of a more effective or less burdensome alternative to the intervention10

Additional considerations are:

Intensity

Intensity of intervention refers to the hours involved in completing therapy over days, weeks or months. Understanding the intensity which is required for an intervention to be effective will assist a person and family to decide whether they have the capacity and resources to engage in the intervention.

Duration of effect

Some interventions may completely resolve a problem or enable an individual to meet their goals. Most effective interventions in cerebral palsy will be effective for a period of time, but factors such as growth and development and changing environmental demands, will mean that an intervention may need to be repeated or different interventions be considered.

Measuring outcomes of intervention

We recommend that each individual sets goals for intervention and measures progress towards these goals. This will determine whether the intervention has been successful, needs to be modified or to be abandoned and an alternative intervention be used. Useful goal setting and measurement tools are the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM) and Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS goals). As well, other assessments to measure outcomes of intervention are available and some are listed on each intervention page and in the Assessment and Outcome Measures section.