Having another look at cerebral palsy: Current definitions and classification systems


music therapy
cerebral palsy
functional classification

How to Cite

Rainey Perry, M. (2011). Having another look at cerebral palsy: Current definitions and classification systems. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.15845/voices.v11i1.290


Although many music therapists work with clients with cerebral palsy, this diagnostic term has a low profile in current music therapy literature.  This is especially the case when the focus of intervention is not in the realm of physical functioning. The frequently co-occurring disorders in sensation, cognition, communication, perception, and behaviour are often the focus of music therapy intervention, particularly with children and adults with severe and multiple disability. Current perspectives on the care and participation of children and adults with cerebral palsy, including motor classification scales, can be useful for research and clinical reporting.  These scales are explained and examined, as is the effect of the motor impairments of cerebral palsy on active music therapy methods.  Clinical vignettes illustrate the effect of different levels of functional fine motor skills as assessed by the Manual Ability Classification System (Eliasson, A.C., et al, 2006) on musical interaction.  Including the term “cerebral palsy” in clinical reports and research also has implications for awareness of music therapy in the wider community.

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