Subject: Cerebral Palsy and Other Motor Disorders

Series: Mac Keith Press Practical Guides

Publication date: 09/11/2011

ISBN: 9781907655753

Edition: 1st

Pages: 174

The Hemiplegia Handbook

for Parents and Professionals

Liz Barnes, Charlie Fairhurst (Authors)

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Childhood hemiplegia affects up to one child in 1000. It is a condition affecting one side of the body caused by damage to the brain before, during or soon after birth (congenital hemiplegia) or later in childhood (acquired hemiplegia).

Until now there has been no book giving an overview of childhood hemiplegia for the people who are most affected by it – the children and young people themselves, and their parents, families, friends and teachers, as well as the professionals working with them on the management of their condition.

This highly accessible guide provides this overview, giving the background to how and why hemiplegia happens in children, outlining the different approaches to therapy, and setting out guidance on how to support the child or young adult with hemiplegia. It is practically orientated, answering many of the questions posed by families, carers and members of the interdisciplinary team involved with the children. It is invaluable both for parents and for medical and allied professionals.

  • Highly readable, practically orientated collaboration between a parent and a paediatrician
  • Accessible, straightforward explanations of nervous system development, what can go wrong, and the management options
  • Helpful overview of the practicalities of supporting the child or young adult with hemiplegia
  • Clearly outlines the different approaches to therapy
  • Valuable both for parents and carers and for the multidisciplinary team working with the child


Parents and carers; community health multidisciplinary teams; paediatricians (especially general and community); education professionals and social service interdisciplinary teams.

A Practical Guide from Mac Keith Press 

Liz Barnes

Liz Barnes is a trustee of HemiHelp and an award-winning radio journalist who for many years combined working for the BBC World Service with writing and editing much of HemiHelp’s information material. She is a lay member of the NICE Guideline Development Group on Spasticity in Children and Young People. Liz lives in London with her husband and her son, now an adult, who was born with hemiplegia.

Charlie Fairhurst
Charlie Fairhurst

Charlie Fairhurst is a consultant in paediatric neurodisability at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London. He is part of the South Thames regional movement therapy service based there, and has broad experience in all areas of movement therapy as part of the teams, including the One Small Step Gait Analysis Laboratory, that are involved in the assessment and care of acute neurological emergencies as well as the ongoing management of upper limb, lower limb, posture and tone difficulties.

About the authors vii

Foreword by Robert Goodman ix

1. Introduction (LB) 1

2. Understanding the brain and movement (CF) 5

3. Causes of hemiplegia / hemiparesis (CF) 16

4. Possible clinical problems: their signs and symptoms (CF) 27

5. After diagnosis – what next? (LB) 38

6. Assessment and clinical management (CF) 53

7. Family life (LB) 80

8. Education (LB) 94

9. Adult life (LB) 119

10. The emotional impact of having a child with a disability (Claire Edwards) 139

Glossary of medical terms 148

Index 153

'I have never encountered such a thorough book written in easily understood terms for both parents and professionals. I will certainly use it in my office practice!'

Fredric Warren, MD, Ochsner Clinic Foundation

‘A guide for helping families deal with hemiplegia through the early years into adulthood is long overdue. Reading about the many other families successfully handling the challenges and rewards of raising these children, makes this a book you will turn to over and over again.’

Mary Kay Ballasiotes, President of the International Alliance for Pediatric Stroke , 2012

‘I gained knowledge, information and insight from reading ‘The Hemiplegia Handbook’. This is a very useful reference book.’

Helen Byrne, The OT Insight, New Zealand Association of Occupational Therapists, 2012

The Hemiplegia Handbook – Chapter 1: Introduction & Chapter 2: Understanding the Brain and Movement (free ebook) - £0