Awareness Campaign

Poster for 'If in doubt, check it out' campaign

If In Doubt, Check It Out

Cerebral Palsy is the most common cause of lifelong disability starting in infancy. Despite this, there are often unnecessary delays in the early identification and referral of infants, which, in turn, prevents effective early intervention treatments taking place at the time when they can be the most impactful. A key reason for this is a lack of awareness of the early signs of cerebral palsy amongst the general public and some primary healthcare professionals.

There is now a substantial body of evidence showing that identification and intervention at the earliest opportunity provides the infant at risk of cerebral palsy with the best possible outcomes in terms of future progress and independence. By raising awareness in those key early signposters that highlights signs to be concerned as well as the critical importance of early intervention and ongoing intensive intervention, this could have a significant and highly beneficial impact on the life chances of young children with or at risk of cerebral palsy.

  • To understand more about early motor development and the warning signs, please click here.
  • To download our poster, please click here.
  • To download our information leaflet for parents, please click here.
  • Please help us to spread the word on social media using #cpaware

The evidence base for the warning signs are taken from the NICE Guidelines [NG62] on Cerebral Palsy in under 25s: Assessment and Management, and for typical motor development from Mary Sheridan’s From Birth to Five Years – Children’s Developmental Progress, Fourth Edition, Ajay Sharma and Helen Cockerill, Routledge, 2014. Action Cerebral Palsy is immensely grateful to our advisory board of expert clinicians, senior practitioners, public affairs specialists and parents, for their work with us in developing the key messages and resources for this campaign as well as the many trusts and foundations and individuals who have supported this campaign. We would like to thank those individuals and organisations for their help and support which has enabled Action Cerebral Palsy to undertake this campaign.  

The Childwick Trust logo
Souter Charitable Trust logo
Barbara Ward Children's Foundation logo

Cerebral Palsy Covenant

Twitter graphic for the Cerebral Palsy Covenant

Tackling the Postcode Lottery for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Action Cerebral Palsy (“Action CP”) has written to the leaders of every local council in England to ask them to sign up to the Cerebral Palsy Covenant to improve education and care support services for children living with cerebral palsy and their families. Action CP is calling upon councils to recognise that the complex and varied needs of the cerebral palsy community require close working across several widely differing areas. There are many in the system who are striving to do their best for children and young people with cerebral palsy, but often lack contact with others involved in the process or an understanding of how cerebral palsy affects those they are care for. It is important for someone to hold the pen at a local level, and we believe that the convening power of local government is the best way to address this.  

Children and young people with cerebral palsy face a fractured system of provision that does not always meet the standards and timelines of care needed to make a real difference to their lives. Cerebral Palsy is a lifelong neurodisability affecting each person living with it differently. Early identification of the condition in childhood is essential to putting those with it in touch with the specific support they need. However, there is a postcode lottery of services, meaning that tens of thousands cannot access necessary assistance in education and healthcare.

Over half of the parents who responded to Action Cerebral Palsy’s online survey felt that education and therapy services were not working together in supporting their child. Meanwhile, almost 60% said that the Health, Education and Care Plan process was unsatisfactory for their child’s needs. Only 15% felt the process was ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

Action Cerebral Palsy is asking local councils to show their support in the following ways:

  1. Signing up to Action Cerebral Palsy’s Cerebral Palsy Covenant through tabling a motion at their next full Council meeting.
  2. Sending a press release to their local media to promote signing the Covenant and marking Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month.
  3. Convening a roundtable of relevant education and care bodies within their local authority area to discuss delivering joined-up care for children and young adults with Cerebral Palsy.
  4. Arranging for Action Cerebral Palsy to provide Cerebral Palsy awareness training for their Council staff and encouraging other relevant parties in the area to take up the offer.
  5. Showing their support for Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month and Cerebral Palsy Covenant by promoting information about Action Cerebral Palsy on their website, in newsletters and magazines/publications and on Twitter using #CPAwarenessMonth and tagging @action_cp.


For more information about the CP Covenant, please see the resources below