The aim is to present a theoretical framework that related the cognitive development of children with spastic cerebral palsy (CP) to the children’s learning and participation over time. The dominant approach to the cognitive development of children with spastic CP is grounded in the bio-medical understanding that assumes a direct relationship between the brain lesion and the disability such as cognitive dysfunctions and learning impairments. This approach has been highly productive in regard of the establishment of spastic CP as a disorder that often involves cognitive difficulties and other impairments along with the motor impairments. The bio-medical paradigm has enriched our understanding of the different cognitive impairments associated with spastic CP in general and with specific cerebral lesions associated with spastic CP. However, understanding the relations between brain lesions and specific cognitive impairments is necessary, but not sufficient to understand the cognitive development of children with spastic CP. Even though cognitive development builds on neurological possibilities, the development of thinking arises from the child’s participation in social activities over time. This point will be exemplified with research on the relation between cognitive impairments, arithmetic difficulties and learning conditions in children with (mainly) spastic forms of CP. Following the constructivist paradigm of neuropsychological development and conceptual thinking from the cultural-historical approach to development, it becomes relevant to include how the challenges and restrictions in social participation often experienced by children with spastic CP feedback on their cognitive development. The often problematic development of children with spastic CP will be explored as a result of the incongruence between the individual development of the child and the structure of the cultural forms the child is living in. The way learning activities are organised or learning aid’s are included afford and develop particular cognitive activities and processes and create developmental possibilities or social constraints that feedback on the child’s individual cognitive activity and development. The approach enable understanding of how social conditions for living affect cognitive development along with biological conditions such as those that cause CP.
La Riabilitazione Del Bambino Con Paralisi Cerebrale in Età Scolare: Apprendimento, Partecipazione E Qualità Di Vita, 2012