This information aims to provide an overview of hemiplegia, the impacts it may have on a child and the support available. Although this information only covers childhood, hemiplegia is a lifelong condition and so it also affects adults. It is our goal to develop services and information for adults with hemiplegia in the future, but in the meantime we hope this will give you general idea of hemiplegia and the effects of the condition.
Hemiplegia (sometimes called hemiparesis) is a condition that affects one side of the body (Greek ‘hemi’ = half). We talk about a right or left hemiplegia, depending on the side affected. It is caused by injury to parts of the brain that control movements of the limbs, trunk, face, etc. This may happen before, during or soon after birth (up to two years of age approximately), when it is known as congenital hemiplegia (or unilateral cerebral palsy), or later in life as a result of injury or illness, in which case it is called acquired hemiplegia. Generally, injury to the left side of the brain will cause a right hemiplegia and injury to the right side a left hemiplegia.