Guidance for Paediatric Physiotherapists Working with Surface Electrical Stimulation in Neurorehabilitation

Despite many potential therapeutic indications, surface electrical stimulation (SES) within the field of paediatric neurodisability, can be underutilised by clinicians.

Throughout 2016 - 2018 the APCP Neurodisability Group (NDG) explored ways to support members with the knowledge and practical skills required for the therapeutic application of SES; this included the delivery of SES workshops at the 2016 APCP conference, a weekend working SES course in 2017 and a follow up introduction to SES article in the APCP newsletter.  However continued requests for information on this topic suggested more information was required for APCP members.

During 2017, the NDG decided a useful exercise would be to coordinate collaboration between professionals across healthcare, industry and academia, to achieve consensus on the practical application of surface electrical stimulation in order to create a clinical guidance document specific to paediatric neurodisability. 

A study group of experienced clinicians, knowledgeable in the use of SES with children was compiled via membership to professional networks: APCP, ACPIN, IFESS, and social media electrical stimulation special interest groups and networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, iCSP) as well as reaching out to professionals recommended via word of mouth.  The professionals who responded and agreed to participate in the project were asked to provide their working experience of how to apply surface electrical stimulation to various areas of impairment in child neurodisability.   This document was compiled throughout 2017-2019 and in 2020 is now ready for publication.

This consensus document relates to good practice and management using surface electrical stimulation in the management of children and young people (0-18 yrs.) with a neuro-disability (children who have congenital and acquired long-term conditions that are attributed to impairment of the central nervous system). The document describes an overview of paediatric neuromuscular function, the basics of electrical stimulation and a practical section of how to apply electrical stimulation to more commonly seen neurodisability impairments.

The intention is to create a learning resource for the paediatric physiotherapist working with neurodisability and to further their knowledge of this therapeutic application.  As this document is the first of hopefully many more, any thoughts and comments would be gratefully received and should be forwarded to the APCC Neurodisability Committee via the APCP office email -

  • This document is available for APCP members to download / view - CLICK HERE
  • Non-members can purchase an electronic copy (£4.95 pdf file) - ORDER HERE