methods for treating children with cerebral palsy
Cerebral Palsy Therapies
Physical Therapy is known as the cornerstone for cerebral palsy treatment, used to rehabilitate muscles and the musculoskeletal system. Physical therapy typically begins in the first few years of life, or soon after the diagnosis is made. This specific form of therapy utilizes a variety of equipment and exercises to improve patient’s mobility.
There is no standard therapy that works for every individual case affected by cerebral palsy. Physical therapy programs use specific sets of exercises specifically catered to each patient’s needs. There are two main goals associated with this type of therapy. The first includes preventing disuse atrophy, meaning the weakening or deterioration of muscles that are not being used. The other main goal is to prevent contracture, which happens when the muscles become fixed in a rigid, abnormal position. Early detection and management of muscular problems is crucial in early childhood development.
Speech Therapy is defined as the treatment of communication disorders. Those that work in the field of communication disorders are known as speech therapists and speech-language pathologists. Therapy sessions may consist of a series of exercises and drills designed to strengthen the muscles involved in speech and swallowing, constantly improving oral motor skills. Speech therapy may also include sign language and the use of picture symbols or augmented and alternative communication devices.
Occupational Therapy (OT) and rehabilitation deals primarily with muscles responsible for the following; wrist, hand and finger movements, facial expressions, along with tongue movement and swallowing reflexes. Occupational therapists are trained to help patients acquire or improve daily living skills needed for self-care, work and play. Occupational Therapy uses a regiment of exercises, adaptive equipment, and training to help a child realize goals and independence.
Also referred to as “talk therapy,” psychotherapy can improve behavioral issues, provide encouragement, improve self-esteem, reinforce positive message and stop negative behaviors. Therapists sit down with both you and your child to explain the situation and offer potential coping skills.