Cerebral palsy (CP) is a term used to describe a wide range of movement disabilities. CP can be very mild to very severe. CP is caused from an injury to the motor control area of the brain during pregnancy, birth, or shortly after birth. CP does not get worse. Today, there is no cure for Cerebral Palsy. Medical treatment can help your child reach his/her highest level of function and help diminish the disability from CP.
Symptoms may range from very mild (your child is slightly awkward) to severe (your child has difficulty holding his/her head up, is unable to sit up, and requires a wheelchair).
- Tight muscles
- Delay in movement milestones, does not hold her head up, reach for things, roll, crawl, sit-up or stand
- Clumsy movement
- Poor muscle coordination
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Vision problems
- Walks on toes
- Drags one foot
Rehab Evaluation May Include:
You may be asked to have your child be evaluated by a Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, or Speech Therapist. At the rehabilitation evaluation the therapist will ask you about your child’s medical history, development and current concerns. They will then examine your child. They may measure his muscle movement, muscle tightness, muscle strength, and coordination. The therapist may test how well your child is progressing in his motor skills compared to other children his age. They may listen to your child speak, and check his hearing and vision. After the examination your therapist will discuss the results of the exam and will work with you to develop goals and a plan for therapy.
Common Rehab Treatment Interventions
You and your therapists will plan treatment specifically for your child’s areas of need.
These may include:
- Stretching, strengthening, and correct movement exercises
- Referral to a doctor for medications to relax muscles, control seizures, etc.
- Braces, splints, or casting or help stretch muscles and correctly position your child’s joints.
- Other equipment such as a wheelchair or walker, bathing or dressing equipment, a communication device
- Surgery to loosen muscles and correct the alignment of the bones