Cerebral palsy is a group of non-progressive, non contagious motor condition that cause physical disability as described by loss or impairment of motor function.
The brain damage is caused by brain injury or abnormal development of the brain occurs while a child’s brain is still developing i.e before birth, during the birth or immediately after the birth.
Cerebral palsy affects body movements, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. It also impacts the fine motor skills,gross motor skills and oral motor functioning. Children with cerebral palsy may suffer problems with posture, balance, coordination, walking, speech, swallowing, and many other functions.
Cerebral palsy may accompany certain associative features such as mental retardation, seizures, breathing problems, learning disabilities, bladder and bowel control problems, skeletal deformities, eating difficulties, dental problems, digestive problems, and hearing and vision problems.
Resistive exercise programs (also called strength training) and other types of exercise are often used to increase muscle performance, especially in children and adolescents with mild cerebral palsy. Daily bouts of exercise keep muscles that aren’t normally used moving and active and less prone to wasting away. Exercise also reduces the risk of contracture, one of the most common and serious complications of cerebral palsy.
Occupational therapy – This kind of therapy focuses on optimizing upper body function, improving posture, and making the most of a child’s mobility. An occupational therapist helps a child master the basic activities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, and using the bathroom alone.
Recreational therapies – Recreational therapies, such as therapeutic horseback riding (also called hippotherapy), are sometimes used with mildly impaired children to improve gross motor skills. Parents of children who participate in recreational therapies usually notice an improvement in their child’s speech, self-esteem, and emotional well being.
Speech and language therapy – About 20 percent of children with cerebral palsy are unable to produce intelligible speech. They also experience challenges in other areas of communication, such as hand gestures and facial expressions, and they have difficulty participating in the basic give and take of a normal conversation. These challenges will last throughout their lives.
Speech and language therapists observe, diagnose, and treat the communication disorders associated with cerebral palsy. They use a program of exercises to teach children how to overcome specific communication difficulties.