Caring For a Child With Cerebral Palsy

Alan RasofCaring for a child who is diagnosed with a disability is never easy, but it is important for you to help your child reach their maximum potential and live the best quality of life possible.

For cerebral palsy in particular, helping your child reach their goals depends on the level of cerebral palsy he or she has, and may require an extra set of hands from professionals including physical therapists, physicians, educators, nurses, psychologist, and social workers. Together, you as a parent and a team of professionals can work side-by-side to resolve issues that may revolve around social and emotional development, education, nutrition, mobility, and communication

According to an article published on Care.com, professionals can offer a plethora of services to help your child grow mentally and strive to reach for his or her physical goals. Speech therapists in particular offer many valuable communication services and can:

“Help through oral motor work toAlan Rasof enhance sucking, eating, etc. This work will facilitate communication, both through facial and verbal means, making speech as intelligible as possible. If lack of muscle control makes speech too difficult, speech therapists may help teach use of an augmentative communication device or sign language,” (Caring for a Child With Cerebral Palsy – Advice for Families and Caregivers).

For children living with cerebral palsy, working on muscle movement in the mouth is one of the most important aspects of physical therapy that will help them to communicate more effectively and voice concerns they have or pain they may be in.

Physical therapy is one of the most beneficial commitments a child with cerebral palsy can do to help them with various movement and abilities. Physical therapy can not only aid in muscle strengthening and independence in movement, but they can help ease pain and increase comfort. Physical therapist work with the body to stretch muscles that are tight and stiff, strengthen weak muscles, and help your child to gradually start walking, using a wheelchair, or standing – depending on their needs.

For more information on how you can help care for a child with cerebral palsy, please readthis article published in Care.com, that will also give advice on how to improve nutrition for a child living with cerebral palsy.

from Alan Rasof, Raising Awareness http://ift.tt/1hI6aSQ

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Definition:

Cerebral palsy, though commonly associated with impairment of motor function, is actually caused by brain damage that occurs while a child’s brain is still in its developing stages – before birth, during birth, or directly after birth. Due to this brain damage, those who are diagnosed with cerebral palsy have difficulty with body movement, muscle coordination, muscle tone, muscle control, reflex, balance, posture, and motor skill functions (fine, gross, and oral).

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Cause:

Each individual’s case of cerebral palsy damage due to the amount of brain damage that occurs, the time the brain damage occurs during a certain developmental phase in the brain, and the type of brain damage that occurs. According to Cerebralpalsy.org, the type of brain damage that causes cerebral palsy can be one (or more) of the following:

  1. Prenatal disturbance of brain cell migration – genetic and environmental factors disturb brain cell migration as cells move to their appropriate location during brain development.
  2. Prenatal poor myelination (insulation) of developing nerve cell fibers – brain function is impeded when poor myelin provides an inadequate protective covering over nerve cells that aid in the transmission.
  3. Perinatal brain cell death – events in the birthing process that rupture blood vessels or starve oxygen to the brain.
  4. Postnatal non-functional or inappropriate connections (synapses) between brain cells – trauma, infections, and asphyxia that damage connections developed in the brain.

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History:

Alan Rasof amigo mgaCerebral palsy was pioneered by Dr. William John Little in the mid 1800s, who used his own childhood disability as motivation for this discovery. In addition, Sir William Osler, an important figure in modern medicine, wrote the first book pertaining to cerebral palsy to help spread awareness. He came up with the idea that the disability was a result from abnormal fetal development – far before the medical field agreed with his concept.

According to Cerebralpalsy.org, “At different times, the U.S. government passed crucial legislation to modernize care and further rights of individuals with a disability. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Act, which promoted community-based care as an alternative to institutionalization,” (History of Cerebral Palsy).

Medicine has played a large role in understanding cerebral palsy, along with diagnosing it. Technological advancements in medicine have aided those who have cerebral palsy, redefining what it means to live with a disability. In addition, blood typing medicine, similar to which is used to cure jaundice, and vaccine developments such as rubella, have helped, and continue to help, to prevent the development of cerebral palsy.

In Children:

Many times, signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy are not apparent at birth, but when it comes to development and growth milestones, parents will likely notice a delay unusual from normal patterns. Today, about the amount of children with cerebral palsy ranges from about 2.3% to 3.6% out of 1,000 children.

Please stay tuned for the next blog post to find out about the preventative measures for cerebral palsy.

from Alan Rasof, Raising Awareness http://ift.tt/1ONqH2x