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Jeff Brody
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Cerebral palsy and communication

Cerebral palsy is the term used to describe several conditions caused by a brain injury during brain development. The brain injury results in the lack of muscular and joint control, which results in disrupted coordinated movement. The location and severity of the brain damage will determine the degree and type of cerebral palsy: cerebral palsy can be mild, displaying itself as awkwardness, or severe, incapacitating a child from infancy. Cerebral palsy patients may have many other ailments such as seizures, mental disabilities, hearing loss, visual problems, communication problems, and possible impairments of other senses.

Because there are so many problems with cerebral palsy and communication related to some patient's sight, hearing, and speech difficulties, assistive technology devices are available to aid with communication. Cerebral palsy assistive technology devices are tools, equipment, or services that are designed to increase the performance of some physical or mental ability in cerebral palsy patients. Assistive technology devices help children and adults with cerebral palsy and communication problems that have a broad range of disabilities or limitations use.

Augmentative communication devices are methods that help individuals with cerebral palsy communicate more easily and effectively. These devices can be a simple board with pictures representing a patient's daily needs or electronic speech synthesizers. This technology can help a child with cerebral palsy communicate, feel more independent, and take part in activities with other children.

Individuals with cerebral palsy and communication difficulties can also benefit from manual communication devices. Manual communication boards are an economical and sensible mode by which an individual can communicate. A manual communication board does not involve any mechanical parts, but uses pictures of objects instead. Images of objects like a toothbrush, a photograph, a symbol, and/or printed words can represent the user's message.

Speech therapists also help children with cerebral palsy and communication skills. Communication skills may mean talking, using sign language, or using a communication aid. Speech therapists help children with cerebral palsy that are able to talk by working with them on making their speech easier to understand. Children with cerebral palsy and communication problems can also get help from a speech therapist by building their language skills by learning new words, learning to speak in sentences, or improving their listening skills.

Children with cerebral palsy and communication problems related to speaking, because of their difficulty controlling the muscles needed for speech, may learn sign language if a communication aid is inappropriate.

Because cerebral palsy and communication vary from individual to individual, techniques to help each patient will vary. Communication is a very important tool for someone with cerebral palsy trying to express them self. Children with cerebral palsy and communication problems will be relieved to know that they have the opportunity to relate their thoughts, needs, and concerns in ways the were previously unavailable.

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