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Occupational Therapy for Cerebral Palsy

Occupational therapy is a treatment that focuses on helping cerebral palsy patients achieve independence in all areas of their life. Occupational therapy for cerebral palsy patients can provide them with positive, fun activities to enhance their cognitive, physical, and fine motor skills and increase their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.

Some people think “occupational therapy” sounds like it’s strictly for adults, since children don’t have “occupations” in the traditional sense. However, a child’s “occupation” is playing and learning, and a child with cerebral palsy may have difficulty doing his or her job. An occupational therapist can help evaluate a child’s skills for activities, school performance, and everyday living tasks. As well as handling a child’s physical performance, an occupational therapist can address social, psychological, and environmental factors involved with the child.

Occupational therapy for cerebral palsy can meet children's needs by working on fine motor skills so that kids can grasp and release toys and develop good handwriting skills. Occupational therapists also address hand-eye coordination to improve play skills, such as hitting a target, batting a ball, or copying from a blackboard. They also help children with severe developmental learning delays in some basic tasks, such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and feeding themselves. Occupational therapists can help kids with behavioral disorders and with learning anger-management techniques. For example, instead of hitting others or acting out, the children would learn positive ways to deal with anger, such as writing about feelings or participating in a physical activity. Occupational therapists for cerebral palsy patients allow them to be evaluated for specialized equipment, such as wheelchairs, splints, bathing seats, or dressing devices. Spoons or forks with large or heavy handles can make it easier for a child to feed itself, as well as cups with special handles and plates with higher lips to keep food from slipping off. A patient with speech difficulties or physical limitations can operate computers with touch-screens or voice-command much easier. Special computers have the capability to help people with cerebral palsy perform tasks that would normally be impossible for them. Computers can help them turn on a light with the blink of an eye or open a door with a simple nod of the head.

If your child has cerebral palsy chances are they can benefit from occupational therapy. The goal of occupational therapy for cerebral palsy patients is to help them live as independently as possible. Occupational therapy for cerebral palsy patients uses the individual’s personal strengths to help them overcome their disabilities. It also helps them to learn how to perform daily activities such as dressing, eating, and bathing themselves, all the creating a higher sense of independence and self-confidence.

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