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Rehabilitation and Cerebral Palsy

There are a variety of rehabilitation options for people and children with cerebral palsy.  Some are dependent on which type of cerebral palsy the patient has.  All of the rehabilitations, however, usually center on developing a few key areas of improvement including physical movement and coordination, speech, vision, and intellectual development.  Ongoing treatments and options are available that could make life for the cerebral palsy sufferer better.  Most rehabilitation centers and treatments use some combination of physical therapy, biofeedback, occupational and speech therapy, drugs, and even surgery.

Cerebral palsy rehabilitation will invariably involve some sort of long-term physical therapy.  These slight exercises will usually involve extending the child’s range of movement and often concentrate primarily on developing basic motor skills.  There are several techniques touted in the field of cerebral palsy rehabilitation such as the Bobath technique.  The Bobath technique centers on positive reinforcement of voluntary movements on the child’s part and on gradual physical conditioning.  The physical therapy may also include external aids such as wheelchairs, walkers, braces, and how to use them for maximum mobility.

Biofeedback is another common physical therapy that uses machines to concentrate on developing specific parts of the body.  The machines are connected to various muscles in the body with electrodes.  The electrodes produce some sort of discernable results such as beeping noises or flashing lights that provide the wearer with a stronger relationship with their bodies.  Through manipulation of their movements, children with cerebral palsy can control overactive muscles and develop coordination.

Occupational therapy is a fine-tuning of the child’s necessary motor skills.  The motor skills developed in occupational therapy focus on providing the cerebral palsy child with the ability to function as an individual, rather than relying on others to do things for them.  This may include such necessary functions as:  learning to dress one’s self, how to comb their hair, brush their teeth, drink properly, write, and many other necessities for individual living.

Speech and language rehabilitation often involve lengthy, lifetime therapy involving a speech therapist and several electronic and mechanical devices.  The ability to function and develop one’s speech and language is a necessary tool for regaining control over one’s life, and there have been many successful cases of cerebral palsy patients overcoming deficiencies in these areas.

Other rehabilitation treatments for cerebral palsy include drug therapy, such as Botox injections to relax over-tense muscles, some types of surgery, and the use of orthopedic devices ranging from wheelchairs and leg braces to special footwear.

The rehabilitation treatments vary as to the severity and type of cerebral palsy but all require repeated visits and usually the purchase of or use of several types of equipment.

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