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Jeff Brody
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Coordination Activities for Teens with Cerebral Palsy

The teenage years can be difficult for any person, and even more challenging when a disability is present. Rapid growth can cause weight gain and clumsiness in any teen, but it makes it even more difficult for a person with cerebral palsy to move around. A teen’s muscles can also become tighter as his or her bones grow, restricting movement even more. Coordination activities for teens with cerebral palsy can help to reduce the stress of this time period in their life by getting them more comfortable with their body.

Depending on the type and severity of their condition, coordination activities for teens with cerebral palsy can be tailored to their specific needs. With a little effort, many guys and girls with cerebral palsy can perform the same sorts of activities that other teens do, like playing sports, hanging out with friends, going on dates, and all kinds of other fun stuff.

When developing coordination activities for teens with cerebral palsy, there are several guidelines that can help when mapping out a daily routine. First off, the focus of the program should be on teaching the students balance. Balance and functional skills such as walking and throwing, rhythmical movement and skills that will help them participate in class activities will lead to better balance and self-confidence knowing they are on the same level as their classmates. Students must learn how to relax affected muscles and practice doing so. This will help them to control spasms and rigidity in the muscles.

Coordination activities for teens with cerebral palsy should include a variety of isokinetic exercises. Isokinetic exercises are the most effective for increasing strength because they work on smooth flowing movements and limit jerky ones that could cause joint pain. Isokinetic exercise utilizes machines that control the speed of contraction within the range of motion. Isokinetic exercise attempts to combine the best features of both isometrics and weight training. It provides muscular overload at a constant preset speed while the muscle mobilizes its force through the full range of motion.

For example, an isokinetic stationary bicycle set at 90 revolutions per minute means that despite how hard and fast the exerciser works, the isokinetic properties of the bicycle will allow the exerciser to pedal only as fast as 90 revolutions per minute. Machines known as Cybex and Biodex provide isokinetic results and they are generally used by physical therapists and are not readily available to the general population.

Teens suffering from spasms have much stronger flexor muscles than extensor ones. Focusing on increasing the strength in the extensor muscles will help balance out the muscles. Coordination activities for teens with cerebral palsy must evolve into fundamental development of motor skills. Breaking down skills to their basic components will make this task easier. It is important to practice activities that don’t require a fast response. A student will catch a ball bounced to them better than one thrown directly at them.

Coordination activities for teens with cerebral palsy can be brought to the pool as well. Pool ans swimming exercises for people with cerebral palsy use the physical properties of water to resist or assist in the performance of exercises. Not only does swimming give them a freedom of movement they don't have on land, but besides coordination, it can also help improve respiratory ability. It is important to note that cold water can increase muscle tone, but warm water often has a relaxing effect and can help reduce muscle tone.

Coordination activities for teens with cerebral palsy should be fun and serve as a confidence builder as well. By working hard with them and making them feel more like part of the class, their self-esteem will improve along with their determination. Physical and occupational therapists can help design coordination activities for teens with cerebral palsy, and get them on the road to achievement and independence.

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