Cerebral Palsy

How is Cerebral Palsy Managed?

Cerebral palsy cannot be cured, but treatment can often improve a child's capabilities. There is no standard therapy that works for all patients. Instead, the physician must work with a team of health care professionals first to identify a child's unique needs and impairments and then to create an individual treatment plan that addresses them.

Some approaches that can be included in this plan are drugs to control seizures and muscle spasms; special braces to compensate for muscle imbalance; surgery and mechanical aids to help overcome impairments; counseling for emotional and psychological needs; and physical, occupational, speech and behavioral therapy. In general, the earlier treatment begins, the better chance a child has of managing developmental disabilities.

The members of the treatment team for a child with cerebral palsy should be knowledgeable professionals with a wide range of specialties. A typical treatment team might include:

A pediatrician, pediatric neurologist and/or pediatric physiatrist - trained to help developmentally disabled children. These physicians, often the leaders of the treatment team, work to synthesize the professional advice of all team members into a comprehensive treatment plan, implement treatments and follow the patient's progress over a number of years.

An orthopedist - specializes in treating the bones, muscles, tendons and other parts of the body's skeletal system. An orthopedist might be called on to predict, diagnose or treat muscle problems associated with cerebral palsy.

A physical therapist - designs and implements special exercise programs to improve movement and strength.

An occupational therapist - can help patients learn skills for day-to-day living, school and work.

A speech and language pathologist - specializes in diagnosing and treating communication problems.

A social worker - can help patients and their families locate community assistance and education programs.

A psychologist - helps patients and their families cope with the special stresses and demands of cerebral palsy. In some cases, psychologists may also oversee therapy to modify unhelpful or destructive behaviors or habits.

An educator - may play an especially important role when mental impairment or learning disabilities present a challenge to education.

Individuals who have cerebral palsy and their families or caregivers are also key members of the treatment team and they should be intimately involved in all steps of planning, making decisions and applying treatments. Studies have shown that family support and personal determination are two of the most important predictors of which individuals who have cerebral palsy will achieve long-term goals.

 

What is Cerebral Palsy?
What Other Medical Disorders can be associated with
space Cerebral Palsy?

What Other Major Problems are Associated with Cerebral Palsy?
What are the Risk Factors?
What are the Early Signs?
How is Cerebral Palsy Diagnosed?
How is Cerebral Palsy Managed?
What Specific Treatments are Available?
Glossary Of Terms

 

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