Did you know March 25th is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day? Let’s take this time as an opportunity to raise awareness about a motor disability that affects so many.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approximately 1 in 303 children in the U.S. have cerebral palsy, a loss or impairment of motor function. Cerebral palsy may also occur during early infancy as a result of abnormalities or injury of the brain, infections during pregnancy and premature birth. Often, the brain damage occurred before, during or immediately after birth.
Cerebral palsy can be diagnosed at an early age. Some challenges may lie ahead, including ability to move, maintaining balance, or reaching milestones in motor and growth. Focusing on early intervention is the key. Recognizing early signs and seeking services will help both families and providers develop treatment plans that may improve development.
Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, along with adaptive equipment, are common routes for children with cerebral palsy. Therapists at PTP utilize a variety of strategies in treating cerebral palsy. Some of the most common therapy options include aquatic therapy, physical, occupational and speech therapy, behavioral or recreation therapy, conductive education, sensory integration, hippotherapy, social therapy, massage therapy, nutritional/dietary therapy, vocational counseling, and play therapy.
Laura shared her long journey at PTP, as her daughter, Catlyn, age 7, has been seen at PTP since she was a baby. One highlight was when her PT and OT suggested an adaptive bike, seeing how far she’s come and how much she loves riding it in the summer or with friends.
Laura appreciates having all three services within reach and how they cross over to work towards many of the same goals.
“It has been absolutely wonderful to have everything, OT, PT, and Speech therapists from the same organization, talking to each other to figure out a joint game plan. It still goes on today where they work together in building a formula for Catlyn,” Laura explained.
Laura is also grateful that PTP offers services in the home.
“To be able to have therapists work around our schedule for home visits is amazing,” she said, stressing that taking take time off multiple times a week for office visits would be difficult.
The therapists are there from the time Catlyn gets ready for school to the time she comes home from daycare. Right now, Catlyn is working on strength and stamina so she can ditch the wheelchair and walk in a walker.
Used within a coordinated, complete treatment plan, therapy can play a vital role in reaching developmental milestones. Because there is no cure, the goal of treatment is to help the individual gain independence. Organizations and advocates continue to work together to raise awareness and to advance research efforts. Therapy combined with a team of professionals and additional resources can help provide the best possible quality-of-life.
If you have concerns for your child and want to reach out to a therapist at PTP, please call or visit our website.
MyChild at CerebralPalsy.org: http://cerebralpalsy.org/about-cerebral-palsy/