Cerebral palsy is a damage to the developing brain in the motor part of the brain. Individuals with cerebral palsy have problems with weakness and sometimes also involuntary movements.
Physical therapy is a discipline that uses exercise to improve function and also strength and fitness in people with disabilities. Since I began physical therapy for children, with cerebral palsy, the field has really changed. It was that the therapist did more hands on in terms of stretching and having the child be in certain positions all the time. Now we're much more functionally directed and we want to work on functional goals that are meaningful to the child and the family.
A parent could work with the therapist to talk about things that the child is able to do and things that maybe are a challenge. They can really focus in on those functional goals. Parents also can share what the child likes to do, so they can incorporate exercise into their daily activities.
When a parent first begins working with the physical therapist, it's important to tell them about their child. What are areas where they have strengths? What are areas where they'd like to see improvement? And then they can design a program that will address those needs.
It may surprise you that by capitalizing on what your child likes to do and working with your therapist, you can make play and fun activities therapy.
"It may surprise you that by capitalizing on what your child likes to do and working with your therapist, you can make play and fun activities therapy."