Alternative Therapies for Children with CP
Traditional therapies for children with Cerebral Palsy include occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy. But there are now exciting alternative therapies that can be delivered alongside more traditional models that both children and parents can enjoy.
Conventional and Alternative Therapies
When specialists and doctors devise treatment plans for CP, they usually begin with conventional therapy choices, including speech, physical and occupational therapy. These forms of therapy will usually allow kids with CP to enjoy improved independence, mobility and speech.
That being said, every child with CP is different. With this in mind, a treatment and therapy plan for a child should be tailored in order to meet the mobility limitations and specific symptoms of that child. Children who have Cerebral Palsy which is severe and/or conditions which are co-existing may find that alternative and/or complementary forms of therapy offer more advantages.
What is Complementary and Alternative Therapy?
This type of therapy includes a group of options for treatment which don’t fall into the “traditional” category. The word, “complementary” denotes therapy which is utilized alongside traditional therapy. Alternative therapy denotes therapy which is used instead of Cerebral Palsy therapy.
Some examples of alternative and complementary therapy include music therapy, hippotherapy, acupuncture and aquatic therapy.
Children who are given alternative therapy may access a range of benefits. If you want to explore the possibilities, speak to your child’s doctor about alternative therapy. He or she may wish to add this type of therapy to your son or daughter’s current treatment plan. Another option is that the doctor may want to choose a new treatment method i.e. switch traditional therapy for alternative therapy. A Cerebral Palsy expert is the best person to talk to about options for alternative therapy which are tailored to fit your child’s individual needs.
Learn About Alternative Therapies for CP
Hippotherapy – This form of therapy is designed to improve language and speech skills in children with CP. During therapy, a child will ride a horse and have a therapist or therapists close to him or her. The movement of the horse helps the child to access therapeutic benefits which ease sensory processing problems.
Aquatic Therapy – Kids who have more severe forms of cerebral palsy typically do well with aquatic therapy. This form of therapy happens in a pool and it is an alternative form of physical therapy which decreases joint, muscle and bone pressure. Children with CP find it easier to move under water. This form of alternative therapy may help with coordination, assist with development of proper gait and boost respiratory function, in addition to improving muscle tone.
Meditation – Believe it or not kids can often find success with meditation quicker than adults with all of our preoccupations and mental distractions! Children with CP are no different in that regard, but don’t automatically think of the stereotypical meditation technique of sitting in the lotus position and repeating a mantra for a half-hour or so – that takes a level of discipline that few kids – or adults – can master from the beginning. Guided meditations are better here, and there have been promising results in studies concerning brainwave entrainment meditation programs that you might want to look into.
Acupuncture – This form of treatment has Chinese origins. Over the past four decades, it’s also become popular in America. This type of alternative treatment for kids with CP may help with an array of CP symptoms, including hearing loss, speech loss, balance problems and arm, hand and leg weakness.
Now that you know about some exciting alternative treatment therapies for kids with Cerebral Palsy, you’ll be ready to talk to your child’s doctor about them.