Language and Therapy Tips for Children With CP

Discover Language and Therapy Tips for Children With Cerebral Palsy

If your son or daughter has CP (cerebral palsy), he or she may need speech therapy. Usually, this type of therapy is recommended by doctors when it’s appropriate. If your child does need this sort of therapy, you shouldn’t worry too much about it. It’s beneficial as it is designed to help your child communicate with other children and live a more independent life. In other words, speech therapy is a good thing!


If your child doesn’t get speech therapy, he or she may experience difficulties in terms of finding and keeping friends. A great speech pathologist should be able to assist your child and effective speech therapy will make it easier for a child to enjoy a fulfilling life.


What Happens During Speech Therapy


This type of therapy is given by speech pathologists in school or office settings. A speech pathologist will assist your child by leading him or her through a range of exercises which help to build your child’s listening skills, word comprehension skills, conversation skills and vocabulary development.


Speech pathologists also help children who have cerebral palsy to breathe and swallow. Breathing and swallowing issues may hinder communication in youngsters with CP. As well, troubles with breathing and swallowing may present health risks. If your child is categorized as being non-verbal, his or her speech pathologist will help by using other modes of communication which help your child to express him or herself. For example, computer aids and sign language may be used.


Before figuring out the right approach, a speech therapist will typically run a test. The test will isolate areas which need improvement. Once the test results are in, the speech therapist will help your son or daughter via exercises which are tailored to his or her specific needs. Speech therapists go out of their way to make these exercises entertaining for children. They may utilize flashcards, songs and games. In some cases, parents will be asked to attend the speech therapy sessions. If you’re not asked to attend, you’ll be kept abreast of your son or daughter’s progress by his or her speech therapist.


Your Child May Get Homework

The language development of your child may happen in the speech therapist’s office and it may also happen in your family home. Sometimes, speech therapists will give children things to work on while they’re at home. You may be able to assist your child with completing these assignments, with a mind to honing his or her skills. There are various ways to do this. For example, Pinterest is a great resource for parents whose children with CP require speech therapy. Pinterest does feature some impressive work sheets for speech therapy which may be completed by kids, with the help of their parents or guardians.


Encouraging your child to read will be smart. When your child does read, he or she will be able to boost pronunciation clarity and improve his or her vocabulary. Look for a book that your son or daughter will appreciate. Repetition books are fine choices for at-home speech therapy, as they are simple for kids to understand. Get your son or daughter to repeat the lines of the book as you repeat them also.


You’ll also help your child when you utilize flashcards in the home. You may purchase these flashcards or make them yourself.


Another thing that you may do to help at home is utilize a straw. If your son or daughter has trouble with speech due to muscle problems, a straw will help to build muscle strength which, in turn, assists with proper speech. During the next family meal, put a straw in a glass and offer the drink to your child. This is a simple way to assist your son or daughter.


Speech Therapy Is Extremely Helpful


Speech therapy offers so much hope and help to children who have cerebral palsy. It’s designed to assist them with building their own speech skills. Also, it helps them to breathe and swallow properly. If you want more tips on how to help at home and how to support your child while he or she undergoes speech therapy, you should be able to find them online.

Robotics as a New Treatment For Crouch Gait

Robotics as a New Treatment For Crouch Gait in Kids With CP

A promising new treatment for symptoms of crouch gait in kids who have cerebral palsy is getting plenty of media attention these days. (For more information on crouch gait itself see here). The treatment is a robot exoskeleton which is wearable.


The CDC reports that CP (cerebral palsy) is triggered by damage which is neurological and which happens before birth, during birth or post-birth. CP is a movement disorder and it’s the movement disorder that children suffer from the most. It limits independence and mobility. Kids with CP become adults with CP. The condition lasts for a lifetime. Right now, half a million kids in America have cerebral palsy.


According to an Assistant Professor (Mechanical Engineering, at the Center for Bioengineering Innovation, at Northern Arizona University Center), whose name is Zach Lerner, a brace for the leg which gets its power from compact motors, may be the key to easing crouch gait symptoms in kids who have CP.


A study performed by Lerner was published in a journal called Translational Medicine, and it explored the possibility that wearable robotic exoskeletons might be helpful in terms of minimizing crouch gait difficulties.


Lerner found that novel exoskeletons were useful for easing crouch gait problems, which are known to be some of the worst problems that kids with CP experience. In a trial which lasted several weeks, seven kids with cerebral palsy, who ranged in age from five to nineteen, were fitted with these robotic accessories. The accessories were customized in order to help kids with knee extension during certain elements of the walking process.


Kids Could Walk On Their Own


Once the children were fitted with these exoskeletons, they began some practice sessions. When the trial concluded, all seven kids were able to walk with better posture, versus results that would typically be derived from orthopedic surgery, which is invasive. The exoskeletons gave youngsters the power to walk without assistance. This is good news for youngsters with CP. Robotic exoskeletons may help them to avoid surgery, by offering better outcomes than orthopedic surgery.


Surgery always comes with risks, such as the risk of bleeding and infection. As well, it requires preparation and recovery time. If there is a surgery-free way to improve crouch gait, it signifies a new advance in non-invasive CP treatment for kids who do have crouch gait issues.


The skilled and dedicated researchers on Lerner’s team showed that improvement in crouch gait continued throughout the duration of the trial. This exploratory trial was held in Bethesda, Maryland, at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.


According to details from the published study about this innovative trial, the robotic exoskeletons were tolerated well by kids and were also safe to wear. Children found that wearing them gave them the ability to walk on their own. These exoskeletons work by changing posture dynamically. They provide assistance to the knee in bursts which improve posture. These robot exoskeletons help to empower children by offering them ability to walk by themselves.


These Accessories May Be Alternative Therapy Options


The research team feels that these exoskeletons are viable and alternative forms of therapy (and good choices as treatment options which are provided alongside traditional therapies) for crouch-related problems. Examples of traditional therapies for these problems include muscle injections, surgery which is orthopedic and (PT) physical therapy.


As the leader of the Biomechatronics Labs at NAU, Lerner is committed to boosting mobility and functioning in people who have musculoskeletal and neuromuscular difficulties. He wants to spearhead improvements via biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering.


Usually, alternative therapies for kids with CP are not this high-tech. For example, hippotherapy, which involves using equine (horse) movements in order to help children with sensory processing problems, does not require any technology at all. Acupuncture is another alternative therapy for youngsters with CP which is very low-tech. Aquatic therapy is also a popular and low-tech form of alternative or complementary therapy.


Robotic exoskeletons are ultra-modern ways to help children walk with better posture and increased comfort. In the future, these robotic exoskeletons may be common treatment choices. They may even become traditional treatment options, rather than options which are alternative treatments. Time will tell if this treatment makes it into the mainstream. Study results are very promising, so the future looks brighter for youth with cerebral palsy.

Alternative Treatment Therapies for Children with Cerebral Palsy

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.