What are the education programs for children with cerebral palsy?
Children with cerebral palsy grow normally and attend regular schools if they do not have severe intellectual and physical disabilities. Other children require extensive physical therapy, need special education, and are severely limited in activities of daily living, requiring some type of lifelong care and assistance. However, even severely affected children can benefit from education and training. Early identification of cerebral palsy can lessen developmental problems and lead to
appropriate intervention when it helps the most. Early intervention programs are family-centered in which professionals and families work together with the child in specific activities. Educators, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, speech- language pathologists, psychologists and physicians can assist families by providing information and education.
The best choice of school for the child with CP depends on the presence and degree of mental impairment and physical impairment, as well as the facilities available in the area. "Inclusion," or mainstreaming the child in a regular public school classroom, may work well for the child with mild physical impairment. Separate classrooms or special schools may be needed for more severely involved children. Schooling for disabled students is governed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) at the federal level and state special education rules at the local level. An educational specialist either within the school system or from the community social services agency may be able to help the family navigate the various bureaucratic pathways that will ensure the best schooling available.
The process of developing an educational plan for a child with CP begins with an assessment of the child's needs. The assessment is carried out under state guidelines by a team of medical professionals. After the assessment, the school district works with the parents and others involved in the child's education and treatment to develop an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). The IEP states the child's specific needs for special instruction and indicates what services will be provided. The special services may be as simple as allowing extra time to travel between classes or as extensive as individualized instruction, adapted classroom equipment, and special testing procedures. More information about assessments and IEPs is available through the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities. The United Cerebral Palsy Assocation is another resource for advocacy, information, and legal rights.
Speech/language therapy helps the child overcome communication problems. Many children with cerebral palsy have problems speaking because of poor tone or uncontrolled movements in the muscles of the mouth and tongue. Speech therapy helps develop those muscles, improving speech. Speech therapy also benefits children with hearing loss. Children who cannot speak may be able to benefit from communication technologies such as a computerized voice synthesizer.Poor coordination of the tongue and mouth muscles can also affect speech. The inability to be understood can influence the child's intellectual development, especially if parents don't take the extra time needed to understand their child's attempts at speech. Children may benefit from picture boards or other communication devices that allow them to point to make their desires known. For school-age children or older persons with CP, there are a large number of augmentative communication devices, including shorthand typing programs and computer-assisted speech devices. A speech-language therapist can offer valuable advice on the types of equipment available.
The child with CP may have behavioral problems or emotional issues that affect psychological development and social interactions. These may require special intervention or treatment, including behavior modification programs or individual and family counseling. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is common in children with CP, and may require behavioral, educational, and medical intervention.
It is important for physical therapy to begin soon after diagnosis is made. Daily range of motion exercises help prevent muscles from growing weak and atrophied or rigidly fixed from contracture. Normally, muscles and tendons stretch and grow at the same rate as bones. Spasticity can prevent stretching, and muscle growth may not keep up with bone growth. The muscles can become fixed in stiff, abnormal positions. Physical therapy, often in combination with special braces, helps prevent contracture by stretching spastic muscles. It also can improve a child's motor development. To prepare a child for school, the focus of therapy gradually shifts toward activities associated with daily living and communication. Exercises are designed to improve the child's ability to sit, move independently, and perform tasks such as dressing, writing, and using the bathroom. Orthotics can help control limb position, and walkers can help some patients walk. Mastering such skills reduces demands on caregivers and helps the child obtain some degree of self-reliance, which helps build self-esteem.
More information on cerebral palsy
What is cerebral palsy? - Cerebral palsy or CP is bilateral, symmetrical, nonprogressive paralysis resulting from developmental defects in brain or trauma at birth.
What're the types of cerebral palsy? - Cerebral palsy includes a variety of conditions. There are four main types of cerebral palsy - spastic, athetoid, ataxic, and mixed.
What's spastic cerebral palsy? - Spastic cerebral palsy is an abnormality of muscle tone in which one or more extremities (arm or leg) is held in a rigid posture.
What's ataxic cerebral palsy? - Children with ataxic cerebral palsy have difficulty making rapid or fine movements and walk unsteadily, with their legs widely spaced.
What's athetoid or dyskinetic cerebral palsy? - Athetoid or dyskinetic cerebral palsy is a mixture of muscle tone which is too tight or loose.
What's mixed cerebral palsy? - Mixed forms of cerebral palsy exist in that it is common for patients to have more than one form of cerebral palsy.
What causes cerebral palsy? - Cerebral palsy is a functional disorder caused by damage to the brain during pregnancy, delivery, or shortly after birth.
What're the risk factors for cerebral palsy? - Risk factors linked with cerebral palsy include infection, seizure disorder, thyroid disorder, birth defects, Rh factor incompatibility.
Influence of cerebral palsy on children's development? - Children with cerebral palsy have varying degrees of physical disability and may also have associated medical problems.
How is cerebral palsy diagnosed? - Cerebral palsy is difficult to diagnose during early infancy. Evidence of other risk factors may aid the diagnosis.
What's the treatment for cerebral palsy? - Comprehensive treatment of cerebral palsy requires a multidisciplinary team approach to help maximize and coordinate movement, minimize discomfort and pain.
Treatments for conditions associated with cerebral palsy? - Spasticity, muscle coordination, ataxia, and scoliosis are all significant impairments that affect the posture and mobility of a person with cerebral palsy.
Education programs for children with cerebral palsy - Children with cerebral palsy grow normally and attend regular schools if they do not have severe intellectual and physical disabilities.
Is a cerebral palsy lawyer/attorney necessary? - A experienced cerebral palsy lawyer or attoney may provide you some good advices in determining a course of action nd the best solution for the cerebral palsy treatment program.