Children With Developmental Challenges 3(2+1)

Lesson 9 : Cerebral Palsy Effects, Diagnosis and Treatment


There is no treatment to cure cerebral palsy. The brain damage cannot be corrected. Therapy aims to help the child reach his or her full potential. Children with CP grow to adulthood and may be able to work and live independently.

Prevention: Several of the causes of cerebral palsy that have been identified through research are preventable or treatable:

  • Before getting pregnant, receive a vaccination for rubella.
  • Seek out early prenatal care.
  • Receive testing for blood-type problems. Get treatment if tests reveal incompatible blood types.
  • Do not smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs while pregnant.
  • Put the baby in a child safety seat when in the car.
  • Insist that the child wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
  • Seek help if you have or want to hurt the child.
  • Keep poisons away from your child.
  • Closely supervise bathing.
  • Get your child immunized at the recommended time.
  • If your baby becomes sick, call the doctor right away.

Different kinds of therapy for CP:

Physical therapy(PT), which helps the child develop stronger muscles such as those in the legs and trunk. Through PT, the child works on skills such as walking, sitting, and keeping his or her balance. Physical therapies need to be adjusted to suit the changing needs of the Child. For e.g. when the child starts school, physical therapy includes exercise, which improves the child’s ability to sit, move independently and perform small tasks like using the bathroom and dressing.


Occupational therapy (OT), which helps the child develop fine motor skills such as dressing, feeding, writing, and other daily living tasks. Occupational therapy works at improving the child’s simple physical skills, which make him more independent as in feeding, dressing etc.


Speech-language pathology (S/L), which helps the child develop his or her communication skills. The child may work in particular on speaking, which may be difficult due to problems with muscle tone of the tongue and throat. Speech therapy helps develop muscles of the mouth and tongue to improve speech. Improved speech helps a child with hearing impairment as well.

Surgery is recommended as a last resort to handle extreme contractures, which can inhibit movement, balance and coordination. A seemingly simple movement like walking requires as many as 30-different muscles to work in unison. The affected muscles are carefully identified and surgically lengthened to reduce contractures.


Last modified: Tuesday, 10 April 2012, 6:41 AM