Things to Do After Your Child was Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy

The diagnosis cerebral palsy is rarely stated immediately after birth. As the child’s brain has a large regenerative potential (neyroplasticity), detected affection in the child perinatal central nervous system initially is classified as a syndrome: inhibition and excitation (increased excitability of the neuro-reflex), muscular hypotonia, dystonia, movement disorders. Later, at the age of one year, with the remaining minimal abnormalities in the motor development of perinatal encephalopathy is diagnosed at a more significant problem – the threat of cerebral palsy.

With mild brain injury started right on time, systematic treatment leads to complete or nearly complete recovery of brain function, and further development of the child does not differ from the development of healthy children, or whether it has minimal neurological signs, which do not reduce the quality of life.

If brain damage is more significant and therapeutic measures do not produce the desired effect, the child’s motor development is disturbed, the clinic is formed of a form of cerebral palsy.

So, in the medical record your child’s diagnosis cerebral palsy appears. What to do? First of all, do not despair and give up. Yes, cerebral palsy can not be completely cured. However, with proper treatment, or rather, upbringing, including education of active movements, in most cases you can achieve considerable success, to teach a child self-service, independent travel, adapt to the existing motor defect.

The basis of recovery of the brain after exposure to damaging factors is the so-called neuroplasticity2 – a property of the human brain, giving an ability to change the functional organization of the nerve cells (neurons) in the learning process, in other words to gain experience. Neuroplasticity is due to constant, ongoing process in the brain damage and the formation of connections between neurons. Under the influence of various stimuli (training) is called synaptic pruning, which means improving the functioning of neuronal networks by eliminating unnecessary connections between nerve cells.

The severity of brain damage, on one hand, and neuroplasticity, on the other hand, determine the child’s rehabilitation potential, its recovery and development of motor activity, speech and intelligence.

Do not assume that the medication will lead to child’s new motor skills. Panacea for cerebral palsy does not exist. The use of drugs can only create a favorable environment for the development of active movements, improve memory in the child, including formation of trace patterns of movement, to reduce muscle tone in spasticity. But you should realize that any movements of a child suffering from cerebral palsy should be actively promoted, so called brought up. This means that you must do physiotherapy with your child. And it should be not on occasion, but systematically and persistently. In the same way as in the early physiological development of a healthy baby simple motions are being formed first, and based on them rather complex motor acts afterwards. In case of raising a child with cerebral palsy, more complex movements can be brought up on the basis of simple ones, which the child has already mastered.

Physiotherapy sessions should be the subject of a specific task: for example, to teach a child to rely on the hand outstretched arms, to sit by their own, hold the cup, use a spoon to stand properly perform stepping movements. Currently, there are technical means, which increase the effectiveness of physiotherapy greatly, loading and reflex-loading devices “Graviton”.

An obligatory condition for effective motor learning of the child is orthotics – the use of orthothis to give the correct position of the segments of the child alone, while preserving their static postures or performing movements (functional orthotics).

Various orthothis  perform different tasks. Thus, if the child is not holding his head, should be applied with a soft headholder , not only to help him keep his head, and then to improve the interaction of the brain’s analyzer systems, such as vision, hearing, vestibular. Such interaction promotes better mental, verbal and motor development of children. Many children with cerebral palsy, show the use of foot-ankle splints and long knee immobilizators for night application to normalize muscle tone and prevent the development of contractures and deformities of the lower limbs, quite often – elbow supports. It is important to remember that much easier to prevent the development of joint and muscle contractures than to treat already formed strain.

Functional orthotics includes the correction of kyphosis in a sitting position (wearing elastic adjustable shoulder support, or adjustable shoulder support coupled with semi-rigid lumbosacral support), as well as various devices on the lower limbs for walking, such as an ankle orthosis with hinge, which allows the child during the stepping motions to put a foot right, forming a heel contact support.

Often with cerebral palsy, especially spastic its forms, against a background of high muscle tone resulting in a child’s thighs formed subluxation of the hip – a complication, which significantly limits the ability to use the most efficient load kinesitherapeutic technologies2 (and reflex-loading devices2) for the child’s learning new motor skills. It is therefore very important for the so-called adduktor sindrome1 to prevent the development of subluxation or timely start an application of devices, correcting orthopedic position of the hip, such as a adjustable hip abduction brace orthosis. This one should be used for a long time in the constant wearing when awake.

Parents should be gradually but steadily and persistently teach a child to the use the orthoses, regular practice of physiotherapy. The future of the child largely depends on parents and beloved ones that surround the child with cerebral palsy: if he can take care of themselves, to move independently, learn, learn a profession in the future, to become a fully fledged member of society. And parents will get help from professionals: doctors (neurologists, orthopedists), physiotherapists, speech pathologists, speech therapists.

Two or three times a year the child should receive training in a specialized rehabilitation hospital, so called rehabilitation centre2, where he will be drawn up an individual program of rehabilitation with the use of advanced rehabilitation technologies and technical appliances of rehabilitation. In this center, watching the doctor’s work controlled by the physical therapist and helping them in the class, the child’s parents will be able to master the complex of individual physiotherapy for subsequent sessions with the child; parents will also learn to use all the aids necessary for a successful development of the child.

With timely and proper treatment, many children with cerebral palsy, received a secondary school education along with healthy children, without a problem graduated from universities, got engaged in intellectual work, sports, art, etc. Good luck to you and your child!.