If you have a child that has cerebral palsy (CP) then you are well aware of the struggles they face each day doing normal activities. Fortunately, physical therapy may help counteract some of their symptoms. Your doctor may have already talked with you about this. If this is something you are interested in, below are some benefits of physical therapy to help you decide if this is something that would be right for your child.
Help Them with Coordination
If your child is having problems with their coordination, such as getting their hand to their mouth while eating, physical therapy can help them with this. They may do something like play catch with a ball to your child. They will have to control where their hands go when catching the ball, thereby having better coordination. This is known as hand-eye coordination. There are many other types of activities the physical therapist will do with your child to help with this problem.
Build Muscle Tone and Strength
If your child has uneven muscle tone or underdeveloped muscles, there are many ways a physical therapist can help your child with this problem. Some equipment the therapist may use to achieve this includes exercise machines, weights, rollers, and bands.
Swimming may be used. This is helpful for your child because they are submerged in water allowing them to do exercises they may not be able to do otherwise. When they push against the water and kick this helps build up the muscles. They will also have fun while they are doing it.
Help with Balance
Building muscle tone and strength can allow your child to have better balance. For example, you often see children with CP walking with what is known as the "scissor gait." Because their muscles get stronger, they will be able to use these muscles to help them walk more normally.
Let Them Have More Independence
Your child may gain some independence after receiving their physical therapy treatments. For example, they may be able to eat better on their own due to better coordination. Starting this therapy as early in their life as you can will help even more. Your child may be able to live on their own when they get older if they continue physical therapy throughout their life. Some people with cerebral palsy can even drive cars and hold steady jobs.
Ask your doctor to suggest a physical therapist in your area, like Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital. Once you find one, make an appointment to talk to them about your child. Once you decide on a therapist, they will meet with your child and develop a unique treatment plan to help them.