Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that can significantly impact a child’s ability to move and complete simple tasks. Most symptoms of cerebral palsy occur by the time a child is three years old; scientists are still researching to learn all the potential causes of this neurological illness. While a cerebral palsy diagnosis is distressing for any parent, the good news is that the disease’s symptoms do not worsen over time. With proper health care and appropriate exercises, many children with cerebral palsy experience little impairment as they grow into adults.
Aqua therapy is a fun and potentially helpful activity for many children suffering from cerebral palsy, notes CerebralPalsy.org. Water enables children to participate in exercises much more easily and with less physical pain than they would likely experience trying the same moves on dry land. Many community centers offer private aqua therapy or classes for children with special needs. Some children with cerebral palsy can work up to swimming or performing aerobic routines in the water. Children with cerebral palsy who participate in some type of aqua therapy usually reap benefits such as improved coordination, increased muscle tone and stamina and stress relief.
Physical therapy is a potentially helpful treatment and activity for children with cerebral palsy. Trained physical therapists can help your child improve his walking, balance and general muscle coordination. Floppy and rigid muscles often accompany cerebral palsy, so the physical therapist may recommend your child use braces or splints outside of sessions. Some physical therapists also stretch your child’s stiff muscles to improve her mobility.
Additional Appropriate Activities
You and your child can participate in many activities at home or at the local park without the assistance of health care professionals. Children with cerebral palsy who engage in regular exercise with a parent and other trusted adults improve their social skills and increase their overall physical and mental health. Appropriate activities include yoga, horseback riding, swimming and dancing. Many children with cerebral palsy enjoy any physical activity that involves a ball; something as simple as throwing or kicking a ball around the backyard can go a long way toward improving your child’s well-being. Don’t be afraid to laugh with your child while playing these games; laughter is still a great medicine for all children especially those with special needs.