Living with Cerebral PalsyWhat Do You Mean, A “treatment Plan”?
Some approaches that can be included in a treatment plan for someone with CP are drugs to control seizures; special braces to deal with muscle problems; surgery; mechanical aids to help overcome impairments; counseling for emotional and psychological needs; and physical, occupational, speech, and behavioral therapies. Usually, the earlier treatment begins, the better chance a child has of overcoming his or her disability and learning new ways to accomplish difficult tasks.
The members of the treatment team for a child with cerebral palsy are professionals with a wide range of specialties. A typical treatment team might include:
- A physician, such as a pediatrician (children's doctor) or a pediatric neurologist (someone who specializes in the brain and nervous system of children). This physician is often the leader of the treatment team and works to pull together all the professional advice of the treatment team members into one plan.
- An orthopedist (someone who specializes in treating the bones, muscles, tendons, and other parts of the body's skeletal system). An orthopedist might be called on to treat muscle problems associated with cerebral palsy.
- A physical therapist, who creates special exercise programs to improve movement and strength in the large muscles of the body (arms, legs, torso).
- An occupational therapist, who helps individuals improve the development of their small muscle movement (face, hands, feet, fingers, toes) and learn practical skills for daily living, school, and work.
- A speech and language pathologist, who specializes in treating communication problems.
- A social worker, who can help patients and their families find financial, educational, and medical assistance in their local communities.
- A psychologist, who helps patients and their families cope with the anxieties, pressures, and demands of cerebral palsy. Sometimes psychologists provide therapy to change unhelpful or destructive behaviors and habits.
- An educator, who plays an important role when mental impairment or a learning disability presents a challenge to education.