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Cerebral Palsy

What Specific Treatments Are AvailablePhysical Therapy, Speech And Language Therapy, Other TreatmentsBehavioral Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Drug Therapy

Therapy—whether for movement, speech, or everyday living tasks—is the most important part of treatment for people with cerebral palsy Some people get therapy at school, and some go to special clinics to see their therapists.

Therapists are professionals who are trained to work with people to help them learn better or easier ways to do things. But no matter what the person's age is, or what kind of therapy is used, treatment does not end when the patient leaves the school, office, or treatment center. In fact, most of the real work is done at home! The therapist is only a part-time coach; the strategies, drills, and skills that are given to parents and patients have to be practiced in order to improve performance at home, at school, and in the world.

There are a number of different kinds of therapies that can be part of a treatment plan for people with cerebral palsy. These include physical therapy, behavioral therapy speech and language therapy occupational therapy and drug therapy

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy uses psychological theory and techniques to increase a person's abilities. For example, behavioral therapy might include hiding a cool prize inside a box to reward a child for learning to reach into it with his or her weaker hand.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists usually work with children and adults with CP to find better ways to use the smaller muscles in their bodies, like those in the face, hands, feet, fingers, and toes. They may teach children better or easier ways to write, draw, cut with scissors, brush their teeth, dress and feed themselves, or control their wheelchairs.

Drug Therapy

Physicians may prescribe drugs for those who have seizures associated with their cerebral palsy, and these medications are often very effective. In general, the drugs given to individual patients are chosen based on the type of seizures they have, since no one drug controls all types. Drugs are also sometimes used to control spasticity—stiffness or tightness of the muscles— particularly following any kind of surgery.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaCerebral Palsy