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What is Cerebral Palsy

DEFINITION OF CEREBRAL PALSY

Cerebral palsy is a term used to describe a group of chronic conditions affecting body movements and muscle coordination. It is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain, usually occurring during fetal development, or during infancy. It can also occur before, during or shortly following birth.

WIDE SPECTRUM

"Cerebral" refers to the brain. "Palsy" refers to a disorder of movement or posture.

If someone has cerebral palsy it means that because of an injury to the brain (cerebral) he/she is not able to use some of the muscles in his/her body in the normal way (palsy). Some children with cerebral palsy may not be able to walk, talk, eat or play in the same ways as most other children. There is a wide range in the spectrum covered by cerebral palsy from very minor to severe.

PRODUCTIVE LIVES: HOPE IS AN OPTION

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Daniel's mother was told that it was unlikely that her son would ever be able to walk. There are no miracles at the Buddy Bear School but hard work, dedication and experience of educating children with cerebral palsy using conductive education. Daniel is now in job release and thankfully is able to walk, talk and use a computer. Early intervention is essential.

While cerebral palsy is not curable in the accepted sense, education, therapy and applied technology can and does help persons with cerebral palsy lead productive lives. Cerebral palsy is not a disease or illness. Conductive education developed in the Peto Andras Institute in Budapest is a method of teaching used to educate children with cerebral palsy, The Buddy Bear Trust School uses conductive education

MOTOR FUNCTIONS

Cerebral palsy is characterised by an inability to fully control motor functions of the body , particularly muscle control and co-ordination. Depending on which areas of the brain have been damaged, one or more of the following may occur:

  • muscle tightness or spasm
  • involuntary movement
  • disturbance in gait and mobility
  • abnormal sensation and perception
  • impairment of sight, hearing or speech
  • seizures

It should be noted that these are general comments for information. The Doctor and or Medical Consultant will be able to provide specific information and advice.

BROAD TERMS

Cerebral palsy is a broad term which covers many different disorders of movement and posture. Pediatricians, neurologists, and therapists use several classification systems and many labels to describe cerebral palsy.

MUSCLE TONE

All children with cerebral palsy have damage to the area of the brain that controls muscle tone. As a result, a child may have increased muscle tone, reduced muscle tone, or a combination of the two (fluctuating tone). Which parts of their bodies are affected by the abnormal muscle tone depends upon where the brain damage occurs.

There are three main types of cerebral palsy:

  • Spastic Cerebral Palsy (stiff and difficult movement)
  • Athetoid Cerebral Palsy (involuntary and uncontrolled movement)
  • Ataxic Cerebral Palsy (disturbed sense of balance and depth perception)
  • Mixed Cerebral Palsy - There may be a combination of these types for any one person.

SUPPORT - HELP - THERAPY - CONDUCTIVE EDUCATION

After an interdisciplinary assessment, the professionals providing care/education for a child will develop recommendations for his or her treatment. Thankfully many treatments including conductive education are available to help a child function at the highest level possible.

INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PROGRAM

All children are uniquely affected by cerebral palsy and individual education and therapy programmes have to be designed to meet a child's individual needs. An important part of a child's education treatment will be a therapeutic exercise programme. Depending on the child's needs, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, and /or a speech-language therapist will work with the child to help him or her improve posture and movement. Conductive education can play a significant part in meeting a child's needs.

At first, the child will likely see his or her therapist quite often, sometimes at least twice a week. As the child grows and develops, he or she may need a less intensive programme.

The therapists and/or Conductor will expect the parent/guardian to work on the child's movement skills at home, and should provide training in special exercises and handling techniques. Ask for training if it is not offered. The time commitment to a therapy programme is tremendous and it is prudent for both parents/guardians to be involved.

CONDUCTIVE EDUCATION: BABY AND PARENT GROUP

In general, it is considered beneficial to the baby if very early intervention before six months of age. Unfortunately most infants are not referred until later in the first year or sometime in the second year of life.

EARLY INTERVENTION

The age at which a child is referred will depend to some extent on how quickly the physicians diagnose cerebral palsy, or other problems requiring therapy. It is generally agreed that children who receive early intervention and good treatment not only have fewer movement limitations,but have better postures, better muscle development, and better abilities in toileting, feeding, and dressing themselves.

Furthermore, education and therapy programmes enrich children's lives by enabling them to explore and experience activities that they might not otherwise be able to do independently.

EDUCATION THERAPY AND TREATMENT WILL VARY

  • Conductive Education
  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Medical Treatment: Surgery
  • Medical Treatment: Drug Therapy
  • Sensory Integration Therapy
  • Adaptive Equipment

BUDDY BEAR TRUST: CONDUCTIVE EDUCATION - SUPPORT

Consult the Principal of the Buddy Bear Trust Conductive Education School about an assessment and advice about conductive education

HOPE - CARE - SHARE
The Buddy Bear Trust is committed to working in partnership with all involved in the education and care of children with cerebral palsy.