Illinois Medical Facility Dedicated to Treating Children With Cerebral Palsy

Hospital BuildingAs recently as a couple of decades ago, the treatment options for children with cerebral palsy were very limited. However, thanks to increased knowledge about the condition, children with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy have several options when it comes to rehabilitation and other types of care.

Cerebral palsy is a complex medical condition that arises from abnormal development of the brain or damage during labor, delivery, or the first few months of life. Children with cerebral palsy face a number of challenges, including:

  • Hypertonia or hypotonia. Low or high muscle tone may be present depending on the type of cerebral palsy that a child has. Often, the long-term ramifications of abnormal tone can lead to stiffness, shortening of the muscles, chronic pain, and more.
  • Comorbid conditions such as scoliosis and lordosis can cause intense pain and limit a child’s range of motion.
  • Muscle spasticity and involuntary movements can occur through the misfiring of nerves.
  • Children may be unable to walk or ambulate without support due to the tightness or floppiness of muscles.
  • Due to the brain damage that occurs, children may have comorbid intellectual disabilities.
  • Children may experience issues with speech, hearing, or vision.

Each case of cerebral palsy is unique. Children with the disorder may each have their own struggles and benefits from an individualized treatment plan. Tailoring the program to each individual can help enhance the quality of life and help each child achieve his or her optimal level of functioning.

A Medical Facility Dedicated to Children With Cerebral Palsy

Traditional medical and rehabilitation centers may lack the expertise or individualized approach necessary to treat the diverse array of complications that a child with cerebral palsy may face. However, a treatment center in Illinois helps children live their best lives using an evidence-based approach to cerebral palsy rehabilitation or treatment.

The Center for Independence Through Conductive Education in Countryside, Illinois uses the idea of conductive education. This type of program first emerged in Hungary in the 1940s and focuses on “retraining” the brains of young children. Its primary researcher, Dr. Howard Peto, held that children can overcome many of their challenges with appropriate and indirect teaching. With this approach, children learn based on their personalities and unique learning style, a direct contrast to the approach offered through the public school special education system.

Additionally, conductive education encourages children to view themselves as self-reliant, in spite of the limitations society tells them they have. In this vein, children learn to achieve their academic and daily living goals based on their likes, dislikes, and a nurturing environment from teachers and practitioners.

Each child is an active participant in his or her rehabilitation. They learn how to use their bodies efficiently and gain the tools they need to improve their motor skills and endurance, which gives them a better chance of achieving their goals.

Individualized Approaches for Each Child

Though each child will receive an individualized approach to education, he or she will also participate in group sessions. A combination of professionals will conduct these sessions, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, and so-called “conductors,” or people who receive special training in the teaching of children with motor disorders.

At the root of CITCE is the idea that group or social pressure is actually a form of positive reinforcement. This allows children to progress more rapidly than they would in an isolated public education setting. At an emotional level, the group setting works. Kids have an opportunity to socialize, relate with others their own age with similar struggles, and get input from one another. Children participate in games, repetitive actions, and songs to help facilitate their treatment.

CITCE in Countryside has been in operation since 1998. It is one of the premier facilities for the treatment of cerebral palsy in the area. Currently, it serves hundreds of children in 3 locations located in the Chicago area.

Cerebral Palsy in Chicago and Beyond

CITCE reports that cerebral palsy occurs at a rate of about 1 in 278 children in the United States. The complex disorder has many possible causes, but results from damage to the brain. This may occur during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or within the first couple months of life (a condition called acquired cerebral palsy). Usually, the symptoms of cerebral palsy present within the first couple of months of a child’s life.

The severity and symptoms of cerebral palsy vary from child to child, but generally a diagnosis means a lifetime of developmental and rehabilitative therapy. Children with CP require help attaining basic life skills such as writing, self-care, and eating. Tailored medical and rehabilitative interventions help improve a child's independence and quality of life. Parents can encourage a child's independence and facilitate their learning by seeking a helpful educational environment and an individualized approach available at an institution like CITCE.