What is the Treatment for CP?

woman with babyCerebral palsy is an incurable condition, so the treatments available for cerebral palsy generally aim to manage symptoms and help a child maximize his or her independence in adulthood. Some of the most common treatments include physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral counseling, surgery, and prescription medications to manage symptoms and co-occurring medical conditions.

Therapeutic Cerebral Palsy Treatments

Physical therapy is most beneficial when a child begins treatment as soon as possible after receiving a cerebral palsy diagnosis. Cerebral palsy often interferes with normal muscle growth, and too little exercise may lead to muscle atrophy or increased spasticity. Children born with cerebral palsy typically experience physical delays and may not walk as well or as early as children without cerebral palsy. Severe cerebral palsy may even make walking impossible for some children.

Children with cerebral palsy benefit from physical therapy in many ways and typically continue with physical therapy for several years. Children who can move can increase strength and learn to use assistive medical devices like crutches and braces more effectively. As they grow, they will continue to improve their mobility with physical therapy. Occupational therapy that can help boost confidence and assist with basic living skills, like using the restroom, dressing and undressing, bathing, eating, and more basic everyday needs.

Recreational therapy, or play-based therapies that encourage development of social skills and healthy physical growth, is another valuable therapy for children with cerebral palsy. For example, equine therapy with horseback riding can not only encourage muscle development and improve coordination but also build social skills and encourage communication in children who suffer from speech and language delays from cerebral palsy.

Medical Intervention

Some children born with cerebral palsy may need specific medical procedures to enhance their quality of life and encourage independence later in life. For example, some children with cerebral palsy may develop musculoskeletal disorders that can impede coordination or range of motion. Surgeries to repair soft tissue disorders or bone disorders may encourage healthier musculoskeletal development and minimize the symptoms of these disorders.

Many children with cerebral palsy experience seizure disorders that can range in severity from case to case. Some will require anti-seizure medications or anticonvulsants. Other children may develop mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety due to living with cerebral palsy, and prescription medications can help manage the symptoms of these disorders.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral and cognitive impairments are common among children born with cerebral palsy. Brain damage can have a dramatic effect on a child’s psychological development, and many children with cerebral palsy experience delays in social skill development and managing emotions.

Unfortunately, cerebral palsy can be very isolating for young children who cannot run and play with other children their age, and this can lead to behavioral issues and poor social acclimatization. Behavioral therapy can help them learn coping skills and manage their emotions, eventually encouraging better social skills.

Speech Therapy

Cerebral palsy may affect the brain’s language center and children with cerebral palsy may struggle with talking and understanding speech longer than other children. Speech therapy can also help address hearing difficulties that may affect speech and help a child with cerebral palsy communicate more effectively.

Understanding the Scope of Cerebral Palsy Treatment

A child with cerebral palsy will likely require extensive immediate medical care after birth and ongoing treatment to manage the symptoms and effects of cerebral palsy. A comprehensive treatment plan can be very expensive for the child’s parents, so it is vital for them to determine whether medical negligence led to their child’s cerebral palsy diagnosis.

If a doctor or other medical professional caused a child to develop cerebral palsy due to poor monitoring during labor and delivery or an injury during delivery, the parents can hold the responsible party accountable through a medical malpractice claim. A successful lawsuit could help the parents of a child with cerebral palsy secure compensation for their child’s future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.

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