WHAT IS CEREBRAL PALSY?

Cerebral Palsy is a general term for a number of neurological conditions which effect movement and co-ordination.  These conditions affect the parts of the brain which control muscles.  Cerebral Palsy usually occurs around the time of birth if there has been a difficult birth, a bleed on the brain or an infection.

Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy usually become apparent in the first three years of the child’s life, the most typical symptoms include:

  • Muscle stiffness or floppiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Random and uncontrolled body movements
  • Balance and co-ordination difficulties
  • Weakness in one side of the body (hemiplegia)

Children with Cerebral Palsy are usually slower at achieving their developmental milestones.

HOW DOES CEREBRAL PALSY IMPACT ON ME?

The impact Cerebral Palsy can on activities of daily living can vary depending on the severity of the impairment.  Potentially it can affect all aspects of an individual’s ability to be independent and difficulties can include but are not limited to:

  • Washing
  • Dressing – buttons, zips, tying shoes laces, pulling on pants and tops
  • Bathing and showering
  • Feeding
  • Playing
  • Handwriting
  • Poor posture
  • Leisure
  • Meal preparation
  • Employment

Cerebral Palsy is not a progressive condition but the symptoms and difficulties with everyday tasks can worsen with the physical demands of the condition but effective therapy can help.

HOW CAN MANCHESTER OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY SERVICES HELP?

There is no known cure for Cerebral Palsy but there are a number of effective treatments including Occupational Therapy.

Here at Manchester Occupational Therapy Services we offer a wide range of assessments and treatments for children and adults to help maximise function and improve independence.

We are proud at Manchester Occupational Therapy Services that we are able to offer Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) to people with a weakness in an upper limb.  CIMT is a form of therapy with includes placing the unaffected arm in a cast and completing intense therapy with the affected arm.  Please see the CIMT tab on our website for more details.

We also take a client centered approach to address each client’s goals to improve their independence in particular tasks, this can be done by improving dexterity, fine motor skills, co-ordination and balance.

There is substantial evidence to suggest that Occupational Therapy is a valid therapy to improve outcomes for people with Cerebral Palsy.  There is also emerging research in to the benefits of CIMT with Cerebral Palsy; De Luca et al (2012) found that CIMT can improve outcomes for children with Cerebral Palsy including motor skills and upper extremity skills.

De Luca, S.C., Case-Smith, J., Stevenson, R., & Ramey, S.L. (2012). Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) for young children with cerebral palsy: effects of therapeutic dosage. Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine. 5(2):133-142.