Treating Cerebral Palsy

Although cerebral palsy has no actual cure, treatment can often improve a child’s capabilities. In fact, many patients can enjoy near-normal lives if their neurological problems are properly managed.

No standard therapy is right for all patients. Instead, the physician must work with a team of health care professionals first to identify a child’s unique needs and impairments, and then to create a treatment plan that addresses them.
In general, the earlier treatment begins, the better chance a child has of overcoming developmental disabilities or learning new ways to accomplish difficult tasks.

Treatment team
The members of the treatment team for a child with cerebral palsy should be knowledgeable professionals with a wide range of specialties. A typical treatment team might include:

• A physician, such as a pediatrician or pediatric
neurologist, trained to help developmentally disabled
children.

• An orthopedist (surgeon) who specializes in treating
bones, muscles, tendons and other parts of the body’s
skeletal system.

• A physical therapist who designs and implements
special exercise programs to aid in movement and
strength.

• An occupational therapist to help patients learn skills
for day-to-day living, school and work.

• A speech and language pathologist specializing in the
and treating communication problems.

• A social worker to help patients and their families
locate—and make use of—community assistance
and education programs.

• A psychologist who helps patients and their families
cope with the special  stresses and demands
of cerebral palsy.

• An educator, who may play an important role in case
of mental impairment or learning disabilities.

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