Wednesday 12 March 2014

What Goals Should Parents Have For Their Child With Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects the muscles. The disorder is usually diagnosed in early childhood, and although it can be caused as a result of an accident or illness in early life, most children are born with it.
Cerebral palsy is a developmental disability that cannot be cured, but appropriate goal setting in early life can maximise functioning and capabilities. 
Whatever level of Cerebral Palsy your child has, the key to success is designing a programme around realistic goals that you set.

Treatment Goals
Set treatment goals as early as possible. Your child’s care team will provide you with health care and each provider may have certain goals that relate to their particular treatment objectives. While mastering specific skills is an important focus of treatment on a day-to-day basis, the ultimate goal is to help individuals grow to adulthood and have maximum independence in society.

Home Focused Goals
Regardless of what type of therapy is being used, treatment does not end when a child leaves the office or treatment centre. Parents are largely responsible for setting realistic goals in the home environment. Incorporating small goals into every day life often leads to greater progress overall.

Physical Goals
Physical therapy usually starts within the first couple of years of a child’s life. Programs tend to work towards two important goals:
+Preventing the weakening or deterioration of muscles that can follow lack of use (called disuse atrophy)
+Avoiding contracture, in which muscles become fixed in a rigid, abnormal position.

Communication Goals
While mobility is an important skill, communication becomes more and more important as a child gets older. Speech therapists will facilitate your child to accomplish oral motor goals such as sucking, eating and speaking.

Cognitive Goals
In more than half of the cases, people with CP also have some cognitive disabilities. Ideally your child should be tested for cognitive issues before he or she reaches school age. The test will be used to help the school set specific goals in learning.
The overall goal of cerebral palsy parenting and caregiving is to help children reach their maximum potential. 

Whatever goals your child aspires to, enjoy your child for who they are and have fun together in whatever way your child is able.

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