Cerebral Palsy is a blanket term for a number of non-progressive neurological disorders that appear during infancy or in early childhood that permanently affect muscle coordination and body movement. While muscles are affected by cerebral palsy, it’s not caused by problems in the muscular system. Instead, cerebral palsy is caused by anomalies in parts of the brain responsible for muscle movement. Most children who have cerebral palsy are born with it, even though it may not be diagnosed until months or years later. Most symptoms of cerebral palsy appear before age 3 and can include stiffness and tightness in the muscles, spasticity, or impaired gait. While cerebral palsy currently has no cures, with proper care, treatment, and therapies, many children go on to improve their capabilities. If your child has cerebral palsy, Ascent Children’s Health Services can help your child overcome some of his or her challenges so that he or she is able to lead a full, happy life.
Why Seek Treatment at For Cerebral Palsy?
Generally, the earlier that treatment is begun for children who have cerebral palsy, the better the chances your child has to overcome any developmental delays and learn new ways to accomplish challenging tasks. Treatment for cerebral palsy will focus upon the child specifically and will be adjusted as needed, but is aimed to maintain or improve quality of life and overall health and well-being for your child.
The ability to enter a program without having to visit numerous specialists each day is vital to those struggling with CP and their families. As CP is a multidimensional illness, your child will meet with professionals in many different disciplines, such as physical therapists, medication management, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and dieticians. The ability to manage all of these different specialists can be a tremendous challenge, which is why a multidisciplinary approach including experts from all fields may be the easiest way for a family who has a child with CP to seek treatment. This way, your child’s treatment team will work together, having care plan meetings about your child’s progress with each discipline present so that each challenge can be discussed as a group. This continuity of care across the spectrum is vital for children and families who are living with cerebral palsy.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
Ascent Children’s Health Services is a full-spectrum program for children struggling with developmental disorders and/or behavioral health problems that require our care. We firmly believe that each family is unique and that each child is a special individual who deserves the care of the very best in the industry. We work hard to increase the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development of each person who comes to us for help, while promoting independence and restoring hope. In this way, we are able to make sure each child and his or her family is able to receive the most appropriate, effective level of care possible.
Treatment Approaches for Cerebral Palsy at Ascent Children’s Health Services
Ascent Child Health Services offers a full-range of services for qualifying children and their families, including an interdisciplinary diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment program. Our treatment programs are designed to rehabilitate your child and prevent long-term disability, and our comprehensive evaluations will allow us to gain a picture into your child’s specific needs.
Medications may be used to help manage your child’s cerebral palsy to treat muscle problems and other symptoms of the disorder. Antispasmodics, baclofen, and dandrolene often help to control muscle spasticity while anticholinergic drugs may be used to control abnormal muscle movements. Other types of medications may be used to control any seizures your child may have. The usage of medication will be based upon the decision of you and the treatment team.
Physical therapy for cerebral palsy involves special exercises that are designed to increase and improve your child’s movements and strength. As the muscles for children who have CP don’t stretch and grow normally, as your child ages the differences in bone and muscle growth can interfere with motor abilities. Physical therapy is used to correct this. Your child may also be prescribed mechanical aides for a variety of functions. Orthotic braces help stretch muscles by holding bones in a specific place and help your child with challenging tasks, such as picking up objects from the floor. Physical and occupational therapy will help you and your child learn to use these mechanical aids.
Occupational therapy is often used in the treatment of cerebral palsy. We use a number of OT techniques to help your child learn to develop fine motor skills that are needed to function on a daily basis at home or in school. We’ll use a variety of therapies during OT that will help your child learn to overcome any sensory issues, help your child learn to feed him or herself, and ensure that his or her maximum level of functioning is reached.
Speech therapy is provided to children who have cerebral palsy to help them overcome any problems in communication. If communication is challenging enough for them, we may use a computer that is equipped with certain types of input devices, as well as a speech synthesizer to help your child communicate with you. Speech therapy will also help your child with any eating problems relating to swallowing, chewing, and pocketing food.
As a holistic treatment center designed to treat all of the child’s needs, we offer a variety of methods beyond normal therapeutic approaches to help your child reach his or her fullest potential. These may include:
- Nutritional counseling and nutritional meal planning
- Therapy gyms
- Sensory rooms
- Handwriting Without Tears
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
Ascent Children’s Health Services provides a wide array of services designed to meet all of the needs of the children who come to us for help. Our Child Health Management Services (CHMS) offers both day treatment and outpatient services for children who have developmental delays. Our Rehabilitative Services for Persons with Mental Illness (RSPMI) also offers outpatient programs and a day program for children struggling with mental illnesses. We also offer a summer program & school-based program in which we work with school counselors to help children in need of mental health services.
At least once per year, our treatment team will reassess your child to make certain all treatment goals are being met and to determine whether or not your child still requires our services. Your child will undergo the same evaluations as he or she did when first entering our program. If it is deemed that your child no longer requires our services, we will help you to transition away from our care and onto different types of services.