Free «Cerebral Palsy Disorder» Essay Paper
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Developmental disability concerns chronic conditions that arise as a result of mental or physical impairment, limiting the mobility, speech, self-help and independent life of the people living with them. Such problems can be discovered early enough and often persist throughout the lifespan of the person. One major developmental disability commonly experienced in the world is cerebral palsy, which effects the individual’s mobility and ability to maintain balance (Herskind, Greisen & Nielsen, 2014). This paper provides guidance to the families and parents living with people who suffer from cerebral palsy disorder, particularly regarding early intervention, their inclusion in education programs, and the options for their transition into adulthood.
Description Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a movement disorder detected in early childhood, in which the victim is unable to control their posture and balance. Some of the symptoms include poor coordination of the body, especially the limbs, stiff and weak muscles that cannot hold the weight of the body, speech impairment, and tremors of different parts of the body, sensation problems, as well as hearing and vision problems. Usually the babies suffering from cerebral palsy require more time to sit, crawl, roll over, or walk as compared to the normal babies and are unable to think or reason properly. The disorder is attributed to the abnormal development of the brain or injury on the part of the brain that control body balance and movement (Mijna, 2014). Injuries to the brain may occur during pregnancy, during childbirth or soon after the birth. Other causing factors may include premature birth, exposure of the mother to substances like methyl mercury during pregnancy.
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Early Intervention Process
Cerebral palsy can be prevented through immunization of the mother during pregnancy and through undertaking safety measures that prevent head injuries of the baby. For the parents with a child suffering from cerebral palsy disorder, supportive treatment measures, such as administering medications, physical therapy, and speech therapy, can be offered in order to make the child’s condition improve since there is no cure to the disorder (Herskind, Greisen & Nielsen, 2014). Some of the drugs prescribed to relax stiff muscles include diazepam, botulinum toxin, and baclofen. Based on the advice of the doctor, a surgery may be considered either to cut the excessive nerves or to lengthen the short muscles that hamper the movement. Physiotherapy can also be done to strengthen the weak muscles and external braces are also used to support weaker limbs for the victim to stand and walk. The intervention process is outlined below.
Parents are expected to observe the existence of any developmental delays of the child. This means that the child will either fail to develop particular skills within the specified time period or the child will develop movement skills before the specified time. In this case, the parents need to observe the muscle tone of the child if very tight or overly relaxed, observe if the child is able to reach for toys within four months, able to sit and walk within 7 and 14 months respectively and whether the child is able to roll. Other indicators include observing if the child appears to see, focus, and hear, able to easily swallow, experiencing seizure, and having gastrointestinal problems (CDC, 2013).
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After noticing irregular developments, the parents then seek the diagnosis of a pediatrician for further examination in order to identify potential impairments. The pediatrician evaluates the tonic reflex when the baby is around four months, evaluates the child’s supine position, prone position and whether the child has ability to maintain upright position (Hilderley & Rhind, 2012). The evaluation also includes reviewing the medical history of the parents for possible genetic and nervous system disorders, metabolic disorders that could instigate the disorder on the baby.
To confirm the physical observations, corresponding tests need to be done as part of the diagnosis. The infants, who test positive on neuroimaging, such as CT Scan, cranial ultrasound, and MRIs confirms the cerebral palsy since the test allows the doctors to see any damage or disorder in the brain. Eventually, the child is also tested on cognitive, physical, and behavioral development, including being recommended to an orthopedic surgeon, to determine the level of motor development and the primitive reflexes. These multiple observations and test are performed to eliminate any doubt about the condition of cerebral palsy disorder in order to avoid misdiagnosis (CDC, 2013). The parents need to understand that early diagnosis facilitates early intervention and treatments. In order to take precaution, the parents are advised to seek second opinion to truly ascertain that the diagnosis is accurate.
Upon confirmation of the diagnosis, the parents must envisage a care team and treatment processes in the short term and in the long term. The treatment team may comprise of different professionals from diverse specialties, such as pediatricians to care for the child from birth to the early adulthood. Moreover, there will be required help of neurologists to review constantly the nervous system disorders and brain injuries or malformation that resulted into the cerebral palsy, ophthalmologists for the visual problems, orthopedic surgeons to handle the motor development disorders, and geneticists who will advise on heredity disorders (CDC, 2013). The parents also need to envisage the daily caregivers and may seek the help of supporting organizations. Finally, the parents should inform the educators about the child’s condition by involving special education staff, teachers, and to hire speech therapists if necessary.
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Children with cerebral palsy may be slow learners as compared to normal children and, therefore, they need a lot of patience to be able to learn. However, it is noted that their learning process is the most successful when they are involved in the mainstream classroom learning environment where they interact with their peers (Herskind, Greisen & Nielsen, 2014). Despite this fact, the teachers, parents, and therapists need to adopt an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for such a child. The plan should seek understanding the degree of the condition and the performance level of the child in various subjects in order to alternate the teaching with therapeutic sessions. It also requires modification of the classroom to allow their weak motor development and providing right equipment to assist the child with CP assume proper position.
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The education should also include changing positions to ensure that the tight muscles straighten. The teachers and parents need to ensure that the IEP is conducive to the child learning process considering the capabilities and limitations of the child. This will help avoid unrealistic expectations, which will frustrate and demoralize the child. Inclusion education also concerns involving the children in the physical education (PE) programs in the mainstream school to improve their participation, which influences their mental muscle growth. Physical activity is firmly recommended by orthopedics and is of vital benefit to children with CP disorders, though the activity must be within the limits of the child administered step-by-step (Hilderley & Rhind, 2012).
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The inclusion education through the IEP also needs to offer therapy services to the children with cerebral palsy. This is an additional service not received by the normal children, which may include physical, speech, and occupational therapy with the help of specialist in these fields. The speech therapist trains the child to communicate well while at school and to be able to identify themselves with their peers.
Public School Transition
The transition of children with cerebral palsy from elementary to high school must be managed carefully in order to avoid rejection and withdrawal from the curriculum. Some of the trainings ensuring smooth transition include training the child to finish work, to be more independent, to work with the child as early as possible in order to identify an extracurricular activity they enjoy. The children should also train in the social aspect to ensure that they can easily interact with others and to be able to make friends at school. The socialization can be provided though arrangement of different meetings with the high school teachers, parents, adolescents, and students admitted to the school before the victim of CP joins the school. This will allow familiarization with the new environment. Through all stages of growth, the parents and teachers need to reward the child’s least achievement in order to motivate the child that they are as capable as the rest.
The transition into adulthood also needs to be managed smoothly in order the adolescents with cerebral palsy have confidence in themselves to face life and interact with others. This can be facilitated by offering job trainings and learning how to lead independent life. Both the parents and teachers, especially the specific educational teams need to develop transition plan administered from age of 16, which evaluates the ability of young adults to embrace adulthood on independent life skills. The program considers whether the adolescents with cerebral palsy have social skills that will enable them to take advantage of personal and professional opportunities (Jones, Rodger, Ziviani & Boyd, 2014).
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This paper concentrated on the children with cerebral palsy disorder as a developmental disability. The disorder arises from brain damage or improper development leading to the condition of the patient when he is unable to control his movement, posture, and balance. The paper offers guidance to the families and parents living with people who suffer from cerebral palsy disorder. These instructions particularly refer to the early intervention processes though parental and clinical observations, developing a care program that involves all the relevant specialists, adopting an inclusive education programs, and the options of their smooth transition to the public schools and, finally, into adulthood.