Treatment of Cerebral Palsy: Specialist Directory
Specialists Treating Cerebral Palsy
What follows is a explanation of 17 different specialists treating the effects of cerebral palsy.
It has been noted that roughly 20 percent, or one fifth of children with cerebral palsy suffer from hearing loss. Typically the hearing loss is sensorineural. Beyond that, not much research has been done to date on hearing loss and cerebral palsy. It is important, however, that children with cerebral palsy also have their hearing assessed by an audiologist, especially if they also have a visual impairment.
An audiologist specializes in testing hearing impairment. Because hearing loss is so prevalent among people with cerebral palsy, hearing aids are quite common in the CP community. An audiologist is responsible for the maintenance, prescription and development of hearing aid devices.
A Clinical psychologist is a therapist who deals with mental and emotional disorders. During different stages of the child's development, there will be times when it is beneficial for them to have someone who is not a family member or a caregiver with whom they can discuss their feelings and frustrations.
A developmental pediatrician is a pediatrician that has special training in the evaluation and care of infants who are having difficulty doing what other children their age are able to do. They are trained to evaluate the level of functioning for each infant through a series of developmental tests. They will also help to locate resources within each community to provide therapies to help infants and children in meeting milestones. There might be overlap in what they do with neurologists.
Developmental pediatricians work closely with nurse practitioners and/or occupational therapists/physical therapists to decide on the best therapies for each child.
Infant development is a term that means, ''the physical, motor, mental, emotional, and social growth of a baby.'' Babies who spend time in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU), or who have trouble developing from some other cause, may need assistance with that development. The goal of a developmental pediatrician is to work with the parents and the child's physician to help maximize the child's potential. Research shows that early developmental intervention has a significant influence on the child's potential. If a child requires additional help in any area, the child will be referred to the kind of specialist needed.
Specialized testing performed by a developmental pediatrician is used to monitor abilities that will later be related to the child's performance in a variety of areas. This includes assessment of: muscle tone and symmetry of movement to determine any need for adaptive equipment or medical intervention as the child grows; language acquisition to determine if the child's speech is developing appropriately. A speech-language pathologist can use this information to identify needed skills; Gross motor skills such as crawling, sitting and walking; fine motor skills such as grasping with fingers and hands; and appropriate play.
This test will also provide information on behavioral development. Following this assessment, recommendations regarding developmental activities and interventions will be provided. The child's family and doctor should find this information helpful in seeking out appropriate intervention services or providing information to existing service providers.
The developmental pediatrician, and sometimes the neurologist, is often the first to diagnose a developmental disability like cerebral palsy. While your child will have more than one pediatrician, the developmental pediatrician is for the most part only focused on your child’s development, as opposed to the entire body, as his or her general pediatrician will be.
There is much overlap with the description of the developmental pediatrician. A neurodevelopmental pediatrician is a pediatrician that has special training in the evaluation and care of infants who are having difficulty doing what other children their age are able to do in addition to the neurological training important for treating children whose developmental difficulties stem from brain damage or trauma. They are trained to evaluate the level of functioning for each infant through a series of developmental tests.
Neurologists play a key role in the diagnoses and treatment of cerebral palsy, as it is a neurological condition. They are usually the ones to diagnose a condition such as cerebral palsy, and, along with the primary physician, neurologists are leaders in the interdisciplinary healthcare team established for each patient.
Seizures can be quite a debilitating aspect of cerebral palsy, and it falls under the neurologist’s jurisdiction to treat such problems. EEGs are a common procedure ordered by neurologists to determine what abnormal activity might be present in the brain that would be causing seizures. Upon interpretation of the EEG, the neurologist may prescribe drugs to control seizures, such as Valium or lorazepam, also known as Atican.
If neurosurgery is to be considered, the patient’s neurologist will usually decide whether or not it is necessary, and they will be an integral part of the patient’s treatment both before and after surgery. Surgeries that may be considered for a cerebral palsied person are a dorsal rhizotomy or placing a brain shunt for hydrocephalus
What we put into our bodies has a profound effect on how they function. People with special needs, such as a person with cerebral palsy, may not be able to eat as easily as a person without such a disability. A nutritionist’s opinion may be sought out in such a case to make sure the person is receiving adequate nutrients. To do this, the nutritionist may monitor how a specific child compares to what is considered normal height and weight for a certain age. The nutritionist assesses feeding history, dietary intake, and blood tests that reflect nutritional status in order to determine whether the child has nutritional deficiencies. For a child with cerebral palsy, a nutritionist will advise the parents about methods and specific types of food that will provide proper nutrition and meet the daily requirements for caloric intake.
The occupational therapist is one of the most important members of the interdisciplinary healthcare team that treats a patient with cerebral palsy. The job of an occupational therapist is to hone the ability of the fine-motor skills and small muscles, which include hands, feet, mouth, fingers and toes. An occupational therapist will likely advise you and your child on easier methods of feeding, dressing and everyday mobility. They will also help you find the specialized equipment your child needs to help him in everyday activities, such as modified spoons and cups for easier feeding, toys that will help the development of motor skills and seats, wheelchairs, pushchairs, standing frames, walking frames and side lying boards that will help improve your child’s mobility, posture, etc.
It is also the job of an occupational therapist to help make your home and community accessible to your child. Many adaptations may needs to be accommodated in order for your child to reach his maximum level of independence.
A physician specialist expert in the treatment of diseases of the eyeball and retina. A large percentage of children with cerebral palsy have weak and/or uncoordinated eye muscles which can result in a number of conditions like cross or wandering eyes.
An otorhinolaryngologist, Medical specialist relating to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, malformations and injuries of the ear, nasal passages and pharynx. This specialty is commonly referred to as and ENT. (Ear, Nose, Throat) Children with CP can have a lack of coordination in the muscles of the pharynx which can make actions like swallowing and eating difficult.
Physical therapy is one of the most important aspects of cerebral palsy therapy. The referral to the physical therapist is often the first referral made in a cerebral palsied child’s treatment. The job of the physical therapist is to help a child’s mobility to develop and to carry out and teach exercises designed to avoid contractures, bone deformity and unwanted movement. In general, they are trained to work with your child to enable him or her to obtain maximum physical function.
Physical therapists tend to focus mainly on activities involving the legs, such as walking, braces, using crutches and rehabilitation after a surgery. Much of what the physical therapist will do in their treatment program will be exercises that the parents are able to perform at home, making it a less daunting task to help the child’s development. The physical therapist will also be responsible for oromotor skills, functional skills, pain management, gait analysis and training, balance, fitness, posture and biomechanical alignmen
Play therapy can have different meanings and focuses depending on the needs of the child. For children without disabilities it most often refers to a type of behavior modification that is used to improve emotional and social development; reduce aggression; improve cooperation with others; assist a child in processing a traumatic event or prepare for an upcoming event such as surgery. For children with Cerebral Palsy, play therapy has the added aspect of developing physical skills.
Speech and language therapist
The speech pathologist is primarily concerned with a child’s communication. They are concerned with establishing how a child understands language, whether he or she can understand verbal instructions or whether he or she needs clues from his or her environment to understand what is going on around them. The speech pathologist will give the child some means of communication with the outside world within what he has already accomplished in his communicative abilities. This might be through activities that encourage speech, signing, electronic aids or even a picture board.
Speech pathologists frequently help the child and his or her family to establish normal feeding patterns, as there is much research that suggests a correlation between good feeding patterns and the eventual possibility of developing normal speech.
Even if a child with cerebral palsy is able to speak well, a speech pathologist can assist them by helping to make speech clearer and easier to understand, or on building their language skills by expanding their vocabulary, learning to speak in sentences, or improving their listening skills.
Alternative systems of care for cerebral palsy generally prefer to observe the whole person. Symptoms are seen in the context of a person’s overall physical and emotional health. They also attempt to examine and treat causes, rather than symptoms. To do this, alternative practitioners will take detailed histories of their patients and will seek to identify the central weakness which may be causing a chain reaction of ill health and which may be presenting itself as illness in a different part of the body. Acupuncture, massage, homeopathy, herbalism, osteopathy, reflexology aromatherapy, kinesiology, spiritual healing, and yoga are all examples of practiced alternative intervention.
Acupuncture seeks to achieve a balance of ch’i, or energy in the body, of yin and yang. Skin color and body odor will be noted during diagnosis, as well as a patient’s emotions, stresses, fears and strengths. The acupuncturist carries out treatment by stimulating various points along the meridians, or pathways of energy, which enable the ch’i to flow more freely and affect the organ or system identified as causing the problem. The acupuncturist may use a fine needle, acupressure (pressure applied by finger), or moxa (a way of applying heat to a direct area) to stimulate any particular point.
Massage can be quite helpful in treating a vast array of medical problems. While there are many masseuses who are only trained in the art of relaxing muscles, many alternative practitioners are trained in the ways of energy, as well. Often using similar methods as acupuncture, the masseuse may stimulate certain points, often the same points an acupuncturist would stimulate, along one’s meridians in an attempt to allow one’s ch’i to flow more freely, and in doing so treating the patient’s medical problems.
Homeopathy is based on the theory that “like cures like”. A minuscule dose of a preparation, also known as a remedy, is administered that emulates the condition being treated in order to combat the condition. Homeopathy is based in the power of the body’s ability to heal itself, and symptoms are seen as the body’s way of striving to achieve a cure. Therefore, the symptoms must reach an extreme peak of acuity in order for the body to effectively carry out this function. The homeopath (a practitioner of homeopathy) will attempt to find the homeopathic remedy that will address the patient’s symptoms, thereby making them more acute, allowing for the body to enable it’s ability to heal.
Herbalism is the practice of administering natural herbs to treat medical illness. Herbalists have been practicing in most cultures throughout the world and throughout history. Although it fell from favor in many cultures will the fall of paganism, and with it the so-called “witch doctors”, it has regained much of it’s popularity and many of the same herbs are still used today that were used centuries ago. Popular herbalist remedies include: sage, thyme, elderflower, yarrow, hyssop and garlic for respitory infections; chamomile, lemon balm, lime flowers and lavender for sleeplessness and nervous excitability, and comfrey for soothing bruises or rubbed skin.
Home | Cerebral Palsy Causes | Cerebral Palsy Forms | Cerebral Palsy Conditions
Sitemap | Please feel free to
Physical Therapy, Pharmeceuticals, Play Therapy, Speech Therapy and Surgery.