Adolescents – Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is a non-progressive, neurological condition. However, children with cerebral palsy will face increasing challenges as they move through their lives. Each new skill they face has to be consciously learned. Due to the nature of the condition, adolescents find it very difficult to apply skills from one situation to another. This can cause them to experience failure but they can enjoy success with the appropriate input.

As the child moves towards adolescence, this input becomes increasingly important. Due to the nature of cerebral palsy, the central nervous system does not have the capacity for adaptation and, just as in childhood, we have to teach the adolescent how to adapt their movement to their new, emerging adult body. If the adolescent is taught how to control and understand this new body, he/she will be able to continue to develop skills throughout life.

Aims

  • Create an inspiring, motivating and positive atmosphere in order that adolescents continue to enjoy learning.
  • Increase in level of independence, social and daily living skills.
  • Increase confidence in their own abilities.
  • Improve bodily control and mobility further, discovering and maintaining symmetrical positions with their emerging body.
  • Prevent deformities and contractures, and maintain range of movements and flexibility in joints and ligaments.
  • Increase range of movement and maintain previously gained skills.
  • Learn techniques to enable active involvment in transferring e.g. in and out of wheelchair; transferring in sitting position.
  • Correct and improve walking technique including even weight bearing, the use of ankles when standing and walking.
  • Maintain and increase in stamina.
  • Learn to adapt their movement to their new, emerging bodies.
  • Practical advice for carers/family members.