Coping with Cerebral Palsy

While Cerebral Palsy cannot be cured, many patients can enjoy near-normal lives, due to medical research, if their neurological problems are properly managed. There is no standard therapy that works for all patients. Instead, the family and physician must work with a team of health care professionals to identify a child's unique needs and impairments and then to create an individual
treatment plan that addresses them.

Some approaches that can be included in this plan are:

  • drugs to control seizures and muscle spasms,
  • special braces to compensate for muscle imbalance,
  • surgery,
  • mechanical aids to help overcome impairments,
  • counseling for emotional and psychological needs,
  • physical, occupational, speech, and behavioral therapy.

In general, the earlier treatment begins, the better chance a child has of overcoming developmental disabilities or learning new ways to accomplish difficult tasks.

Individuals who have cerebral palsy and their family or caregivers are also key members of the treatment team, and they should be intimately involved in all steps of planning, making decisions, and applying treatments. Studies have shown that family support and personal determination are two of the most important predictors of which individuals with cerebral palsy will achieve their long-term goals.