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  • Writer's pictureZion Physical Therapy

Cerebal Palsy (CP) Awareness

*WHAT: CP is caused by an injury to the brain (by infection, stroke, trauma, or loss of oxygen) that occurs before, during, or up to two years after birth. No further damage happens after the initial injury but activities such as walking, standing, reaching, sitting, crawling affected by CP can become more difficult as the child grows. *SYMPTOMS: There are different types of CP with symptoms that can appear as soon as a few months old. They include inability to hold head up, difficulty reaching, rolling, sitting, crawling, or walking, tight muscles, muscle weakness which could present as “floppy” muscles in trunk and neck, moving slower compared to other children, lack of coordination, slower than normal growth, trouble speaking, and learning disorders (with normal intelligence). *TREATMENT: Physical Therapy to improve strength, flexibility, positioning, play, self-calming, pain management, and energy conservation. A PT may also recommend braces/equipment to maximize function and health. Kids with CP are especially at risk for not getting enough physical activity, so an individualized exercise program will be designed for the child. If your child has CP, participating in sports are beneficial including swimming, basketball, cycling, bowling, volleyball, and tennis. Engaging in social events with peers is also recommended. *HOME EXERCISES: Here are some exercise ideas to get your child started in a variety of positions including standing, sitting to/from standing, and walking:

Sit to stands from step stool:

Sit to stands from step stool

Standing balance at low table while playing with toys:

Standing balance at low table while playing with toys

Push cart to work on walking:

pushing cart graphic for cerebral palsey

Kick ball with support (if needed) to work on balance and kicking:

graphic of girl kicking ball

Interested in learning more or having your child evaluated by a pediatric PT? Call Zion PT at (212) 353-8693 or email for an assessment and check out this website:

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