Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects movement, posture, and coordination. It can be a difficult condition to manage, but with the right support and treatment, people with cerebral palsy can lead fulfilling lives. Organizations and support groups provide families affected by cerebral palsy with a sense of community and support. Doctors who specialize in cerebral palsy can diagnose, treat, and provide ongoing care for children with this condition.
These specialists include pediatricians, neurologists, and different types of therapists. Treatment for cerebral palsy cannot be cured, but it can often improve a person's abilities. A comprehensive treatment plan may include physical therapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and medications to prevent seizures. Mechanical aids such as velcro shoes or computerized communication devices can also help people with cerebral palsy overcome the limitations associated with their condition.
Counselors should be aware of the unique needs of their clients with disabilities and create an individual treatment plan to address them. When looking for a therapist or counselor knowledgeable about treating patients with cerebral palsy, it is important to find one who is experienced in working with people with disabilities. The counselor should be familiar with the AA Big Book and other materials that a person with a cognitive disability may not be able to read. They should also be aware of the fear of abandonment and betrayal that many people with disabilities experience. Counselors should not assume that one person's experience will be understood by another, particularly in the case of a person with a cognitive disability.
They should also be aware of personal physical limits and be willing to help adjust wheelchairs or other devices as needed. It is also important to find a therapist or counselor who is familiar with the latest research on cerebral palsy. A study conducted by the Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children's Hospital found that mutations or spelling errors in the genetic code of a specific gene (FRRS1L) caused cerebral palsy in some children. This research has helped doctors better understand the causes of cerebral palsy and develop more effective treatments. Finally, it is important to find a therapist or counselor who is familiar with aftercare services for people with disabilities. Aftercare services are essential for helping people maintain the skills they have learned in treatment.
If aftercare services are not available in the area, counselors should direct clients to tape or book libraries, Internet sites, or other types of self-directed support activities.