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Dystonic Cerebral Palsy

Dystonia is a movement disorder caused by a defect in the brain. The defect may be the result of an injury sustained by the brain, or by abnormal development of the brain when the fetus is in the womb.

Cerebral Palsy Dystonia Symptoms

People with dystonic cerebral palsy have slow writhing movements of the hands, feet, arms or legs which they cannot control. Sometimes, the muscles in the faces of children with this condition are hyperactive, making them grimace or drool.

Patients also may have problems coordinating their facial muscles in order to speak. In addition, they can have trouble sitting up straight or walking. Despite all these problems, children with dystonic cerebral palsy usually have normal intelligence.

Dystonic cerebral palsy is a form of dyskinetic cerebral palsy. Two other types of dyskinetic cerebral palsy are athetoid and choreoathetoid.

Physical Therapy for Cerebral Palsy Patients

Physical therapy that begins soon after a diagnosis is made is of paramount importance. It is the keystone of treating this condition for two primary reasons. The first is to prevent the atrophy of muscles that are not being used. The second is to keep muscles that are in a rigid position from becoming fixed in an abnormal way.

When normal children run and play, they stretch their muscles and tendons. This allows those body structures to keep up with the child's growing, lengthening bones. The bones of children with cerebral palsy who cannot participate in these activities continue to grow, but the muscles cannot stay abreast of this bone growth. Physical therapy as well as orthotics can help to stretch the muscles of these patients.

Occupational Therapy for Cerebral Palsy Patients

Occupational therapy helps to teach the child how to cope with the activities of daily life. The therapist can help the patient learn to eat, dress, brush the teeth, and use the bathroom by herself. This boosts self-esteem and reliance on oneself. In addition, when the child learns to achieve these functions by himself, the parents are relieved of some of the caring for the child's needs.

Recreational therapy for mildly impaired children includes horseback riding, called hippotherapy. Parents of these children often comment that their child's language, sense of well-being and self-confidence improve.

Speech and Language Therapy for Cerebral Palsy Patients

Speech and language therapists, often called speech pathologists, teach children how to improve speech and communication. Problems producing understandable speech exist in about 20 percent of cerebral palsy patients.

Speech therapists teach these children exercises to improve speech, have them repeat certain sounds they may have difficulty with, or instruct them on using new methods of communicating including using computers that have voice synthesizers, or special boards on which the child can place symbols of daily objects and activities to help them communicate.

Help for Parents

If your child is born with dystonic cerebral palsy or any other type of cerebral palsy, you might be eligible for financial support to help pay for a life time of treatments and care. To learn more, please contact our cerebral palsy lawyers today.