Cerebral Palsy Assistive Technology
Assistive technology makes the world that we all live in more available to the patient with cerebral palsy (CP). People without disability don't think twice about speaking, moving from one space to another, picking up a fork, or buttoning clothes. CP patients vary greatly in their abilities, but these simple tasks can present great challenges to the disabled individual.
Assistive technologies are important for helping people with cerebral palsy achieve greater independence.
Cerebral Palsy Assistive Devices
Assistive devices can be complex, such as a computer-aided voice synthesizer and other types of augmentative communication, or a specialized wheelchair that moves in any direction with the slight push of a lever. Some high tech computers have a screen operated by eye movement. Other devices can be simple, like a door handle designed for people with impaired dexterity or weak muscles, or a Velcro-attached grip for a spoon or pencil.
Such technologies, whether high-tech or low-tech have vastly improved the lives of people with cerebral palsy. They have allowed them to move about, talk with friends, participate in recreational and social events, attend school and ask the teacher questions or spend satisfying time with friends.
Some devices help persons with CP turn on and off electrical switches by having the switches respond to just slight pressure.
Some assistive technologies for CP patients include:
- Environmental aides such as special light switches, door handles, motorized lifts for getting into or out of bed or the bath tub, and grab bars or rails around the toilet or bathtub
- Equipment to help position a child to enhance their ability to eat, drink, or digest their food, or to sit or stand more easily
- Hearing aides
- Talking books
- Automatic page turners
- Braille readers
- Special computer software programs
- Velcro closures instead of buttons or zippers on clothing
- Combs with long handles
- Special computers, ramps, or telephone headsets allow more opportunities for work
- Special wheelchairs for organized sports
- Tricycles and bicycles for children who use wheelchairs
- Bowling balls with special handles
- Exercise machines to challenge the upper and lower body as well as arms and legs
Because a person's need for equipment will change over his or her lifetime, it may be better to rent or borrow some devices than to buy them.
Cerebral Palsy Assistive Resources
Hundreds of resources are available for persons with cerebral palsy and their parents, and families. Many of these resources have programs to help people find and secure assistive technology aids. The following list of resources will help you identify programs and sources of help in finding assistive technology services:
- Bellows Fund: This group provides funds to United Cerebral Palsy affiliates to buy assistive technology equipment for persons with CP
- One-Stop Resource Guide: UCP has developed these guides to assistive technology for individual states. Click here to find your state.
- The UCP home page has links to a wealth of information and lists of dozens of resources for CP patients.
For more helpful resources, please contact us today.
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