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Occupational Therapy for Cerebral Palsy

The symptoms of cerebral palsy can have a profound impact on a child’s everyday life. Occupational therapists can increase a child’s independence, improve their ability to learn and play, enhance their self-esteem, develop a routine, and improve their quality of life. For parents/caregivers, occupational therapists can help decrease the physical demands, reduce stress, provide a sense of security, and allow them to watch their child succeed.

Occupational therapy can help with the following problems related to each type of cerebral palsy:

  • Spastic: This type can lead to difficulty with dressing, toileting, eating, drinking, writing, and holding objects due to the jerky movements and muscle stiffness.

  • Athetoid: Troubles with grasping, posture, swallowing, drooling, and speaking are hard due to the child not being able to regulate their muscle tone

  • Ataxic: Children with ataxic CP often have a difficult time with precise movements and present with tremors. This could inhibit tasks like writing or eating that require precise finger movements.

Occupational Therapy interventions focus on:

  • Fine motor skills

  • Bilateral coordination

  • Upper body strength and stability

  • Crossing midline

  • Visual motor skills

  • Visual perception

  • Self-care skills

  • Incorporation of assistive devices

  • Constraint Induced Movement Therapy

  • Sensory Integration Therapy

Reference: Occupational Therapy for Cerebral Palsy - Improve Daily Skills. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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