PE CENTRAL

Adapted Physical Education

Parent Link

CEREBRAL PALSY

 

 

Major Concern #1

 

For children with cerebral palsy safety in play situations is always an issue. When controlled movement is difficult for a child and parents need to start at a young age helping children explore safe play options.

 

Suggestion

 

The pool offers a great environment that with proper supervision and instruction can be the best place for your young child to learn to play. There is no better place to fall than in the pool as long as the child knows basic water safety. Keep in mind that for some children with cerebral palsy, purposeful movement is difficult because of primitive reflexes. An unexpected fall in the pool can lead to reflexive movements that make it impossible for your child to be safe in even shallow water. At an early age, parents have to help children with cerebral palsy learn how to hold their breath and work to move in a way that allows for floating or breathing after falling. Water noodles and other floatation devises are important pieces of adapted equipment that should be used under the supervision of an adult. Use them as teaching tools rather than as safety devices will help children during the learning phases of floating and breathe control. Even children with severe reflex issues can be taught to float on their back and even functional swim strokes. Allow your child opportunities to problem solve and find the best stroke rather than focusing on a traditional stroke. There are many ways to swim.

 

Major Concern #2

 

Inactivity and weight gain that follows puberty will make it hard for children to stay ambulatory later in adolescence and into adulthood.

 

Suggestion

 

Early on, help your child develop physical activity options that are aerobic in nature. It is important that parents keep children with cerebral palsy active during childhood since weight gain may lead to loss of functional skills and more inactivity. Hand cycles and other exercise machines can be used. Develop a reward system for your child where one hundred minutes of physical activity equals a reward. Keep in mind the link between nutrition and physical activity so children do not gain extra weight that may lead to a loss of movement later.