Living with cerebral palsy can be hard enough without taking on any extra challenges. But with the right help, those problems are far from insurmountable. No matter how your loved one’s symptoms may manifest, there are a number of useful accessories that you can use to make living with cerebral palsy a little bit simpler. Here are a few different types of tools available to those with cerebral palsy and how they can help make life a little easier.
Managing Cerebral Palsy
Typically diagnosed during early childhood, cerebral palsy is an incurable and permanent condition that results from a brain lesion. Most cases are believed to be the result of an injury near the time of birth, or an abnormal development in the brain. That means the risk factors for cerebral palsy are as varied as negligence, infection, malpractice, and abuse.
The most common symptoms of cerebral palsy include muscle spasticity, muscle rigidity, tremors, difficulty speaking, eating, walking, or swallowing, but the real hallmark of this disease is exactly how distinct each case can be. Symptoms can be limited to one side of the body, one limb, or even utterly unrestrained. While the condition itself won’t get worse with age, there are a number of related conditions that may get better or worse with time, including seizures, oral diseases, incontinence, and difficulties with hearing and vision.
Cerebral Palsy Walking Aids
Have you ever tried to tie your shoes with one hand? For children with cerebral palsy affecting their arm or hand, even putting on footwear can be a daily challenge. Thankfully, there are more solutions today than ever before.
Inspired by a letter from Matthew Walzer, a teenager who suffers from cerebral palsy, Nike has recently developed an innovative new product that makes it possible to tie your shoes with minimal flexibility. Their new shoe uses a slick zipper design that works similarly to wearing a slip-on, but provides all the support of regular Nike footwear. For those with limited function in one or both hands, shoes like these can provide a kind of invaluable independence at any age.
Apps for Cerebral Palsy
For many people, the most difficult symptoms of cerebral palsy are those that impair communication. Having a hard time communicating can be nothing short of extreme frustrating. Luckily, recent years have brought with them a number of excellent cerebral palsy communication aids that can help.
Apps like Proloquo2Go or TapToTalk are capable of producing text-to-speech by typing directly onto the screen of a device, or simply tapping an icon. For kids who need a boost to their vocabulary, fine motor skills, visual processing, or just about anything in-between, there’s an app that can help.
The Steady Write
If shaking or tremors make it more difficult to write, cerebral palsy writing aids like the Steady Write can be used to help cope with reduced dexterity or grasping power. The Steady Write is an adaptive writing instrument that helps encased pens and pencils inside a large triangular base, allowing the writer to maintain stability and smoothing out the kind of shaky penmanship that is often associated with cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s, and other conditions affecting the hands. Whether you’re just teaching your child penmanship, or you’re trying to help smooth out shaky writing, there’s an accessory that can help.
Patient and Ceiling Lifts
Patient transfer lifts are usually as welcomed by kids even more than they are by caregiving adults. If getting in and out of a bed or a wheelchair can be a troublesome ordeal, a lift can make all the difference in the world. While lifts offer the convenience of being manual or power operated, they can also be relatively bulky. That’s why many people prefer ceiling lifts, which are mounted on the ceiling above a bed, removing the storage requirement, and ensuring safe and easy access in and out of bed.
For many people, riding a bike can be an essential part of childhood. And with the right gear, just because you have cerebral palsy doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun of learning to ride. Cerebral palsy mobility aids offer all the stability and balance necessary to make biking as safe as possible for your children.
Of course, the benefits of cycling go far beyond fun. It helps strength the legs, improve balance skills, helps with social interaction, and helps exercise special perception skills. Best of all, adaptive trikes can be powered by the hands, the feet, or both simultaneously. That means that depending on your needs, you can find a bike ready with absolutely everything you need to help your loved one ride with as little risk as possible.
Have you or a loved one with cerebral palsy used any of these items? Have you heard of any other tools that have helped in your day-to-day activities? Let us know in the comments below!