A variety of non-drug therapies can help a person with cerebral palsy enhance functional abilities:

 

Physical Therapy

Muscle training and exercises may help your child's strength, flexibility, balance, motor development and mobility. You'll also learn how to safely care for your child's everyday needs at home, such as bathing and feeding your child.

For the first 1 to 2 years after birth, both physical and occupational therapists provide support with issues such as head and trunk control, rolling, and grasping. Later, both types of therapists are involved in wheelchair assessments.

Braces or splints may be recommended for your child. Some of these supports help with function, such as improved walking. Others may stretch stiff muscles to help prevent rigid muscles (contractures).

 

Occupational Therapy

Using alternative strategies and adaptive equipment, occupational therapists work to promote your child's independent participation in daily activities and routines in the home, the school and the community.

Adaptive equipment may include walkers, quadrupedal canes, seating systems or electric wheelchairs.

 

Speech And Language Therapy

Speech-language pathologists can help improve your child's ability to speak clearly or to communicate using sign language.

Speech-language pathologists can also teach your child to use communication devices, such as a computer and voice synthesizer, if communication is difficult.

Another communication device may be a board covered with pictures of items and activities your child may see in daily life. Sentences can be constructed by pointing to the pictures.

Speech therapists may also address difficulties with muscles used in eating and swallowing.

 

Recreational Therapy

Some children may benefit from recreational therapies, such as therapeutic horseback riding. This type of therapy can help improve your child's motor skills, speech and emotional well-being.