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Teaching strategies for cerebral palsy

Teaching Strategies / July 4, 2017

Cerebral palsy is a non-progressive neurological disorder that begins in utero, in infancy, or during the child’s formative developmental period, which is within the first three years of life. Cerebral Palsy (CP) permanently impacts body movement and muscle coordination. This disorder is caused by damage to areas of the brain that control movement.

A common type of CP is ataxia, which is a lack of muscle coordination that occurs when an individual attempts to perform voluntary movements. Spasticity is caused by stiff or tight musculature and exaggerated reflexes. Individuals with this type of CP often walk with one foot or leg dragging the ground, walk on both toes, or walk with a cross-legged gait, while some are non-ambulatory. Another type of CP is caused by low muscle tone. Some common causes of cerebral palsy are limited oxygen to the brain during the birthing process, brain infections that occur early in life, head injuries such as falls, or shaken baby syndrome.

Cerebral palsy is associated with symptoms that include speech difficulties, inability to dress or eat independently, and difficulties with walking and bodily movement. A number of children who have CP do not experience mental challenges, and some of these children are highly intelligent. In many cases, placement in the general classroom during the school years is appropriate. When this occurs, it is important to be aware of effective teaching strategies for students with cerebral palsy.