How to battle cerebral palsy in children

Himika Arjuman | Update:

Illustration by PixabayCerebral palsy is a set of disorders that affect one’s movement appearing in early childhood. A child can be affected during birth or within the first two years of life. This is a complex nerve development problem. Head injury, lack of oxygen or convulsions can contribute to the condition.

Complications:

*Movement disorder due to stiff or weak muscles
*Lack of balance in movement
*Difficulty in speaking and communication
*Difficulty in chewing and swallowing
*Intellectual difficulty

*Feeling difficulty
*Learning difficulty
*Behavioural problems

Speech and language therapy may help the affected child to be skilled in communicating and expressing his/herself. This therapy also enables one to exercise muscles of the mouth. Proper posture as well as proper portion and texture of meals, can be learnt through this therapy. Pronunciation, breathing control exercises and regular practice can solve the problem.

Precautions:
1. Expectant mothers should eat properly
2. Diabetes must be controlled
3. Controlling weight as per age
4. Taking medicine prescribed by the physician

Measures
1. Hold single-word conversations with children who have speaking difficulties. For example: Go, eat, give, banana, crying etc.
2. Talk slowly with children who can speak but stutter so that they can see parts of your mouth generating words.
3. Children can have difficulty in word and object association. Teach him various things including glass, plate, fan, bulb, spoon, chair and so on.
4. A number of affected children do not develop speaking skills but can comprehend well. Communication books with pictures of everyday objects can be used for them.
5. A few things should be noted for children having difficulty in swallowing:
*The child must be not fed while s/he is lying or else the food may enter the respiratory tract. S/he must be sat in a 45 degree angle while feeding.
*Water cannot be given during a meal. Once the meal is over, give him/her water.
*Give small proportions of food at a time.
*For children having chewing difficulty, give small amounts of food between the teeth.
*Spend time with your child and play with him.
*Let him/her interact with other children.
*Take your child to various family programmes and different places

*Himika Arjuman is the departmental head of speech and language therapy and research unit, Bangladesh Therapy and Rehabilitation Foundation (BTRF). This piece, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Nusrat Nowrin.

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