Therapy, Education, and Other Treatment Modalities Physical Therapy of Cerebral Palsy
Almost all children with cerebral palsy (CP) will receive therapy and go to school. Most of the therapy has to be orderesd by physicians as part of the medical treatment of the CP. Because education is a universal experience in the lives of these children, it behooves the physicians treating the motor impairments to have some understanding of the educational system. These children often receive therapy as early as in the neonatal intensive care nursery. This early therapy is provided in a medically-based construct. As the children get older, especially over age 3 years, the main intervention shifts to the educational system, and much of this therapy also shifts into the education milieu. As these children enter grade school, except for periods of acute medical treatment, education is predominant with therapy occurring within this context. During the children’s growth and development, the therapists provide the best bridge between the education and medical systems. The final physical and emotional function and independence of these children depends on intervention by both the medical and educational systems; therefore, the bridging effect provided by the therapists is an important aspect. In addition to the standard therapy treatment in education, there are many treatment modalities that are promoted as beneficial for CP treatment. Some of these modalities may start as an alternative medicine approach, such as hippotherapy, but then develop acceptance within traditional medicine.