Posted on: Monday, May 13th, 2013
The following article is from The Friendship Circle Blog.- Special Needs Resource for Parents and Educators
Like most disabilities, individuals with Cerebral Palsy (CP) have different needs and abilities. While one individual may need a device to help with communicating, another may need special writing tools designed specifically for people with muscle strength problems.
According to United Cerebral Palsy, Assistive Technology (AT) often plays a vital role in the lives of people with disabilities. AT is any item, piece of equipment, or product that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. AT has allowed accessibility for everyone. No one, regardless of their abilities, should be left feeling like they have no independence or confidence. Modern technology offers a plethora of products to assist individuals with CP on a daily basis.
There are four classifications of Cerebral Palsy. Each classification pertains to how the muscles in the body are affected. For example, individuals with Ataxic Cerebral Palsy may have very poor balance and be extremely unsteady when they walk, due to the muscles being too weak.
Depending on the type of Cerebral Palsy, the needs of AT may differ greatly. There are numerous AT products on the market available to individuals with CP.
Here are 10 assistive technology/accessibility product for individuals with Cerebral Palsy.
An individual with spastic CP may have difficulty in walking because of the tight muscles in the hips and legs. When both legs are affected (spastic diplegia), a wheelchair is a popular device for mobility and accessibility. At Convaid, there are a variety of wheelchairs specially designed for individuals with CP. For example, their chair with 30-fixed tilt, headrest, and h-harness are suited for someone with weak trunk muscles, and needs assistance to sit upright.
2. Adaptive Tricycle (for therapeutic cycling)
According to makers of an adaptive tricycle, therapeutic cycling can improve respiration, swallowing and the development of head and trunk control while strengthening anti-gravity muscles, improving eye-hand coordination and self-esteem.
3. Stool Scooters and Standing Equipment
Depending on your child’s life stage and ability, there are products developed for assisting with movement while promoting stability or when difficulty holding themselves in an upright position.
4. Stair Glides/Elevators and Mechanical Lifts
Stair glides and elevators are important devices to have in a home, work or school setting where there may be multiple levels. An individual with CP is often unable to walk or climb stairs with ease. With the use of a glide or elevator, an individual can travel up and down the stairs with independence, safety and ease. A mechanical lift is often helpful for transporting an individual with CP into the bathtub, wheelchair or bed.
5. Car Seats
According to the AmericanAcademy of Pediatrics, there are different regulations to follow when traveling with your special needs child. Depending on their disability, you may need an adaptive car seat. It is important to never adapt a car seat on your own.
6. Adapted Vehicles
Depending on the transportation needs of you and/or your child, an adapted vehicle may be an easier and much safer transportation option. For more information on Adapting Motor Vehicles for People With Disabilities, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
7. Communication Devices
Some individuals with CP have speech problems and are not able to speak due to the muscle spasms in their mouth, throat and tongue. Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) devices allow individuals the ability to communicate in different ways, specialized to their needs, such as signs, letters, pictures, and even a voice.
8. Adaptive Art Supplies
Art can be an effective and powerful form of expression, especially when a child feels limited by a disability. Because there is no right or wrong way to “do art”, individuals with CP may feel confident. Bright Hub Education suggests some excellent ways to make the process of making art more accessible. For example, a child with spastic CP may find it easier to use large markers or paint brushes, as they are easier to grip.
9. Commode and Bath Chairs
The ability to use the toilet may be very empowering for an individual with CP, however, there may need to be modifications made in order to remain safe and hygienic. Bath chairs are also helpful in providing a safe and stress-free bathing experience.
10. Writing tools
There are numerous devices to aid a student with CP in writing. For example, the Steady Write Writing Instrument is designed to improve the handwriting of individuals with shaky handwriting due to involuntary movements.
Improve Life with Accessibility products and assistive technology
Whether you are looking for ways to modify your home to make it wheelchair accessible or looking for products to make daily bath time a little bit easier, there are numerous helpful accessibility products available for individuals with CP. If you know of a product that can help individuals with cerebral palsy please share it in the comment section below.
About the Author
Adrienne Domeier is an avid blogger and freelance writer. She writes primarily in the health, social sciences, and legal fields. She strives to provide relevant and informative content to her readers. You can find her on Google+