Adaptive equipment for cerebral palsy patients helps increase mobility and activity.
They encourage children with cerebral palsy to interact with the world around them and realize that they’re capable of doing things on their own.
Adaptive Equipment for Cerebral Palsy
Check out these 10 adaptive tools for cerebral palsy patients! They’ll help improve gross motor skills like walking and fine motor skills like writing or eating.
Children with cerebral palsy may have difficulties walking due to spasticity in their hips and legs.
A wheelchair can help them improve their mobility and get around on their own.
Some people with cerebral palsy might have impaired motor control throughout their upper body, so a power wheelchair or power scooter will be ideal in cases of quadriplegia.
2. Gait Trainer
A gait trainer will help children with cerebral palsy develop their walking skills.
Gait trainers can vary in design; some will come with a built-in harness to prevent falling while others will be designed for postural alignment and support from behind.
A gait trainer allows your child to practice bearing and shifting their body weight. This helps strengthen the muscles and bones and prevents them from atrophying.
3. Universal Cuff
Universal cuffs are extremely versatile and will definitely help children who struggle with their fine motor skills.
They can be attached to objects like toothbrushes, utensils, and pencils. They create a handle or larger grip so that the object is easier to hold.
A universal cuff will help promote children’s independence by encouraging them to practice more tasks on their own.
4. Communication Boards
Some children with cerebral palsy may have speech impairments.
Don’t mistake a speech impairment with an intellectual disability. Many children with speech impairments are very intelligent; they just don’t have the motor control over their oral muscles.
A communication board will promote better speech and language skills by combining sounds with a visual aid.
Generally, a speech-language pathologist will teach your child how to use one.
Check out the video below for an example of how communication boards work.
5. Adaptive Utensils
Adapted utensils will encourage children to eat on their own.
There are a bunch of different types of adaptive utensils for varying levels of motor impairments.
Some adapted utensils will have larger grips so that the handles are easier to hold.
Some might be malleable and bend for children who have difficulties bending their wrists.
Others may have handles or straps that wrap around the arm to prevent being dropped.
6. Nosey Cup
Another adaptive tool that will make feeding children with cerebral palsy easier is a nosey cup.
It’s designed to keep your child from spilling while drinking.
The curved part of the cup allows your child to drink without tilting the cup as much.
7. Leg Lifter
Children with severe motor impairments in their legs but normal upper body control will benefit from using a leg lifter.
They make transferring in and out of wheelchairs super easy.
All your child has to do is place one foot inside the loop and pull the other side of the rope with their arms.
Braces can help keep the body aligned and limit spasticity. They’re available for the neck, torso, arms, and legs.
Braces promote proper form to prevent developmental deformities caused by spasticity and help prevent uncontrollable movements.
They also build strength and gently stretch tight muscles, even when your child is sedentary.
9. Standing Frame
A standing aid will help children with cerebral palsy develop strength in their legs by bearing their own weight.
Standing aids also help promote postural symmetry, circulation to the lower extremities, and muscle endurance so children won’t tire out so quickly.
Slowly but surely, children learn to stabilize themselves in an upright position, which brings them one step closer to standing on their own.
10. Bath Chairs
Kids with CP may find it difficult to sit upright in the bathtub because of poor balance skills and the slippery environment.
A bath chair will help children stay in place during their baths and provide additional neck and back support.
Using Adaptive Tools for Cerebral Palsy
Keep in mind that the purpose of adaptive equipment for cerebral palsy is to encourage your child to be more active and try things on their own.
They should be developing their gross and fine motor skills with the goal of no longer needing adaptive equipment.
The brain’s ability to adapt (neuroplasticity) is promoted through repetition. Therefore, the more your child practices developing these new skills, the easier they will become.
Children’s brains are very malleable and are capable of learning new skills better than adult brains.
Once your child gets comfortable using adaptive tools, find a more challenging alternative or have them try the task without the tool.
While cerebral palsy cannot be reversed, it also will not get worse over time.
By activating neuroplasticity, the brain can rewire itself and learn functions affected by damaged areas of the brain.
Hopefully, this article helped you discover some new adaptive equipment for cerebral palsy and better understand the purpose behind them. Good luck!