While cerebral palsy (pronounced seh-ree-brel pawl-zee) is a blanket term commonly referred to as CP and described by loss or impairment of motor function. Cerebral palsy is actually caused by brain damage. The brain damage is caused by brain injury or abnormal development of the brain that occurs while a child’s brain is still developing — before birth, during birth, or immediately after birth.
Those with cerebral palsy experience mobility, function, posture and balance challenges of varying degrees, and physical therapy – which focuses on basic mobility such as standing, walking, climbing stairs, reaching or operating a wheelchair – is a key element in the multidisciplinary approach to increasing a child’s mobility.
Physical therapy is the rehabilitation of physical impairments by training and strengthening a patient’s large muscles – those in the arms, legs, and abdomen. The goal of physical therapy is to maximize functional control of the body, or increase gross motor function.
The goal of physical therapy is to help individuals:
- develop coordination
- build strength
- improve balance
- maintain flexibility
- optimize physical functioning levels
- maximize independence