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Pediatric Diagnosis Spotlight: Cerebral Palsy

Meet Samara, a rockstar 8-year-old with cerebral palsy who is working hard in physical therapy to move on her own. She receives physical therapy at our Pawtucket clinic with Dr. Sarah Goldstein PT, DPT.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

The diagnosis of cerebral palsy (CP) is given to children who are presenting with signs of a brain lesion, including tight muscles, disordered or uncoordinated movement, or difficulty with balance. Although the brain lesion that causes CP doesn’t progress over time, children sometimes experience musculoskeletal deformities like muscle contractures and changes to bone structures and joints.

How Physical Therapy Helps Treat Cerebral Palsy

The latest research on CP shows that strength training is important to improve muscle growth in size and length that helps to combat contracture development. It also helps to improve the child’s ability to move purposefully. Every case is unique, with a large range in presentation from a slight difficulty walking to a significant difficulty with independent mobility. That’s why it’s so important for physical therapists to develop an individualized care plan focusing on the goals of the child and their caregiver.

Samara’s Experience with Physical Therapy for Cerebral Palsy