Saturday, 1 September 2012
There are many views on what can be done to help kids and adults with Cerebral Palsy. The options vary widely, but everyone agrees on one thing.
There is no cure.
So while other parents of "sick" children look for ways to cure their conditions a parent of a CP child searches for ways to improve their abilities.
This is mostly achieved through physical therapies. Bree sees a number of people for therapy sessions including a Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist and a Speech Therapist.
Every day we spend time doing some form of therapy with Bree. This is to help her learn to use her muscles properly. We attempt to correct her movements by teaching her brain a new way to do things.
It is a medical and scientific fact that the brain is "plastic". It is always developing. When a baby first learns to put their fist to their mouth it is by accident, however by attempting that same movement over and over (say a hundred times) the brain develops "pathways" which eventually allow them to do it with ease.
This is true in all cases of development and learning. The body has to do the exact same thing again and again for the brain to "remember" it. That seemingly simple movement your eyes are making right now as you read this is only possible because the brain developed a pathway early in your life to allow you to deliberately scan left to right.
In the case of a child with Cerebral Palsy the areas of the brain dedicated to "remembering" these movements are either absent or remarkably thin. It is for this reason that a person with CP has much, much more difficulty in controlling their movements. Through therapies children learn how to use their bodies. Through thousands of repetitive movements of the exact same nature their brain eventually develops new pathways to remember.
So you can see how a child with Severe Cerebral Palsy (that affects all of their muscle movement) achieving something as simple as deliberately reaching for a toy is such a HUGE deal.
We have long aspired to having Bree walk, we are a long way from seeing this become a reality, but we refuse to let anyone tell us it's not possible.
There is a lot involved in this dream! A lot of hard work! A lot of therapy! A lot of determination!
Bree has just been given the opportunity to attend a 4 week Intensive Physiotherapy Program which uses a specialised suit (soft dynamic proproceptive orthosis) called a TheraSuit. This suit will hold her body in the correct position to enable her to perform activities as they are meant to be done.
By wearing this suit for all of the therapy sessions she will be maintaining the exact same position every time.
This is a massive step forward in teaching her brain to remember and we are expecting great things from the program.
We will also be given the opportunity to purchase the suit and use it in our own therapy routines once we have completed the course. Which of course we will!
This is so exciting...
and so expensive...
The suit alone costs upwards of $2500.
A week of therapy is also $2500.
so 4 weeks of therapy plus the suit will set us back around $12 500 and that's without travel and accommodation costs!
But it is so worth it!!
If you could give your child the opportunity to gain control over their own body wouldn't you do it?