Cerebral Palsy and Occupational Therapy

Pediatric occupational therapists address self-care, fine motor, visual motor, gross motor, executive functioning, and social emotional development skills to improve independence in functional daily activities. They work with a variety of diagnoses with cerebral palsy being one of them. 

What is Cerebral Palsy (CP)?

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a neurological diagnosis that affects the development of motor skills. Common characteristics of individuals with a CP diagnosis include atypical muscle tone, upper and lower extremity strength, delayed motor skills, and lack of coordination with muscle movements. 

Skills That OTs Can Address 

  • Fine Motor Development 
  • Gross Motor skills 
  • Motor Planning 
  • Coordination 
  • Upper Extremity Strengthening
  • Range of Motion of the Upper Extremities
  • Adaptations for life skills (if needed) 

Some examples on interventions that address these skills: 

  • Engaging in a toy while lying on their belly or on a dynamic surface (i.e. swing, ball, etc.) to increase upper body and core strength/stability
  • Completing large and small peg puzzles to facilitate grasp and visual motor skills
  • Reaching for items outside of base of support to improve functional range of motion
  • Utilizing adaptations (button hook, universal cuff, etc.) to engage in functional  daily activities (eating, dressing, etc.)

How Does This Help My Child?

By addressing these skill areas, occupational therapists promote increased independence in everyday activities and help address the foundational skills and confidence to complete these activities. The occupational therapist also works closely with parents and caregivers to provide the best support needed for the development of their child. 

Overall, pediatric occupational therapists address multiple areas throughout their sessions and can provide support for many diagnoses including cerebral palsy. 

Would you like to learn more about pediatric occupational therapy in Chicago? Contact Chicago Occupational Therapy or call (773) 980-0300 to learn more about our services and how we can help your child flourish and grow.