Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder that affects mainly the motor functions resulting in impaired body movements and disturbed muscle co-ordination. While there are various treatment options including neurological treatment physical therapy and several other alternative treatment options, newer forms of treatment are always being researched. Let us know about rehab and dance movement therapy for cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage early in childhood during brain development period. The cause of brain tissue damage may be brain injury, infection, malformation or other factors before or after birth of baby.

Rehab for Cerebral Palsy

When considering treatment for cerebral palsy, damage to the brain tissue can’t be fixed; it can only be managed by different rehab therapies to reduce the bad effects. Studies have shown that rehab therapy in different physical and psychological form not only helps to boost self-esteem and mental status but also improves movements and muscle functioning to some extent.

Neuronal plasticity, which is change in structure, organization and function of neurons in response to new experiences, is the chief mechanism behind improvement of muscle activities in cerebral palsy and by therapies and rehabilitation.

Various treatment and different therapies have been found useful in managing cerebral palsy.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy plays an important role in rehabilitation of cerebral palsy. In this special exercises and activities are planned for children of cerebral palsy. This is individually designed according to the impairment to improve motor skills. Physical activities and mobility give strength to the troubled muscles and improve the movements.

Speech – Language Therapy

This therapy is used to improve speech and language of the cerebral palsy child for better communication. It works on motor and sensory functions of the oral muscles and helps to improve speech in patients with cerebral palsy.

Occupational Therapy

This therapy focuses on the betterment of fine motor skills of the children having cerebral palsy. That helps children to perform daily activities like eating, catching an object, toilet habits, dressing himself etc.

Behavioral Therapy

To improve self-esteem and positive thoughts is the main aim of this therapy. Behavioral and emotional problems can be dealt with proper counseling of both the child and parents.

Recreational Therapy

This is most acceptable and successful therapy for rehabilitation of cerebral palsy. It has physical as well as psychologically positive impact. Recreational activities are used to improve motor skills the dependency of these children on others reduces and they become self-efficient to perform their daily life. This is also individually designed according to capacity and requirement of the children.

Since recreation methods are used, this form of therapy is fun along with rehabilitation. Many different forms of recreation therapies are used some are listed below-

  • Animal Therapy – This has proved to be a very successful part of rehabilitation for cerebral palsy. As swimming with dolphin, horse riding etc.
  • Sports Therapy – Children are encouraged to participate in different sports as per their like as basketball, running etc.
  • Cycling Therapy – Cycling not only improves muscle strength, but co-ordination and balance are also positively affected.
  • Play Therapy – Play therapy shows better results on emotional, physical and social front and also improves learning capability.
  • Aqua Therapy – This too is a very effective rehabilitation therapy in which swimming and other aqua sports are promoted.
  • Art Therapy – Children are exposed to different art forms such as dancing, music etc.

Dance Movement Therapy for Cerebral Palsy

Dance movement therapy for cerebral palsy is also a form of recreational therapy where dance steps and movements are used as a treatment modality. This is also known as psychotherapeutic movement. Dance movement therapy is mainly based on the concept that there is strong connection between emotion and motion. The main goal of dance therapy is to promote physical, social and intellectual well-being.

The American Dance Therapy Association defines dance movement therapy as a psychotherapeutic application of dance movement to promote physical, emotional and cognitive wellness of persons. This therapy has been proved beneficial in treatment of cerebral palsy and is one of the important rehabilitation therapies for cerebral palsy.

Dance is supposed to be the way of entertainment and part of regional culture. But it is much more than mere an entertainment tool. Dancing and movements have emotional, cognitive, social and physical impacts. It shows therapeutic effect on the individuals involved in it. Therapist designs special moves and steps as per the requirement and ability of the client. It may be regular dance forms or mixed with yoga and other stretching activities. Dance is the way of expression used for betterment of communication skill also in cerebral palsy.

Benefits of Dance Movement Therapy in Cerebral Palsy

Dance movement therapy is a therapeutic form that has shown many physical, emotional, psychological and social benefits. Some of the important benefits of dance movement therapy for cerebral palsy include

Physical Health Benefits of Dance Movement Therapy for Cerebral Palsy

  • Improvement in physical fitness
  • Muscle strength and co-ordination improvement.
  • Betterment in balance and posture.
  • Reduction of stiffness and flexibility improves.
  • Gradually Movements and motion betters.

Mental Health Benefits of Dance Movement Therapy for Cerebral Palsy

  • Stress reduction.
  • Relaxation and calmness present.
  • Mood swings reduces.
  • Behavioral and cognitive problem resolves.
  • Creativity and thinking capacity improves.
  • Self-worth and self-esteem boosts up.
  • Problem solving skills develop.

Emotional Health Benefits of Dance Movement Therapy for Cerebral Palsy

  • Development of new skills and interests that copes up with the emotional load of the patient.
  • Quality of life improves as emotional strength boosts up.
  • Acceptance to the physical limitation becomes easy.
  • Become more expressive and communication skill develops.
  • Social Benefits of Dance Movement Therapy for Cerebral Palsy
  • Interactions with others improve.
  • Social involvement and inclusion increases.
  • Sense of being normal and one member of community improves social behavior.

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Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: November 23, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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