How long has the Cerebral Palsy (CP) Center been treating children with Cerebral Palsy?

The CP Center has been in existence and has been treating children since 1998.

How many children have been seen at the Center?

The CP Center has seen over 1,500 children of all ages.

How can I find other parents in my community that promote a similar style of care/ management for children with CP?

Ask about a Cerebral Palsy support group at your pediatrician’s office, your child’s school or local children’s hospital. If a support group has not been started, try networking with some of the families at your child’s therapy or sports groups.

How do I find a pediatrician who will be open to a multidisciplinary approach to care such as that promoted by the CP Center? What questions do I need to ask?

Ask the pediatrician if he or she is willing to consult with experts in CP about comprehensive treatment approaches. Has he or she had any previous patients with cerebral palsy and how many?

How do I find a physical therapist in my community who is willing to treat my child?

Find a pediatric physical therapist. The best way to do this is to call your local children’s hospital or pediatrician’s office. It is also good to pursue therapy through your child’s school, especially when relevant to their learning. Find out the therapist’s attitude towards accomplishments, and what kind of innovative ideas he or she has to challenge the child.

How do I know if my child can participate in a sports-based therapy program? At what age can my child begin this type of program?

Any level of disability should not limit a child’s participation in whatever sport he or she has an interest. Many adaptations can be made to accommodate individual needs. Swimming is a great example of an activity that can be done at all ages and with children of varying ability. The age at which a child can participate depends on the specific sport.

What sports programs do you offer at the CP Center?

Through the Carol and Paul Hatfield Cerebral Palsy Sports and Rehabilitation Center we offer all types of sports opportunities. This summer we are conducting a sports day camp, Camp Independence, and we will offer an additional camp this winter. We offer seasonal basketball, swimming, and dance at different times throughout the year. The center hopes to expand its offerings to include ice-skating, skiing, soccer, and track and field.

Fighters with Courage and Power (FCP) is a martial arts program that meets every Saturday morning at United Cerebral Palsy in University City , MO. It is the only martial arts program in the world of its kind, specifically adapted to meet the needs of children with cerebral palsy. Dr. Jan is the founder and president of FCP.

What activities would you suggest if my child doesn’t like sports?

Regardless of your child’s desire to play sports, activities that build muscle strength and use trunk muscles are important. Walking and swimming are two good examples of such activities. Do as much activity in an upright position as possible. Get out on your bicycle or tricycle (even adaptive) and ride, but make sure you wear your helmet!!!

Should my child continue to attend traditional therapy sessions while also participating in a sports-based therapy program?

Yes, definitely!! Your child SHOULD NOT decrease his or her amount of traditional therapy when beginning sports-based therapy. Once your child is actively involved in a sports program, he or she may decide to decrease traditional therapies after consulting your physician and therapists.

How do I know if my child needs orthotics, and if so, where do I go?

Children with CP can have foot deformities, some of which can cause pain. If your child has a foot deformity, especially if he or she is in pain, you may want to look into orthotics to prevent and/or alleviate as much pain as possible. You can start by seeing your pediatric physical therapist for evaluation of orthotic needs. If you are not currently seeing a physical therapist, you will need to obtain a prescription from your physician. Orthotics are generally made by a physical therapist or an orthotist. It is extremely important that you see a reputable orthotist or bracing specialist with knowledge of foot biomechanics. Your physical therapist should be able to point you in the right direction.

Where do I get a lift for my child's shoes?

Leg length discrepancies are common and even seemingly small ones can significantly affect a child’s gait. An orthopedic physician or pedorthotist should be able to provide your child with a lift to help any leg discrepancy. However, it is important that your child be evaluated for hip problems that can cause leg-length discrepancies BEFORE a lift is put on the shoe.

What kind of walkers, gait trainers, canes and standers are the best?

Each child has different needs, so the best device will depend on the specific needs of your child. The best thing to do is to contact a pediatric physical therapist or physician for an equipment assessment.

Will my child be able to drive?

The most important factors that determine this are cognition and vision. Contrary to popular belief, many individuals with motor limitations can drive with an appropriately adapted vehicle with the right training. There are places that offer driving assessments and training when the time is right. Contact an occupational therapist at one of your local facilities to get started.

How do I make sure my child is in the right school?

Your child should be in a school that challenges him/her to their utmost potential cognitively. That may mean he/she is in a regular classroom with an aide, or in a regular classroom most of the day, and pulled out for parts of the day to attend therapy or resource room. Whatever the situation, your child should be provided with the resources needed to participate at a level with his/her peers (ie, aide, computer, communication device, etc.).

Your child should also receive any necessary therapy services to promote improved performance in the school environment (ie, PT, OT and Speech). If these services aren’t provided, you may need to advocate for them. Your neurologist, pediatrician, or caseworker can help you with this.

How do I make sure the environment is accessible at school?

You may ask your current treating therapist(s) to visit the school with you and your child to ensure it is accessible and make any recommendations. These recommendations can even be included in your child’s IEP (individualized education plan).

If I think my child needs a communication device, what should I do?

Ask your pediatrician about an augmentative communication evaluation. This is usually done by an occupational therapist and a speech therapist. They will evaluate your child’s communication abilities and make recommendations for the most appropriate communication method.