Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of movement disorders primarily caused by accidental brain damage or brain malformation that occurs before or immediately after birth while an infant’s brain is developing. This is the most common motor disability in childhood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 1 in 323 children in the United States suffers from this disease. Generally, CP affects muscle tone and control, muscle coordination, reflex, posture and overall balance which in turn may restrict a person’s mobility. In certain cases it can also involve hearing disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and vision, speech and hearing problems.
Individuals with cerebral palsy experience lack of muscle control and coordination which may significantly impact their ability to perform routine tasks. Such individuals may largely depend on assistive or accessibility devices to move from place to another. Below mentioned are some of such devices used by individuals with CP –
- Wheelchairs – Wheelchairs are helpful for people who have difficulty in walking. However, due to the spasticity associated with cerebral palsy, not all individuals with this condition will be able to use a manual wheelchair. Powered wheelchairs can prove to be the perfect option in such situations. It is important to explore the different mobility options and select a wheelchair model suiting their specific needs and requirements.
- Grab rails – For people with balance and strength issues, grab bars can be helpful. Generally, they are installed in bathrooms as they provide a solid handhold support.
- Stairlifts – Often, people with CP experience difficulty in climbing staircases in multi storied homes. Stairlifts improve the mobility of people as they enable safe, easy and effortless movement.
- Ceiling lifts – These devices help to easily transfer people with mobility problems, to and from beds to wheelchairs. These are mechanical devices mounted on a sling with a battery-powered motor that simply lifts the person. This lift does not require much space for storage (when not in use) and is the perfect option for buildings that do not have adequate space or room to install a floor lift.
- Elevators – Elevators offer complete accessibility to people with cerebral palsy as these devices allow them to access all areas and levels of the home.
- Walking aids – Walking aids can assist individuals by improving their strength, balance and stability. In addition, it can also increase their confidence in walking.
The above mentioned accessibility devices play a prominent role in increasing the mobility and independence of people with cerebral palsy.