Speech Therapy for Cerebral Palsy during COVID-19

Speech Therapy for Cerebral Palsy during COVID-19

Speech Therapy for Cerebral Palsy during COVID-19

Cerebral Palsy is a condition described by a non progressive insult or malformation of the developing brain, before, at or shortly after birth that results in dysfunction of those parts of the brain that control movement. Individuals for whom the term Cerebral Palsy is used have permanent  impaired functioning of their neuromotor systems acquired before the age of 3 years. The developing brain is most susceptible to damage during the stages of rapid development of the neural mechanisms. A blood brain barrier that protects the brain from infections from the mother develops during the first trimester of pregnancy. The brain is prone to infections during this period. Hence any serious infections to the mother during this time can propose a threat to the foetus’s brain.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy is defined as a non-progressive disorder of motion and posture due to brain insult or injury occurring in the period of early brain growth, generally under three years of age (Lord,1984). These dysfunctions include disturbances in cognition, perception, sensation, classification systems of the clinical types of cerebral palsy exist, many experts currently accept the same major categories of cerebral palsy: spasticity, athetosis and ataxia. Each of these are characterized by different predominating patterns of motor involvement.

Cerebral Palsy can lead to?
Speech therapy exercises that can be tried at home:

Here are some techniques for parents of cerebral palsy children to use at home in this scenario:

1. Prosthetic Management:

Prosthesis to aid articulation are limited. A bite block is a small piece of material (, putty) that is custom fitted to be held between the upper teeth and the lower teeth. Speaking with a bite block in place for children with spastic condition. This helps increased lip and tongue movement and to inhibit jaw opening.



2. Strengthening Exercises:

The jaw can be opened, closed, lateralized, the lips can be rounded, spread, puffed and closed. The tongue can be protruded and pushed against cheeks.



3. Phonetic Placement:

For example, ask the child to blow to facilitate production of /u/. Use the tongue blade instead of the tongue tip when the tongue is markedly weak.




mirror exercise

4. Watch and listen imitation tasks using mirror for placement of tongue and lip movement
5. Contrasting productions of say-lay, pie-why, tap-cap, pop-mop. Intelligibility drills could be attained by reduced articulatory rate and using pause time during speech.



6. Alphabet and Communication boards supplementation can be used pointing the first letter of each spoken word on an alphabet board. There can also be communication boards used to indicate the need and to increase the child’s expression of his/her needs.



7. Hand or finger in pace tapping talking syllable to syllable fashion.

8. Using singing notes during communication can help maintain loudness level
9. Telegraphic structure should avoided but adjusting the length of the sentence using simple and predictive words
Eg: Using the word “Car” instead of “I like the kite, but I like the car toy most” to break down the communication to improve intelligibility.

Read a blog on Enhancing communication with CP

Tips to follow:

  • Using gestures during speech like raising hand can indicate the desire to speak
  •  Monitor listener Comprehension like if the listener admits failure to understand the repairs can be made effectively.
  • Limiting the distance from the speaker while speaking
  • Maintain Eye Contact with the child to understand natural gestures of the head. For example, understanding speech in noise
  • Minimizing the noise, distractions and using effective lighting can help to reduce the stress and fatigue of the child. 

Online speech therapy for Cerebral Palsy.

These Online speech therapy activities for Cerebral Palsy would be of considerate help to the child .However ,seeking professional help such as medical specialists and therapists is always good for your child and helps you to create a child specific treatment plan which needs changes at different stages and help them communicate their needs better. Tele practice in this COVID-19 would be the best option.

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