Written by an experienced physical therapist, this practical guide gives parents the keys they need to help their child with cerebral palsy or another developmental delay master gross motor skills beginning in infancy. Organised in the sequence children acquire gross motor skills, this guide explains how motor development unfolds, and how cerebral palsy can affect this development. There are dozens of illustrated exercises that can help children gradually strengthen back, neck and tummy muscles and then master motor skills, such as head control, sitting, crawling, standing, and walking. While parents can and should practice these exercises at home, the author stresses how success is dependent on parents and therapist working together. Real-life vignettes provide examples of how parents, children, and physical therapists interact, what difficulties can arise and how to try and work through them. The author guides parents step-by-step through techniques and practical exercises that address such issues as: head control; muscle tone; proper positioning; involuntary movements; stretching and flexibility; balance and coordination; strength training.
Each chapter includes a section of frequently asked questions by parents, and the final chapter covers important topics such as the medical management of spasticity, serial casting, bracing, neuromuscular electrical stimulation and surface electromyography. Consistent and regular practice of motor exercises is crucial for a child with CP to reach their motor potential; this practical guide makes it easy for parents and other caregivers to reinforce at home the exercises introduced by a child's physical therapist. The target audience are parents of children with cerebral palsy, physical therapists (PTs), - especially pediatric PTs - Occupational Therapists (OTs), early intervention professionals and teachers.