Treatment of Cerebral Palsy

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In 1862, Little1 described a group of children suffering from spastic paralysis. Most of them were thought to be hopeless idiots, although it appeared worthy of mention that some of the children showed evidence of normal intelligence. The possibility of treatment was not considered.

Since that time, however, many patients have benefited by treatment for cerebral palsy.

The aim in treatment is not the same as in other diseases in which the physician attempts to cure the patient. In cerebral palsy the aim is to help the patient, but in very few cases is complete normalcy obtained. Some patients can be taught self help such as feeding and dressing, which may be their only barriers to independence. This independence having been established, several normal persons, formerly in constant attendance on the patient, may be freed for more profitable work.

Because of its nature, several types of specialists are interested in this disease. The neurologist, the orthopedist, the internist, the pediatrician, and the physiatrist* all find aspects of such cases coinciding with their respective fields. Interesting possibilities of treatment are offered by the neurosurgeon,2 and others may add to the knowledge of the condition.

The physiatrist maintains close association with agencies and therapists such as social service and speech therapists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists, and is therefore in a position to coordinate treatment of the patient. Easy access to these fields is almost essential to the management of cerebral palsy, as is the opportunity to consult with other medical specialists. . .



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