Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder causing disability and developmental disorders in a child.
Cerebral palsy (CP) symptoms appear during the first three years of life, but the severity of this disorder can be accurately assessed at the age of 4-5. The earliest CP symptoms include:
- pathological muscle tone (excessively strained or weak muscles): the child cannot hold his head, stooping when sitting, takes a compelled and inconvenient pose in lying position, crawls in an unusual manner, etc.
- difficulties with swallowing when eating;
- significant delay in development, movement disorders, poor coordination of movements, difficulties with balancing.
An ill child may have problems with vision and hearing, controlling urination and defecation; there might be contractions of joints, backache and convulsions. Delayed physical development does not affect the child’s mental development. Mental retardation is seldom the case in children with cerebral palsy.
Treating cerebral palsy
There are no efficient methods of treating cerebral palsy with medications. Rehabilitation technologies include timely help from various healthcare professionals and special gymnastic exercises.
Rehabilitation treatment of children diagnosed with cerebral palsy may succeed when combined with dolphin therapy in the conditions of trusting contact with trained animals under supervision by a number of specialists: trainer, physical therapist, psychologist (psychotherapist, speech-language pathologist, pedagogue).
When playing with dolphins, the child and the animal build interaction which stimulates visual, tactile and emotional contact and helps develop the child’s motoric and speech skills.
Touching biologically active spots on the child’s body, a dolphin simulates reflexogenous zones of the nervous system. A therapist asks the child to touch the dolphin by hands or feet, complicating the task every next session. Over time, the child gets used to the animal, and they establish contact.
Dolphin therapy also includes hydro massage of internal organs and skin. The dolphin uses its powerful fin to create water flows, and the water itself gives the feeling of weightlessness, relieves pressure on joints and trains muscles, which is especially important in the case of movement disorders.
Emotionally favorable atmosphere of dolphin therapy relieves psychological tension in an ill child. The senses of fear, anger and anxiety give way to activity, initiative, self-confidence, enthusiasm and other positive models of behavior.