Physical therapy (PT) is crucial for helping your child with hydranencephaly to achieve the highest level of development that they are capable of. This does not mean that your child has a specific, pre-determined expectation to achieve, rather that your child will be your guid in helpling determine his or her own schedule of developmental milestones, so please do not be discouraged if one child displays greater abilities than yours in some areas. Just as typically developing children play on varied levels of strengths and weaknesses, the same is true for these children.
PT is the treatment of physical limitations through alternatives to pharmaceutical interventions or surgery. Methods such as heat treatment, bracing, exercise, and heat treatment provide assistance in developing muscle strength, flexibility and range of motion, and even aide with proper bodily functions, such as proper digestion. This approach is most generally developed and taught to you by a certified therapist, to continue on a regular schedule in order to achieve maximum benefits. Additional equipment utilized may include, but is not limited to: braces, exercise balls, swings, weights, standers, walkers and gait trainers, wedges, bolsters, and even common household goods such as sheets, pillows, chairs,and stairs are often used in development of an effective care plan. The value of a consistent schedule is crucial, as you will quickly notice any progress made being completely reversed in a short amount of time. Since your child is not fully capable of purposeful regular movements and mobility, those portions of the body that are not kept fit in active exercise risk the damage of muscle atrophy (deteriation) creating painfullly, stiff muscles and joints. When treatment begins at the earliest age possible, it serves as an invaluable preventative for minimizing the debiliatating effects of disability on the body. Symptoms such as muscle spasticity (tightening) and painful spasms, atrophy (deteriation), deformation of the muscles and/or joints, and decline of muscle and bone growth can only exacerbate the challenges your child faces.
Occupational Therapy (OT) covers an extensive range of personal care and lifestyle skills. Therapists will teach you ways to expand on fine motor skills used in personal care such as feeding, bathing, playing with appropriately adapted toys, and other independence enhancing exercises.
Speech and Language Pathology (SLP) is centered around enhancement of oral motor skills involved with speech and eating. They will teach you oral stimulation exercises to enhance the capabilities of the inner and outer muscles of the mouth to aide in vocalization and food management. Verbal expression development is expanded upon to include sign language, gestures, picture boards, and adapted electronic devices to make effective communication a possibility.
Vision therapy helps develop the skills that individuals have to view and process the things you see in world around you. Many children with hydranencephaly are lacking the cerebral connections of the optic nerve, or have limited strength of communication to the brain, prompting doctors to predict bindness. Despite the medical explanation for, these children are often able to develop visual strength. The use of many various methods to help develop skills such as textures and lights to assist with focusing and learning ways to develop and mature vision. Trained vision specialists with work with the examination results from your child's opthalmologist to create a custom treatment plan. Exercises will consist of tracking and focusing of lights and colors to strengthen the muscles of the eyes, as well as other appropriate methods to enhance his or her visual capabilities.
Music therapy is a lesser known therapy method that uses music to stimulate the child to assist with all areas of development and learning. Music in correlation to another therapy, such as PT, proves to be a great combination.
Animal therapy is having the use of animals such as horses, dogs, cats, and many other animals to assist and stimulate the recipient with physical, sound, occupational, speech, and pretty much all other types of therapy with the added soothing benefit of having an animal present which many of our children respond to very positively. Animals are also shown to be sensitive to the unspoken needs of the children, capable of soothing when upset or alerting when in distress.
Developmental therapy works with all the areas of therapy to assist with full developmental or emotional, physical, and mental growth of your child. Rather than establishing a therapy program based upon guidelimes
Water Therapy is the use of water to assist with relaxation and resistance for exercise and muscle development.
Sensory therapy is the use of items that stimulate the various senses. Sensory therapy works best when two or more senses can be stimulated at once. Examples for sensory therapy: lights to stimulate sight, music to stimulat e hearing, and textures to stimulate touch. Many of our families use little rooms for sensory therapy. Little rooms have various items to assist your child with stimulating their senses. The room will contain things such as music, different textures for touch, lights for vision, different aromas for smell. The combination can really get a child interested and looking/moving around. Little rooms can be made in many different ways.