Category Archives for "Resources"

Children With Diasabilities get a place to play

In Chicago area this news story of community organizers making a difference.  A park designed from the ground up with children with disabilities in mind.

"Accessibility provides opportunity for anyone, but especially for children," said Marilyn Weisner. "This accessible park provides an opportunity for children who are differently abled to play and learn, right alongside other children. And that is an invaluable opportunity."

Go read the whole story at the Chicago

2 New Robotic Therapy Helps Children with Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a disability that affects an estimated 8,000 babies each year. This neurological condition can have a lifelong impact on the movement and coordination of the body. Due to the nature of this disability and its affect on the brain and muscles, many children who live with cerebral palsy require a wheelchair or walker to move around. Not only is this technology helping kids move in a more normal fashion, but according to researchers it’s also helping kids with cerebral palsy feel more confident.

Little Girl Benefits From Technology

Jenna Culleeney was born with bleeding in her brain, which caused her to be born with the disability, cerebral palsy. At sixteen weeks she reportedly weighed a mere pound and a half. After having surgery to break and re-set her legs, she was still having trouble to walk says her mother, Nannette.
To help Jenna walk the therapists at Shriners’ Hospital for Children strapped her into a robotic machine that has recently been shown to help children with the disability balance and find a way to walk that works for them. The legs of the machine have been specially designed for children’s legs.

Therapy Details

The machine enables children to repeat the same motion on a consistent basis. This helps their muscles become stronger and even increases their endurance. There are currently six centers across the United States that are using this type of robotic therapy for children with the cerebral palsy disability.


1 Recycled Goods Used for Therapy

Making crafts has long been used by occupational therapists to help patients with mental and physical disabilities. Well what better way to create various objects through therapy than with various recycled goods? At the recycling therapist you can find different ways to be creative with your patients with the use of recycled materials.

Oftentimes patients aren’t willing to talk openly about a disability they may have. Or they can be in denial and be not willing to share any information about the challenges they face and in some cases, they may be unable to verbally communicate their problem. But through crafts their physical therapist is able to detect any disabilities or any issues that could be hindering their ability to lead a normal life.

The movements an individual makes when creating something can show a great deal about their neurological and sensory capabilities. Arts and crafts can also give clues about a person’s motor skills.

As a physical therapist when you use recycled goods to work with patients it not only helps with a disability but it can also do a great deal of good for the environment. The materials that are best to use are easily collected, free, and can be used in many unique and versatile ways to create a wide range of things. Not only can you create almost anything with recycled goods, but the products can be used over and over so your patients will have fun while working with them and feel rewarded in the end. The activities talked about throughout the blog are catered more towards adults with disabilities, but overall these crafts can be put together by those of all ages to help improve their fine and gross motor skills. There’s no need to waste money and materials to create with, use recycled goods and treat your patients and the environment well!

For more information on fun activities for those with disabilities, please visit


2 Hippotherapy Helps Treat the Disabled

Hippotherapy is a unique treatment that can be used to help both children and adults with a variety of physical, emotional, and communication disabilities. This technique uses the movement of the horse to help with neurological function and sensory processing for those with cerebral palsy, autism, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injuries and more. Hippotherapy is a treatment relies heavily on the actual movement of the horse through therapeutic riding.

How Does Hippotherapy Differ from Therapeutic Riding?

So you many be wondering, how does hippotherapy differ from therapeutic riding? Both of these activities rely on a horse’s movement to stimulate physical, mental, and emotional growth. However, each form of therapy is unique.

Therapeutic Riding is typically taught by a NARHA Certified Instructor and is conducted in a group or private setting. This form of therapy is formulated around teaching the riders to control their horse through various activities that help encourage the development of cognitive, physical and social skills. Therapeutic riding is commonly conducted in a group setting and is organized according to age, type of disability and level of riding skill. 


Though hippotherapy is similar to therapeutic, there are some main differences. Hippotherapy is instructed by a licensed speech and language therapist, physical therapist, or occupational therapist. It is important that the therapist who is instructing the session is registered with the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA). He or she should also be a NARHA Certified Instructor. The rider works one-on-one with the therapist, which allows for more personal direction and attention. This way the therapy is also specifically directed at the rider’s individual needs and goals.

To get started with hippotherapy talk with your doctor or a therapist about the options available to you in your community.

For more information on hippotherapy and its benefits, visit


Therapies to Treat Cerebral Palsy

Although no cure for cerebral palsy has been found yet, there are various treatments and different therapies that can help improve the lives of those living with the disability. Two forms of therapy that have been proven to help patients with cerebral palsy are hippotherapy and creating crafts.

Hippotherapy is a specialized treatment that can be beneficial to both children and adults who are living with various physical and emotional disabilities. This type of therapy is also unique in the fact that it can help those with speaking and language disabilities. Hippotherapy uses the way a horse moves while walking to help with neurological function and sensory processing. It can help those living with cerebral palsy, autism, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injuries, psychological disorders and more. Unlike other forms of therapy that use horses, hippotherapy doesn’t teach patients riding skills as part of their treatments. Instead, it is dependent on the actually pelvic movement of the horse as it walks to help an individual. To learn more about hippotherapy, visit

Another form of therapy that is widely used on those with cerebral palsy by therapists is the art of craft making. Those with cerebral palsy can’t always verbalize how they’re feeling or specify what challenges them most in their day to day lives. But through activities like making crafts, physical therapists are able to detect these challenges and work on improving them. When someone is creating something their movements can show a great deal about their neurological and sensory capabilities. It can also give clues about the level of a person’s motor skills. To learn more about this form of therapy and how you can create crafts using recycled materials visit

Both of these therapies can not only help patients living with cerebral palsy, but they can also be beneficial to those living with multiple sclerosis, brain injuries, autism, and a variety of other disabilities and physical and mental illnesses.


2 Resources for Cerebral Palsy Caregivers

Parents and others who care for a cerebral palsy child often forget to take care of themselves. However, it’s important for caregivers to care for their own well-being – to receive for themselves the care, support, and encouragement they so selflessly give to their child. 

There are numerous resources available for caregivers. One particularly notable resource for family caregivers is the National Family Caregivers Association, or the NFCA. The group’s website helps to connect caregivers, as well as provide them with resources such as:

  • Tips and tools
  • Organizations and agencies with information on insurance, respite and training for caregivers
  • Advocacy information
  • Newsletters and other publications related to caregiving
  • Educational resources
  • More

Check out the NFCA website to see all that it has to offer.


5 What’s New in Disability Activism?

If you’re the parent of a cerebral palsy child or a child with disability, it’s a good idea to stay up-to-date on legislative decisions that may affect your child’s education, health care, and future in general. The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is a great starting point to find out what’s being done for disability rights – and it’s a great starting point for becoming an activist for your child.

Below are some recent news and highlights from the disability community:

  • Confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayer’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court begin on Monday, July 13, 2009. A coalition of disability groups has spoken out in support of Judge Sotomayer, who has a history of justly deciding disability cases.
  • President Barack Obama nominated Alexa Posny for Assistant Secretary for Special Education and the Senate confirmed disability rights leader Kathy Martinez as Assistant Secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).
  • Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced the 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act of 2009, which seeks to ensure that Internet video and telecommunications are accessible to people with disability.
  • July 26, 2009 marks the 19th anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The AAPD plans to celebrate this landmark Act on July 22.

To learn more about cerebral palsy or disability activism, visit the AAPD website or United Cerebral Palsy.

3 Registration Open for 63rd Annual Meeting of the AACPDM

The American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM) will be holding its 63rd annual meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona in September. The meeting is open to healthcare professionals, special education teachers, and anyone else who is interested or involved in the care of a cerebral palsy child.

The theme of this year’s meeting is Frontiers of Innovation: Combining Technology and Therapy to Improve Outcomes and will feature (among other things):

  • Lectures and paper presentations
  • Debates
  • Vendor exhibits
  • Breakfast with the experts
  • Specialty sessions

To find out more about the meeting or to register to attend, visit the AACPDM website.  


8 Coalition Fights for Accessible Technology

Laws intended to make technology more accessible to individuals with disabilities like cerebral palsy, hearing problems and paralysis, for example, are rapidly being outdated because of the rate at which technological advances are made.  To make sure legislative and regulatory safeguards keep pace, a coalition of more than 230 organizations was founded.

COAT is the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology and it has two primary areas of advocacy – communication and video programming access. Specific issues the group is concerned with include:

  • Ensuring 911 calls can be made with Internet and video communications
  • Extending telephone relay service (TRS) obligations to Internet-based providers
  • Making sure Internet-based communications products and services are accessible
  • Extending closed-captioning regulations to Internet-based video programming
  • Requiring accessibility features on video programming devices

Accessible technology is important in our increasingly Internet-driven and technological world. If you would like to learn more about current laws on accessible technology and what’s being done to change these, visit the COAT website.


RESNA Annual Conference This Week!

From June 23rd through the 27th in New Orleans, RESNA (the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America) will be holding its annual conference. The conference is open to anyone interested in issues related to assistive technology (AT) and disability, and it’s a great opportunity for parents of cerebral palsy children to learn more about the latest advances in this field.

Assistive technology is aimed at improving the lives and potential of people with disabilities, and RESNA’s mission is to promote research, development and education to this end.  The society’s annual conference features workshops, instructional courses, product demonstrations and much more.

Learn more about the event by visiting the RESNA website.


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