Equipment Used with CP
Because of the muscle problems kids with CP have, you may see them using some special things to help them get around or do their work at school.
Wheelchairs let kids who cannot walk, or have a lot of trouble walking, move from one place to the next. Many kids with CP can use their arms to roll the wheels of their wheelchair themselves, and can move around school or the playground without much trouble. You may also see a motorized wheelchair. This is a chair that has a motor attached to it that pushes the wheels around. Usually a motorized wheelchair has a handle or joystick (like on video games) that lets the person in the chair start, stop, and steer it.
Some children with CP can walk, but have poor balance and fall alot. They use a walker to help them balance and get around without a wheelchair. A walker is a light metal frame with four legs that the person moves in front of them as they walk. You might also see a walker with wheels on it, and sometimes kids put a bike basket on their walker to hold their stuff.
Adapted Silverware and Pencils
Special handles or grips can be very helpful to someone who has difficulty holding on to small things. Grips or handles are often used on spoons and forks or on pencils and pens to make them easier for the person with CP to hold and use.
When children's speech is very hard to understand, it is easier for them to use a communication aid to talk with others. A communication aid might be a book or poster with pictures that show things the person might want, or an alphabet board that the person can use to spell out their message.
There are also computers used as communication aids that actually talk for the person! Children with CP often are not able to use their hands well enough to use a computer keyboard or a mouse, so they use a switch to operate their computer to talk. You might see kids pushing a switch with their hand, foot, head or chin − whichever is fastest and easiest for them.
You know what a helmet is − just like you wear when you ride your bike − but you may be surprised to see somebody wearing one in school. They are wearing it to protect their head in case they fall while walking (remember, balance may be a problem) or have a seizure and fall to the ground.