Cerebral Palsy Early Intervention2018-05-29T12:20:47+00:00

 Early Intervention

  • Why wait and see is not a good idea

  • What would make me concerned?

  • Why is early intervention so important?

Why wait and see is not a good idea

Out of good intention, others sometimes give false reassurance by saying:

                 “Your baby had a difficult start in life, but time will help.”
                 “Wait and see, time will help things ‘normalise’.”
                  “A baby born prematurely needs time to catch up.”
                  “He’s not able to roll yet.” “Don’t worry, come and see me again in 3 months.”

However, if you are concerned or your infant is diagnosed with, or at risk of having, a neurodevelopmental condition, including CP – don’t wait!

If your baby is showing unexplained and concerning delay or signs of ‘atypical’ development, it is important to intervene early when habits are not yet created. Waiting until later, when the child’s ‘atypical’ coordination strategies will have developed, will create the bad habits that will become the foundation for your child’s future development.

It is never too late to intervene, but the earlier you do so, the more you can influence the child’s future development.

What would make me concerned about my baby?

Are there concerns about your baby and the way your baby is developing?

For example:

  • Do aspects of your baby’s development appear to be delayed?
  • Was your baby born much too early and is developing very differently to other babies of the same chronological age?
  • Are you observing strange posturing (positioning) of parts of the body such as head, hands or ankles?
  • Does your baby have a lack of stability and balance, difficulty in using their arms and hands to reach, or struggle to coordinate their eyes for vision?
  • You were told that your baby suffered a significant haemorrhage brain damage or had a condition that affected the brain in the way coordination might develop?
  • Does your baby:
    • fail to meet the so-called develomental ‘milestones’ for his/her age?
    • look or feel somehow ‘floppy’ or present with some stiffness?
    • startle easily and has difficulties to happily settle again?
    • need to be constantly entertained or is repetitive in the ways to play?

If you have concerns similar to the ones above, do not hesitate to consult our MAES Therapists who are specialised in the development of babies and children and who will be able to:

  • recognise and reasure you if your baby has his own style of development, which varies from the text books but upon examination shows signs that the mechanisms of typical development are well in place.
  • identify specific difficulties that hamper the development of your baby and go through the available treatment options.

Why is early intervention in Cerebral Palsy so important?

Early intervention is crucial when considering the future development of children with neurodevelopmental conditions.

Unless you are trained, at first parents might not notice anything. Symptoms may not yet be obvious and therefore parents will not realise a child is missing skills that are essential to his future development.

Recognising the signs of movement disorders

When a parent starts to notice that the child begins to present ‘atypical’ signs it is usually for two reasons:

  • Either because the child fails to perform activities that are expected of him for his chronological age (e.g. starting to crawl around 6-8 months old),
  • or that the child can perform these tasks but in an unusual way (e.g. standing rigidly, locking knees together and/or with the feet stuck on tiptoes).

A brain anomoly (large or small) will result in specific brain functions being more difficult.

When a particular function is required, the child is likely to attempt to resolve the problem by using another part of the brain to compensate.

When the child uses a particular brain function instead of another one, it might allow the child to perform the intended task, but the execution of that task will be poor, because it is not executed in the ‘typical’ way.

The brain takes easy short cuts and tries to avoid what it finds too difficult to deal with.

The spontaneous way for the brain to develop further is to rely and build upon it’s areas of strength, avoiding those areas of weakness, which progressively takes the child away from the ‘normal’ or typical course of development.

Not forcing the child

This is why MAES Therapy will not randomly stimulate or make the child practise standard activities or exercises that are described in books about ‘typical stages of development’.

Instead, the aim of MAES Therapy is to create a setting to help the child’s brain to engage in activiites that isolate and develop the specific skills the child is missing.

It is never too late to intervene, however the earlier you do so, the more you can influence the child’s future development for the better.

At MAES Therapy we always consider children as whole, capable and competent human beings, appreciating their challenges but finding ways to open the possibilities for different and better outcomes.