Cerebral Palsy, or CP, falls under the category of illnesses that affects an individual’s strength to move and sustain a proper balance and posture. CP is one of the most frequent motor neuron disorders in children. Cerebral denotes having a connection with the brain, while Palsy is a weakness or difficulty engaging the muscles. CP can be caused by unusual development of the brain or any harm to the maturing brain, which alters an individual’s power to control their muscles (Schless et al., 2018).
During the mid-800s, William Little, an English physician, described CP concerning injuries at birth. In the United States, about two people out of 1,000 have Cerebral Palsy (Pickering, 2018). At the same time, other nations have reported higher figures. This study aims to describe Cerebral Palsy, how the disease appears in the classroom, methods a teacher can use to support a learner with Cerebral Palsy, type of class where a learner with Cerebral Palsy can be found, and outline the paraprofessional goals with a CP student.
Obstetric advancement has ensured that the possibility of brain injury is minimized greatly. From the fundamental knowledge in biology, the cerebellum is responsible for maintaining balance, precision, and timing of movements. Individuals with CP have challenges in coordination hence, difficulty walking and moving their limbs (Gunel, 2016). Although Cerebral Palsy disorder mainly refers to movement and tone muscle problems, other disorders may also be present. Brain underdevelopment is sometimes experienced, but it is not regular for all cases.
Other challenges related to Cerebral Palsy include epilepsy, visual disturbance, hearing impairment, language problems, and retarded growth. Advancement in technology and research have resulted in a better understanding of what causes Cerebral Palsy disorder, which is mostly prenatal causes, such as infection. The disease can transmit from the mother to the fetus. Exposure to an environment with toxins and brain growth problems also causes Cerebral Palsy. These causes can be adverse conditions like traumatic birth, premature birth, child abuse, head injury, meningitis, and brain infection. Heredity can also play a role but on rare occasions. Individuals with Cerebral Palsy have a permanent brain injury, and it is impossible to recover fully.
How CP Appears in the Classroom
Children with CP usually have special needs, but the requirements vary from one child to another. Children who live in non-progressive but enduring conditions have inconsequential disabilities, while other children will always strive to be independent. Despite their disabilities, children with CP are rarely considered in activities, for instance, in the classroom. To create inclusive classrooms, teachers need to understand more about children with Cerebral Palsy.
For general education and special education teachers, supplying inclusivity for learners with Cerebral Palsy is essential. These children with disabilities are likely to be exempted from classroom discussions and classroom activities, sports, social events, and recreation. Such children require understanding from teachers who would help them by providing more inclusion. The basic thing educators need to understand about learners with CP is that most do not have IQ deficiency. It is a common fallacy that a kid who struggles to control movements or move also has a cognitive problem. Many students with CP usually have an above-average IQ. It is crucial for teachers to know this information and not presume that a learner with CP is not as academically accomplished.
Equally, the extent of disabilities among students with CP is large. While there are resemblances between students with this condition, there is more disparity because students can walk and others who cannot walk. Such students may have a deficient vision, and other learners are in pain, extreme cognitive deficits, and others have high intelligence. Teachers must realize the capabilities and limitations of every student and not make presumptions. A teacher needs to regard every child individually to be actively involved in the studying process. Assisting becomes simple when a teacher knows a particular student. A teacher can use various important methods to make a friendlier space for a child living with Cerebral Palsy, including improved instructional strategies, which is a unique approach.
How a Teacher can Support a with Cerebral Palsy
Teachers understand that every child learns differently, so modifying content delivery and instruction ensures that each learner is engaged. Modifying is specifically important for a learner with Cerebral Palsy who may strive in ways that others do not. Educators should use small group discussions, direct instruction, quiet reading, computer learning and videos, and all forms of strategies to reach out to every child.
Furthermore, a teacher may ensure no tolerance to bullying since children with disabilities are more likely to experience bullying than their fellows. Teachers can encourage a better environment by having a strong, no-tolerance approach to bullying behavior. It helps if the school has such a policy and the teachers can enforce it, but every classroom can be active about this adverse problem. A teacher needs to tackle any form of discriminatory language, teasing, jokes, and negative attitudes directed at any child to create a more conducive atmosphere.
Classes where children with CP can be Found
A learner with Cerebral Palsy requires special education, which has many different specialties. Depending on the type of school, a child with a disability can be found in one of the following classes. Pull-out services, this type of classroom is for a learner who needs more focused assistance from a speech-language specialist, or another therapist may be pulled out of the class for the personalized group setting.
Inclusive classrooms will have a combination of children with different abilities and co-teachers in the same room that accepts students with special needs to acquire additional assistance they need while staying in a traditional classroom setting. Specialty schools are schools where a learner with severe cognitive disabilities and certain physical challenges may be admitted into a specialty school where a very low learner can attain personal needs to staff ratio. The learner can get speech, occupational, and cognitive services and utilize the advantage of other experts to improve their standard of life and prepare them for adulthood. These may involve life skills, aquatic therapy, and other services provided by the school.
A student who needs around-the-clock care is enrolled in special residential programs beyond the capacity that their community can provide. Such a student often has medical requirements beyond what can be achieved at home or even in specialty schools that come before their academic needs. The learner in these programs will occasionally be progressed in residual care centers or adult assisted living as they continue to grow out of the program.
Paraprofessional Goals with a Student with CP
A school is where every student, regardless of their capabilities, is privileged to get a full capacity of services. Each learner is entitled to a substantial education, and for learners with Cerebral Palsy, paraprofessionals can act as a bridge that makes that objective a reality. A paraprofessional assists a child with all their requirements in the school. Depending on the child’s condition, a child may have a paraprofessional assigned to them only.
If a student’s paraprofessional works with them solely, their inputs to the educational experience motivate learning and participation in class. Along with developing tools and social stories to motivate a student to learn, a paraprofessional also helps implement learning strategies, integrate instructional activities with critical thinking, encourage student engagement, and promote important learning activities.
A student with Cerebral Palsy has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that stipulates the depth of their education (Kim & Kang, 2020). The IEP will outline how much time a learner spends in special education class instead of a mainstream setting and the kind of services and assistance they may require to succeed in school. The IEP parameters are largely conditional on the situation of a child. To ensure a Cerebral Palsy student fully participates in class, an assigned paraprofessional will help a student with specific assignments such as writing down answers on a particular test.
In conclusion, Cerebral Palsy is a motor disorder that is very common in childhood, caused by unusual brain development or injuries to the brain. Children living with Cerebral Palsy have special needs, which vary from one child to another. Paraprofessionals play a critical role in ensuring these children attain their academic goals. Such children need teachers and adults who can understand them. Children living with CP can be found in pull-out services, inclusive classrooms, specialty schools, and residential programs. Thus, this piece discussed various scopes of CP, its influences, and mitigation measures. The research on aspects of CP is thus relevant in eliminating the instances of disregarding patients with CP.
Gunel, M. K. (2016). Cerebral Palsy: current step. BoD – Books on Demand.
Kim, Y., & Kang, K. (2020). Development of the individualized lifelong education plan component for the disabled: Individualized education plan and individualized transition plan linkage based of special education. The Journal of Humanities and Social sciences 21, 11(1), 73-88. Web.
Pickering, D. (2018). Voices of children and young people with cerebral palsy about participation in recreational activities. Web.
Schless, S. H., Hanssen, B., Cenni, F., Bar‐On, L., Aertbeliën, E., Molenaers, G., & Desloovere, K. (2018). Estimating medial gastrocnemius muscle volume in children with spastic cerebral Palsy: a cross‐sectional investigation. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 60(1), 81-87.