If you have a child who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you are most likely aware of the different types of pediatric therapists who can make a difference in your child's development. As your child grows, however, he or she might have to see various types of medical doctors as well. Here are three types of physicians your child might benefit from seeing.
Growing can be a challenge for children with cerebral palsy, especially for those who suffer with severe spasticity, which can cause muscles to tighten up to the point where a child cannot get their muscles to relax. Also known as high muscle tone, spasticity can become so problematic that it can begin to cause joints to pull out of their sockets.
Spasticity can also cause contractures, which is when the muscles and joints shorten and harden, often resulting in bone deformities. Another problem children with cerebral palsy might have is osteoporosis due to decreased bone density. For all of these reasons, it's important for a child with cerebral palsy to be evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon.
This type of doctor evaluates the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral effects of complex medical conditions such as cerebral palsy. They specialize in conditions and disabilities that affect the nervous system and the brain. Some of the areas they focus on include:
- Attention spans
- Learning abilities
- Problem solving abilities
After a child is evaluated by a neuropsychologist, the next step is usually to recommend certain types of interventions that will help the child live the highest quality of life possible. A neuropsychologist will also collaborate their patient's care with other healthcare professionals such as psychiatrists, neurologists, and sleep medicine specialists.
Rehabilitation Medicine Specialist
This type of doctor can help children with cerebral palsy come up with a plan to best treat the many symptoms they might have due to their condition. For example, in children with severe spasticity, they might prescribe certain treatments such as Botox injections or an intrathecal baclofen pump.
Rehabilitation medicine specialists also collaborate with other doctors to plan for certain types of surgeries that may be required and what type of therapies will be needed following surgery. They help children get certain types of assistive technology, orthotics, and adaptive equipment.
When it comes to treating a child with cerebral palsy, it can be overwhelming for parents. These three medical doctors can help parents navigate the medical system and help find the best treatment possible.