Cerebral palsy (CP) affects people in a number of ways, and its effects are wide-ranging. Walking and speaking are just a couple things many people with CP have difficulties with.
Luckily, there’s a rich variety of technological solutions to the challenges presented by CP. Here are a few of the essential technologies that improve the everyday lives of countless people.
CP can affect a person’s ability to speak and hear. Speaking and hearing are useful abilities in our highly verbal society so many people with CP use technology to assist themselves. (Keep in mind, though, that not everyone wishes to undo their deafness.) Here are some of the tool people with CP use to make communication easier:
- Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Technology. AAC technology includes a variety of devices, including tablet and phone apps, that help a person with CP deliver and receive messages among the people around them. A person with severe speech difficulties may, for instance, have an array of buttons to press that deliver pre-written messages such as “I’m hungry,” or “Let’s go to the movies!”
- Handwriting Technology. Some tools go on the hand and arm of person in order to minimize otherwise-uncontrollable shaking. By stabilizing the muscles, the device lets the user write clearly.
- Hearing Aids. Many people with CP are deaf or have trouble hearing. Hearing aids and cochlear implants can make the world of sound bright and clear.
The muscular problems cause by CP often make physical movement the most difficult thing about having the condition. Here’s some of what affected people use to solve mobility issues:
- Stair-climbing Tools. Stairs can be incredibly challenging for many people with CP. To overcome this challenge, people have many tools available, including wall-mounted seats that slide past the stairs, and stair climbers that allow the person to walk up a step at a time with ease.
- Wheelchairs. A wheelchair can take care of a range of problems. The ability to move while sitting down reduces muscle strain, decreases the risk of falling down, and does away with the need to control leg muscle movement. Wheelchairs improve the lives of many people with CP.
There’s more to life than getting around. Leisure time is essential for a person’s happiness, and people with CP like to have fun as much as anyone. Of course, CP can get in the way of that fun, so people sometimes need some helpful gadgets:
- Art Supplies. Painting, drawing, and other artistic hobbies are deeply beneficial activities. These tools have been developed in order to ensure the integrity of the creator’s vision. Hand-stabilizers keep muscle movement under control. Tablet apps allow people to make digital art that requires less vigorous muscle strain.
- Bikes. Nothing beats getting a workout in fresh air. CP-friendly bicycles and tricycles are popular tools that help people engage in this healthy and fun activity.
No matter what challenges CP poses, technology is there to help. Everyone deserves the chance to get through life in a healthy, happy way. These gadgets and tools are just a few ways in which people with CP persevere.