Introduction

This course provides an overview of the basic types of CP. It reviews both established and controversial treatment modalities for the disorder, and identifies nursing interventions across the child's lifetime. It also includes components of effective case management for children with CP, including information on special needs trusts. This multidimensional look at children with cerebral palsy explores innovative nursing roles throughout the medical, developmental, and educational systems and affirms the contribution of professional nurses in the lives of these very special youngsters. Please see Objectives for a specific list of course goals.


Eight-year-old Mary walks across the classroom with a slight limp, and slowly writes a set of spelling words on the blackboard with her left hand. When the teacher asks her to recite the list from the board, Mary enunciates each word carefully, turning her head slightly to the side as she gazes at the board. After school, Mary plans to ride the bus to her friend Cassie's house, where they'll spend the afternoon playing with the dolls they bought during their last shopping trip to the mall.

Juan Carlos, an eight-year old in a classroom down the hall, uses a pointing stick to select one of the pictures on the computer touch screen. The pointing stick is attached to his hand with a universal cuff, and the computer screen is mounted in front of his power wheelchair. Listening intently to his teacher's voice, Juan Carlos moves his arm in a series of choppy movements to hit the correct spot on the screen. After a brief respite for the health aide to suction Juan Carlos' tracheostomy and reposition his wrist splints, the child gamely listens for the next instruction. After school, Juan Carlos has an appointment with his gastroenterologist to check the function of his gastrostomy tube. He then has a physical therapy visit to be fitted for a new prone stander.

Although Mary and Juan Carlos attend the same school, it seems that they have very little else in common. Mary participates in the general curriculum, albeit a little slower than many of her classmates, while Juan Carlos' class work has been extensively modified to fit his needs. Both of these children have cerebral palsy.


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