There are many variants of assistive devices for people with cerebral palsy. The devices are mainly used to reduce symptoms and simplify the everyday life. This article will focus on the importance of preventive and facilitating equipment and highlight the most common ones for people with cerebral palsy.
Of the approximately 100,000 children born in Sweden each year, more than 200 suffer from a brain injury. Depending on when the injury occurs, the extent of the injury and the cause of the injury, different symptoms are shown during the child’s development. Common to all those born with CP is a motor movement variation. Many people with CP, about 60 per cent, are not in the need of any assistive walking device. Others are in bigger need of some equipment such as a wheelchair, walker or crutches.
Assistive devices have a great impact on daily life and affect the quality of life. The purpose of an aid is to improve or maintain an ability and facilitate participation in everyday activities. Thus the user can be more independent with the help of equipment. Assistive devices can also compensate for a disability. Assistive products are an important part of the efforts prescribed by therapists and other healthcare professionals.
Read our earlier articles about: Children with CP, Spasticity in legs, Tonus shifting, Tonusväxling, What is CP? etc.
The most common equipments for people with CP are the ones that facilitate relocation. Moving aids, or physical aids as it may also be called, are aids such as wheelchairs, rollers, crutches and walk-in tables. These tools facilitate everyday life and contribute to a more social and active life. Being able to access fitness centers and other places of employment is incredibly important for an individual and is a support for increased independence and participation.
Other important devices are orthotic devices. These can be used for several purposes. Among other things, to stretch muscles and reduce joint defects due to spasticity and incorrect tension. Joints need to be stretched to prevent stiffness and short muscles. Orthoses are external mechanical supports that stabilize creating a more favorable position for the joint. The orthotic devices may be used temporarily, to enhance a period of treatment and development, or utilized as lifelong aids for standing, walking and positioning.
Mollii is an assistive device used by people with cerebral palsy to reduce spasticity and improper muscle tension in affected muscles. Mollii provides the opportunity for greater freedom of movement and independence and has been shown to improve the performance of activities and custom set goals.