Children who suffer from cerebral palsy may have trouble with speaking, hearing and balancing and may not be able to walk properly. They suffer many difficulties in doing things that other children can easily do without help and they have to try much harder than others of their age at trying to live a normal life.
Research suggests that the majority of cerebral palsy cases result from abnormal brain development or brain injury prior to birth or during labor and delivery. Some known risk factors that may lead to cerebral palsy include accidents, abuse, medical malpractice, negligence, infections and injury.
Cerebral palsy affects muscles and a person’s ability to control them. Muscles can contract too much, too little or all at the same time. Fluctuating muscle contractions can make limbs tremble, shake, or writhe. Balance, posture and coordination can also be affected by cerebral palsy. Thus, tasks such as walking, sitting or tying shoes may be difficult for some, while others might have difficulty grasping objects.
Intellectual impairment, seizures and vision or hearing impairment are other complications that commonly accompany cerebral palsy. However, the intelligence of a child with cerebral palsy should never be ignored. Although, these children may have difficulty going through the activities of their daily lives, but their minds are still as imaginative and progressive as all other children’s.
There are many different types of activities that can be used to encourage a child with disabilities to broaden their intelligence and use their imagination. These therapies can include art and music therapy. Ideally, these therapies help children with cerebral palsy develop a strong sense of confidence and pride in the work they learn to accomplish.
Art provides a child, even a non-verbal child, the ability to express a range of emotions such as anger, aggression and joy and creatively. Also, as the child learns to grip paint brushes, pencils, pens, etc, he tends to develop fine motor skills.
Another benefit of arts is that it encourages socialization, which can be difficult to achieve for young people with a disability. The arts can be made inclusionary to give children the ability to be creative in an environment with other children with disabilities or with able-bodied children.
An unexpected benefit that can occur is the further development of language skills. A recent study on Speech intelligibility in cerebral palsy children attending an art therapy program in Poland has also concluded that Art therapy improves the intelligibility of speech in children with cerebral palsy, even when language functions are not as such the object of therapeutic intervention(Med Sci Monit. 2010 May;16(5):CR222-31).
Moreover, when a person creates something new or something beautiful that connects with others, it increases the self-esteem and self-worth.