Playing is crucial to healthy development and for building strong parent-child bonds. It's equally important if your child has a physical disability, such as a hearing impairment, vision difficulties or blindness, muscular dystrophy, and so on.
WebMD consulted child life specialists and experts to help you find guidance about playing with your physically disabled child. Here you’ll find their tips on play and age-specific suggestions for physically disabled children, from newborns to age 6.
therapy and special equipment may be used together, such as for
constraint-induced movement therapy, also called shaping. This encourages a child to increase movements by presenting interesting activities
or objects and giving praise and rewards when a child attempts to use the
Ongoing treatment for cerebral
palsy (CP) focuses on continuing and adjusting existing treatments and adding
new treatments as needed.
Working with others
involved with your child's care, understanding your child's needs and rights,
and taking care of yourself and other family members are all important parts of treatment. For more information, see Home Treatment.
Physical therapy is an important treatment that begins soon after a child is diagnosed. It often
continues throughout the child's life. It may begin before a
definite diagnosis is made, depending on the child's symptoms.
Physical therapy may help prevent the need for surgery. But its focus may change after surgery or for problems that are new
or getting worse. After surgery, specialized physical therapy may be needed for
6 months or longer.
Devices and equipment
Many people who have CP benefit from using something to
maintain or improve joint mobility, help strengthen muscles and relax
overactive (spastic) muscles, and assist with daily activities. These devices
and equipment may include special crutches, orthotics, casts, standers, special seats, walkers,
wheelchairs, special shoes, and other methods to help with
The specific types of devices used depend on a child's needs. For example, a
child may get a cast after surgery or to restrict movement in one
area to strengthen muscles and tendons in another part of the body. If both legs are affected by CP,
a child can learn to move around with the help of a scooter board (a device used to
self-propel while lying down), a modified stroller, a wheelchair, or other special