“Stretch Armstrong”

As a therapist working with kids with CP I often try to understand what it is like to be in the child’s shoes. Adults with CP have so much insight to offer therapists and parents alike. No 2 kids with CP, or 2 kids period, are the same, but we can gain a lot of knowledge by the vast experience of adults with disabilities who have been there, done that.

Here’s a great description of one adult’s experience with cerebral palsy. She compares her body to a stretched out Stretch Armstrong, her muscles in constant tension. Yet she says being relaxed is much worse, as she has less control.

Makes me think about all of the medical interventions that are popular right now:botox, baclofen, alcohol blocks, etc.  By relaxing the muscles are we truly increasing function? We know they increase range of motion and decrease tone, but how well do they improve children’s abilities in daily life? I have always looked at these interventions as “windows of opportunity” for strengthening, gait training, and more intense intervention, but what happens more often is continuation of the usual routine. We need to make sure we focus on all ends of the continuum: if we relax the tone, what is our plan to give the child better options?

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