What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral Palsy (CP) is the most common motor disability in childhood. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it affects about 1 in 345 children(3 per 1,000 8-year-old children) in the United States. Cerebral refers to the fact that it has something to do with the brain. Palsy is a term that means weakness or problems related to muscles. Cerebral Palsy is caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the developing brain which results in an individual having problems with muscular control and ability. The disorder therefore results in affecting an individual’s ability to move, maintain balance and posture or speak.
People with cerebral Palsy additionally also have associated intellectual disability due to speech and learning disabilities, as well as problems with vision and hearing. Furthermore, the related muscular spasticity and tone problems can result in deformities of the spine (such as scoliosis) or joint problems like contractures. This impact on functional ability and mobility ultimately, independence and quality of life of the individual and can be a major source of distress within caregiver families.
Although the symptoms of CP vary from person to person, all people with the condition have some form of disability with movement and posture. People with severe CP might require use of special equipment to walk or being unable to walk at all, might need lifelong care. those with mild CP, on the other hand, could have problems with their gait, but might not require any special help. Although CP does not worsen over time, the exact symptoms can change over a person’s lifetime.
Occupational, Speech and Physical Therapy interventions in the management of Cerebral Palsy are important in relieving the symptomatic effects of the disease. They help in improving the overall learning and functional quality of life of individuals with the condition.
The MiraColt™ from Chariot Innovations Inc., is a unique mechanical device that matches almost exactly the walking gait of a horse. It was first conceived in 2012 by Dr. Brian Garner, a mechanical engineering professor at Baylor University, and is backed by over 8 years of research and development. It has been in use in homes, research centers and CP Care centers since 2012. The graphs below show how the device matches almost exactly the riding motion of a horse. A key factor responsible for ability to replicate the benefits of hippotherapy gained from riding a real horse.