Cerebral Palsy affects muscle control, muscle tone, coordination and movement, and it affects each person differently. Students with Cerebral Palsy may need a wheel chair or have minor stemming movements, but all struggle with making intentional, coordinated movements. While the symptoms of cerebral palsy may vary, students will benefit from activities that strengthen their fine and gross motor skills.
Making organization a game and part of a daily routine will help students with Cerebral Palsy can build motor skills. Give these students an accessible space and regular responsibilities to keep it organized. Create tasks for categorizing items, such as, "Put all of these items to the left and all of those items to the right." Have students help put the room back in order and put items back where they belong. Organization tasks strengthen motor skills and also teach a positive life skill.
Include students with Cerebral Palsy in activities with a group or peer buddy and give them tasks they can achieve. For instance, if practicing an academic skill, allow students to toss or kick a ball to take turns answering questions. A student with Cerebral Palsy could receive and pass a ball to a close peer to the extent of his or her ability. Act out stories, historical events and math word problems, and assign roles based on what will challenge students and allow them to be successful. Use physical objects to practice skills like sharing, waiting for turns and asking for things appropriately.
While activities depend on accessibility to different technologies, using common items like a cell phone, computer or digital recorder can allow students to practice skills they will use outside of school. If a student struggles with writing or typing, allow him to record answers or stories verbally; if a student is non-verbal, allow her to practice typing on a computer or tablet. Let students practice talk-to-text technology, if possible. Video record students acting out a story, event or concept, and have them analyze it.
Sewing movements help students strengthen fine motor skills, and materials can be made from items found at home. Punch holes in the edge of a piece of cardboard or card stock, and show students how to weave a string through the holes by pushing and pulling it. Similarly, string circular objects, such as cereal, candy or beads to practice hand-eye coordination. Finger painting will also strengthen hand-eye coordination as well as fine muscle movement. Allow students to paint at multiple angles, such as lying on the floor, sitting at a table and standing at an easel.
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