Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. Cerebral palsy is a “non-progressive” disorder, which means that as children get older, their CP will not necessarily worsen. At Inclusively Fit, we consider this great news. We believe the benefits of exercise can actually help individuals with CP improve physically. And as it turns out, we are not alone in our thinking. The American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine Committee for Lifespan have said that exercise is most often the first step in treating cerebral palsy as it can help improve motor skills and can prevent movement problems from getting worse over time.
Inclusively Fit has worked with many CP clients and our trainers have developed a series of exercises using resistance bands, upper and lower body weights, treadmills, stationary bikes, and lots of stretching. We have noted that our clients who exercise regularly have experienced benefits in their overall mobility and quality of life. Since CP affects a person’s movement, balance, and coordination, we put emphasis on these areas, so clients experience positive gains. A nice side benefit… these clients also tend to develop a love for fitness.
An Added Benefit to School Age Clients
The founder of Inclusively Fit has a degree in Special Education, has worked as a teacher and has extensive experience with the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process. The IEP is a written document for students with disabilities ages 3 through 25 that outlines the student’s educational needs and goals and any programs and services the intermediate school district and/or its member district will provide to help the student make educational progress. At Inclusively Fit, we work with parents and review existing IEPs to incorporate any applicable goals that could also be focused on during fitness sessions. For example, social goals like taking turns, greeting others, following multi-step directions, answering yes or no questions, etc.
The overall goal here, strongly aligning with our Mission, is to collaborate with our clients, families, and schools to consistently reinforce common goals and help our clients with everyday inclusion.
We’re happy to report, it works.