Magic helps children with cerebral palsy

By Drum Digital
22 August 2014

Researchers from Britain have found a new form of treatment by teaching children with cerebral palsy magic.

For most of us, everyday activities like tying our shoelaces, getting dressed or brushing our hair is second nature. But for children with cerebral palsy, being able to do these simple tasks is just magic!

Now occupational therapists and magicians from Breathe Arts Health Research aim to make rehabilitation fun for them, with literally a few tricks up their sleeves.

Children with cerebral palsy (also known as hemiplegia) usually have paralysis on one side of their bodies, and have difficulty with day-to-day tasks.

Traditional therapy exercises can help. But many children find these boring, which can slow down their progress.

Put a wand in that child’s hand, however, and it’s a different matter.

According to Dr Dido Green from Oxford Brookes University, the magic provides motivating context to practice difficult hand movements and by learning tricks it also empowers them with a skill that their peers don’t have.

As well as the weakness on one side of their bodies, children with hemiplegia often suffer from low self-esteem.

“These children, a lot of their life, have been told things are impossible. It's impossible to use that hand and arm, it feels impossible to be good at this or be able to do that,” says Dr Green.

“But we shift that mentality because they realise the impossible is possible.”

? Janine Nel

Sources: patient.co.uk, theguardian.com

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