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Cerebral Palsy


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Has anyone got any experience of a child in a pre-school setting with cerebral palsy? I know each case is different but some general pointers would be useful. What do I say to the other children? We have a 3 year old who may start at our setting coming to visit next week. Our committee chair has met him and Mum who will stay with him. He doesn't have any speech but I don't know anything about his comprehension levels.

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I had a child last year with Cerebral palsy her main problems were physical. She was very articulate but had poor social skills with the other children (more comfortable with adults) Due to medication to relax her muscles her concentration was very limited.

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I have also had same experience as Marion-mainly physical problems - the child was just the same ability really as the average child but was in a wheelchair. We had lots of support from occupational therapists, inclusion service,etc as well as parental advice/tips on what to do. There were also moving and handling courses we attended - the child did have and still has a SSA to support him full time. The school is gradually adapting width of doors,etc as he moves to different classrooms and I think the head has been able to successfully bid for money to fund the necessary changes - there is a lot of help out there as inclusion is the key word in society now so donm't feel you are on your own. I didn't actually say anything to the children apart from when they asked a direct question then we kept it simple e.g. his legs are poorly/don't work properly but we always gave the child the opportunity to explain when he was old enough as his vocab was very good.

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I had a child with Cerebal Palsy in my nursery. He had a walking frame and standing frame and had difficulty with fine motor skills also.

 

I never said anything to the children (unless they asked) and they all loved to play with him at his standing frame. One child even told us that he's going to make a ramp at his house so that he could come round for tea! children are so accepting it caused no issues with the others at all.

 

We did have to change the layout of the room to allow space for his walker so that he could access all areas and had to ensure that anything he may use to pull himself up on was secure so that it didn't fall on him ( such as play furniture in home corner).

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Thanks for your replies. The reason I am worried about taking on a child like this is bcause I am the only staff member in our group. We have 8 children and I work with a parent helper at each session. I find it quite hard to do all the planning, children's obs and assesments and classroom displays on my own without having to do extra planning for a child who may have serious SEN.

I am also worried about the logistics as we operate out of a tiny room which is T shaped, with the top of the T being only 6' wide.

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I think its important you find out the nature of the childs condition. Whether they use a wheel chair/standing frame ect. One of the things that struck me was the huge ammount of equipment we had to find space for. Also the child we had needed constant physical support..........will there be support provided for him/her by the LA?

Access is another thing to consider......toilets have already been mentioned especially if there is a wheelchair. We also had to have a changing bench installed

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We had a child last year who had cerebral palsy, she had brace on her leg and also a shunt to drain fluid from her brain. The nurses came into the setting to advise us of how we could help, what to look for if she fell (which she often did) and what to look for if the shunt blocked (scary stuff). She adapted wonderfully and so did we after our initial nerverousness that she would hurt herself. The physio also came in and gave us excersises to do with her to strenghthen her left side etc. I am sure you will get plenty of support from the health services etc.

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As someone who works in a special school and I'm fairly new to it, all I can say is find out about the child! Last year (my 1st class in SEN school) I had a class of 8 children and 5 of those had Cerebral Palsy and not one was similar to the other in their difficulties! CP is such a wide ranging condition which can present itself in so many different ways!

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  • 2 weeks later...

If that child is statemented to your nursery, it will say whether he will get any support while at school.

There are some important things to find out in advance to make your life easier. Communication is one, as he does not speak he might be using (or learning to use) photos or symbols to express his choices. Try to get the speech and language therapist in. This will help you to find out about his cognitive abilities and also makes the planning easier if you know how to present things for him. It will probably take a while to figure out where exactly he stands cognitively, so give him and yourself time.

The other thing is his physical abilities. Often CP kids have some kind of floor mobility (rolling or crawling) and that is good to encourage, if possible. Also, find out about how he sits: adapted chair, wheel chair,etc. and weather he can sit on the carpet unaided (they often do), so you can position him appropriately during sessions.

And then, there are the 'extras': Eating and drinking (ask the speech and language therapist), special eqipment, possible epilepsy.

 

If you would like a (free!) school visit from a specialist , give our school a ring: the Hornsey Trust: 0208 444 7242. We are a special school for children with CP using Conductive Education and one of the girls does school visits to give advise to mainstream teachers with CP kids.

Good luck!

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Thanks for all your replies. He is coming to visit again this week - I think had an unpleasant experience in a previous setting so is cautious about committing to another one. The little boy has a wheel chair which is on like a ratchet so it goes down to the level of our tables. They are not sure about his sight or how good his hearing is but he responds to touch and seems to hear somethings. Mum was very good with him and he liked the playdoh. We had compost in the sand tray so he experienced that and we made shakers as Mum said he likes some noises. He is actually four so I don't know what Mum's plans are regarding school. He drank from a teacher beaker and ate some fruit with Mum's help. We shall see how it goes.

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If you would like a (free!) school visit from a specialist , give our school a ring: the Hornsey Trust: 0208 444 7242. We are a special school for children with CP using Conductive Education and one of the girls does school visits to give advise to mainstream teachers with CP kids.

Good luck!

 

Hi Agi

 

I have just got a child in my class with cerebral palsy who also does conductive education when she isn't with us. Do you have any info you could give me on it as I am interested to know what she does.The physio attached to our school isn't very keen on it so i would like to be better informed.

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