Cerebral palsy or CP is a kind of permanent movement disorder. Aside from motor disability, individuals living with cerebral palsy could likewise have intellectual disabilities, hearing or visual impairments and other developmental disorders.
Because of this, most individuals with CP typically utilise adaptive or assistive equipment for navigating daily life and reaching their full functional potential. Adaptive technology refers to any device, appliance, control, system or item that’s used for improving or maintaining certain functions of persons with disability or PWDs.
One or all of these adaptive technologies can really help individuals with cerebral palsy.
Adaptive Equipment for Mobility
Mobility devices can aid individuals with CP move more surely and safely. These typically include walking aids such as orthotics, special footwear, crutches, walkers, scooters and wheelchairs. Mobility equipment might likewise include items that can help you sit more comfortably as well as maintain proper posture when carrying out various tasks.
These CP aids diversely reflect an individual’s specific needs. For instance, if you’re not capable of controlling an electric wheelchair’s switches, you’ll be better suited to use one that utilises your mouth, chin or head for navigation.
Adaptive Aids for Hearing and Vision
Hearing and vision devices can help people who have this sensory impairment. Adaptive hearing devices typically include hearing aids and cochlear implants, as well as telephony tech that can translate or amplify speech to text.
For those who are visually impaired, vision aids typically include special eyeglasses, magnifiers, and computer software capable of enlarging text or enhancing images.
This can aid those living with cerebral palsy communicate their thoughts and needs so that they can foster relationships with other people. These can be as simple as an imageboard or book that displays needs and tasks, as well as many different writing and typing devices.
This can likewise include communication software, voice synthesisers, and electronic devices that help produce or language or speech. For those struggling with manipulating and touching screens or buttons, some devices track eye movement to communicate and choose words and thoughts.
This includes anything that a person with CP can use from controlling the environment, such as devices that make turning on the TV, lights and other appliances much more accessible. Voice-activated and touchscreen controls on mobile phones and tablets have made environmental tech even more convenient and easy to use.
Cerebral palsy typically comes with many kinds of disabilities, and the severity of these can range from mild to moderate and severe. They can reduce the quality of life, mobility, independence and overall health, including social and emotional health.
This is where the use of adaptive tech comes in. It is, however, vital to note that not adaptive aids are not all computerised and high-tech devices. Adaptive aids can likewise include low-tech accessories like simple modified utensils or handles.
That said, both low and high-tech adaptive equipment can help those living with cerebral palsy, regardless of age, gender or race, navigate and make sense of this not-so disability-friendly world more easily.