As a child grows, we take the normal process of development for granted. We just assume that they will achieve the developmental milestones, such as lifting their head, rolling over, sitting, crawling and walking in a timely fashion like their peers. But for a child with a disorder of the Corpus Callosum, nothing can be taken for granted and for some meeting those milestones will be a struggle and they will need help from therapists.
There are a number of therapists that can help your child be the best they can be, some main stream, some alternative. Talk to you main health care provider about what would suit your child best.
This page is dealing with main stream Therapy with information on Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy. More information on Alternative therapy can be found here.
A Physiotherapist is trained in all aspects of a child’s development. They are skilled in assessing and treating movement problems. They are trained to recognise and help the problems of movement and posture your child may have.
You should consult a physiotherapist if you believe your child has any of the following problems:
- Slow to achieve rolling, sitting, crawling or walking
- Disinterested in People and toys
- Too “stiff” or too “floopy” and dislikes being moved: or strongly favours the use of one side of the body.
On your first visit your physiotherapist will carry out an assessment of your child. They should take into account your child’s DCC and talk to you about any problems you have seen in your child so far. They will then devise a special programme to suit your child’s individual needs. This might include working with balance, purposeful play using toys or specialised equipment.
They will encourage the developments of your child’s reach and grasp ability, their eye-hand co-ordination and body movement and exploration. You will work toward the achievement of sitting and walking, improved balance and co-ordination and muscle strength and flexibility.
As you and your child work with the physiotherapist, they will help you to understand your child’s problems and you will be taught how to carry out some of the exercises at home as you work toward the achievement of sitting and walking, improved balance and co ordination and muscle strength and flexibility
The Physio will monitor your child’s progress and alter the program as the child learns skills, develops and grows.
A physio can also give advice regarding specialised footwear such as Orthotics to strengthen ankles or other prescription of equipment to improve your child’s skills and function. Some of this equipment could involve a walker, special seating to help posture amongst others.
Physiotherapist work in hospitals, community based health centres, education facilities, in private practice and some will do home visits.
The Occupational Therapist work with children of all ages who have learning difficulties, developmental delay or a physical disability by assessing and assisting children in everyday life skills to help improve their quality of life.
On your first visit with an OT a comprehensive assessment of what your child can do, will be carried out. This will enable the ot to understand what you child is able to do now and what is the best course of action to help them reach their developmental goals.
Occupation Therapy involves gross and fine motor development, handwriting and perceptual skills. If your child has weakness in these areas it can affect everyday life, particularly in the classroom and at play.
Some areas an Occupational Therapist will work with you and your child are
- Gross Motor Skills Gross motor refers to the whole body movements. Together with the Physio the Ot will consider your child’s muscle tone and the way a child moves. Gross motor skills are important part of crawling and walking and become a part of being able to control their whole body movements in order to develop their fine motor skills in their hands.
- Fine Motor Skills Our hands are extremely important in so many parts of our life,. from eating to dressing, from playing to learning. An OT will look at how your child is moving their hands, beginning with playing with their fingers to grasping and manipulating toys.
- Social Skills An OT can work with your child and their ability to respond to others, and give you ideas of games to play to encourage interactions.
- Personal Development. Children as they grow want to be involved in their own care, eating and dressing. An Ot can work with you to help your child with the skills needed as they work towards independence.
- Adaptive Behaviour An Ot will consider the way your child adapts to and learns from new situations. One important part of this area is being able to attend to and concentrate on tasks for long enough to learn the necessary skills and to use those skills in a variety of places.
- Sensory Processing A child with a DCC can also have problems with sensory processing which can include sensitivity to touch, noise or textures. An OT can work with you to help your child learn to deal with these problems.
Speech Pathologist study, diagnose and treat communication disorders, including difficulties with speech, language, swallowing, fluency and voice.
If you are worried about your baby’s communication, contact a speech pathologist, and particularly if: your baby
- does not seem to listen to you, enjoy sounds or respond to them;
- your baby isn’t using a range of words by 18 months;
- your toddler is frustrated by not being able to speak to or be understood by others;
- your toddler has trouble understanding what you say;
- your toddler does not engage in simple games with you or understand your gestures/signs;
- your toddler stutters;
- your toddler has an unusual voice (e.g., it sounds husky);
- your toddler isn’t trying to join words together by two and a half years.
Using assessment tools, speech pathologists are able to diagnose your child’s specific problem and devise a treatment plan that best suits your child. They will work with you to help your child with their expressive language (putting words together and being understood) or receptive language (understanding instructions and meanings). They can also guide you and your child in using Augmentative and Alternative Communication devices that can help your child communicate more easily. This could include systems like signing, gesturing, picture or symbol charts, or special communication devices.