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Posted by Tamra on June 05, 2000 at 00:02:59:

In Reply to: daughter with mild cp- scoliosis- therapy??? posted by Avery on November 13, 1999 at 13:17:00:

: My daughter is now 13 and I was aware that she had seizures at age 3 (her eye lids would flutter and teeth clatter for a few minutes after awakening). At age 5 she had a grand mal seizures so we controlled them with medication. Nothing was said about CP until 3rd grade when she started falling due to an odd gait that she started to have. She is not spastic --but ataxic which causes her to walk with her legs far apart and to have pour sense of balance. When she walks she leans on a wall for balance and this has caused her to develop scoliosis.The doctor doesn't feel that it is bad enough to warrant a brace. My daughter has recently gotten a walker so she can stand upright and not fear falling with every step.
: ****When she walks her right foot,hip,and shoulder are turned outward which cause her to fall sometimes even with the walker. ?? Does anyone have or know someone with a similar difficulty in walking and are there any therapy or equipment suggestions that my daughter can try to help her turn her foot straight???thanks, Avery

Dear Avery: I'm in my thirties and have CP. I have taken Tai Chi Chuan for a couple years now, and consider it the single most helpful activity for working with physical aspects of CP, including falling. I used to trip quite often, especially when fatigued. I knew when I started practicing tai chi that it was supposed to improve balance, but now as a result of the training I've been given tripping and falling has become almost a non-issue for me. Also, this may sound a bit silly, but another thing I've found helpful is actually learning how to fall. A couple years ago, as part of a self-defense course, a martial artist taught our class a couple of basic falls from her art (Judo, I think). We barely had time to practice them at all, yet I've taken three potentially major spills since then and each time (somehow) what I was taught returned and I was able to get to the ground safely and without injury (except perhaps to my pride :) ). I took some fairly nasty spills prior to training, and knowing that I can fall safely has drastically reduced my fear of falling. (One woman I know who teaches martial arts calls learning to fall "making friends with the ground") There are other styles of martial arts that teach falling skills, particularly aikido; and many martial arts schools offer both children's and private classes. Also, there have been a couple of articles published on the impact of teaching tai chi to older people, and one mainstream magazine for people with disabilities published an article on a group that was teaching tai chi to folks with disabilities earlier this year; these might list further advice or resources. I'm not sure where the articles were published, but your local library could probably track them down. In any case, for me learning tai chi has increased my confidence and physical ease in getting around (in addition to improving my circulation, coordination, relaxation, and posture.... and I'm having fun too) Hope this is helpful, and best wishes to you and your daughter.

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