Recommended Teaching Methods for Students With CP
When deciding that a student with CP would have their interests best served in a mainstream classroom environment, teachers, parents, and therapists should develop an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). The IEP should detail information on the child’s diagnosis and the degree to which the child is affected by the condition. This includes listing the child’s present level of performance in the various subject areas. These performance levels should describe in detail what the child is able to accomplish and what their current skill levels are. In any of the areas in which the child is functioning below age level, goals and objectives should be written to address the areas of weakness.
The IEP should also include a list of services and accommodations that the school district will provide. Teaching children with cerebral palsy is often an unfamiliar circumstance for a regular education instructor, but with assistance from therapeutic programs and access to modifications in the classroom, students with CP can thrive in a general setting alongside their non-disabled peers.It is important for children with CP to have an educational program that is conducive for learning.
It is important for students with CP to assume a variety of positions throughout the school day in order to prevent tightening of muscles. Equipment needs are extremely important, as proper positioning can facilitate eye-hand coordination and improved motor control. Most importantly, teachers should maintain open communication with the child’s family in order to encourage carry-over regarding home programs and recommendations.
Therapy Services for Students With CP
A large number of students with CP receive services through the school system such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy. These professionals can be valuable resources to teachers when it comes to learning strategies for working with students diagnosed with CP. The physical therapist is knowledgable about gross motor skills as well as endurance and mobility, while the occupational therapist can provide information about fine motor, organizational, perceptual, and self-help skills. The speech language therapist can assist with the student’s ability to communicate functionally in the school setting.Students who struggle with communication should have the option of using assistive technological equipment in the classroom.