Answered Questions is a monthly resource for the Spanish language Disability Community that fills an information need. This month’s question is I’m a person with cerebral palsy (CP) and I’m doing my best to take care of my health. How can I stay healthy and engaged as I get older? This edition of Answered Questions includes items that discuss research that supports older adults with CP to live independently in the community; exercise and physical activity recommendations for adults with CP; the paradox of “normalizing” rehabilitation in walking for people with CP; a study on common challenges and strategies for success shared by people aging with mobility disabilities; the effectiveness of equine therapy; people with CP and mental health; and more. More about Answered Questions.
The Center for Enhancing Neurocognitive Health, Abilities, Networks, and Community Engagement (ENHANCE) (in English) supports the ability of older adults with cognitive disabilities, such as CP, to live independently in the community. Technology applications hold promise in terms of enhancing community living for older adults with CP and other cognitive disabilities. The objectives of this Center are to understand the challenges older adults in this population encounter with living activities, how they vary according to the type of disability, and needed areas of, and preferences for, support; identify, develop, and evaluate potential technology solutions; disseminate findings to multiple stakeholders; and advance new knowledge in the aging, disability, and technology space.
From the NARIC Collection:
The article, Exercise and physical activity recommendations for people with CP (in English), presents recommendations related to the volume, intensity, and duration of physical activities and exercise to improve health and fitness among people with CP, with a specific emphasis on cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle strengthening, and reduction of sedentary behavior. The evidence that supports these recommendations is based on randomized controlled trials and observational studies that involve children, adolescents, and adults with CP. These recommendations may be used to guide healthcare providers on exercise and daily physical activity prescription for people with CP.
The article, The paradox of normalization through rehabilitation: Growing up and growing older with cerebral palsy (in English), explores a study that examined the experience of normalization through rehabilitation for persons growing up and growing older with CP. The common narrative among the participants with CP involved intensive rehabilitation in deemed to have achieved on “normalizing” movement, particularly walking. The study found that many of the assumptions that underlie the organization and delivery of rehabilitation services for people with CP may contribute to difficulties encountered in adulthood and old age by focusing on normalizing physical function at the expense of learning to manage their bodies across the life course.
Research In Focus:
An estimated 15% of US adults aged 65 and older have a mobility disability that presents serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs, including disabilities such as CP, stroke, and spinal cord injury (SCI). The article, People Aging with Mobility Disabilities Share Common Challenges and Strategies, discusses a study from the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technologies to Support Aging-in-Place for People with Long-Term Disabilities (TechSAge RERC) (in English) where researchers asked people aging with mobility disabilities to describe the challenges they encountered most often in everyday life and the strategies that they used to overcome these challenges. The results of this study emphasize the important role of accessible spaces and transportation to optimize participation. The authors suggest that people aging with mobility disabilities may benefit from networking with each other to exchange strategies and solutions to commonly encountered challenges. This article is also available in English.
People with CP may have lifelong challenges with movement, communication, and health; and up to half of them may also have other disabilities such as intellectual disabilities, autism, or epilepsy. In addition, adults with CP may experience other physical and mental health conditions at higher rates than adults without CP. The article, Adults with Cerebral Palsy May Have Elevated Risk of Some Mental Health Disorders from the researchers at Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Promoting Healthy Aging for People with Long-Term Physical Disabilities (in English), discusses a study that looked at data showing the rates of mental health diagnoses among a large sample of adults with and without CP. The researchers found that the adults with CP had a higher overall rate of each type of mental health disorder compared to the adults without CP. The authors noted that prompt diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders may improve the quality of life for many adults with CP. This article is also available in English.
The article, Effects of equestrian therapies on people with cerebral palsy (abstract in English), discusses a review of the scientific literature whose objective was to examine the effects of equestrian therapies of people with CP. A bibliographical review was performed in various scientific databases of clinical studies published between 2001 and 2016 in English and Spanish. The review found, in general, that significant benefits were observed in the use of equestrian therapies as a treatment for people with CP.
The article, Assistive technology for the inclusive education of people with cerebral palsy: A critical review of the literature, discusses a critical, in-depth, and updated review of the literature on assistive technology for inclusive education of people with CP. The review found that lack of knowledge on assistive technology and its absence in the classroom significantly limits the performance of people with CP in the areas of education, communication, self-care, and mobility. These areas are essential to people with CP for participation in their communities of choice within a framework of rights and duties to fulfill the standards set by law.
- The booklet, Cerebral Palsy and Active Aging from Spain’s ASPACE, discusses the intersection of CP and the aging process and the perceived needs of people with CP as they age. This booklet also discusses the accessibility needs of people with CP as they age and provides proposals to meet those needs; the personal health needs of older adults with CP as perceived by family members and provides proposals to meet those needs; and the manifested needs as perceived by service providers of people aging with CP and provides proposals to meet those needs.
- Are you the parent or guardian of a young teen with CP and want to know how to help your teen transition into adulthood and be ready to stay healthy and engaged as they grow older? KidsHealth provides a factsheet, Caring for Your Teen with CP: Age 13 and Up, that shares 7 steps that you can take to help your teen transition into adulthood and to live independently or with some assistance in the community. This factsheet is also available in English.
Each month, we look through the searches on our blog and through the information requests made by our patrons who speak Spanish and pick a topic that fills the largest need. Each resource mentioned above is associated with this month’s information need. We search the various Spanish language news sources and feeds throughout the month to bring you these articles. With the exception of the NIDILRR Projects, From the NARIC Collection, and Further Investigation, all the linked articles and resources are in Spanish – any that are in English will be clearly marked.