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Case Study: Cerebral Palsy (Motor Limitations)

Case Study Description:

Sally is a ten-year old girl who has cerebral palsy.  Sally’s cerebral palsy has been classified as spastic quadriplegia associated with being prematurely born with an extremely low birth weight.  Sally has decreased trunk, shoulder, and pelvic girdle mobility.  She has voluntary and involuntary movements in both upper and lower extremities.  Her movements are slow and labored.  She wears glasses and her eyes are very sensitive to bright lights.  She is unable to speak and has difficulty writing.  Sally is unable to walk and therefore uses a powered wheelchair for mobility.

Sally lives with her mom and two older brothers in a two-story home in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her mom works full-time as an accountant and has Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage for herself and all of her children. Sally’s mom is the primary caregiver and performs all Sally’s ADLs.  Sally’s mom would like Sally to become more independent in her ADL’s.  Specifically, she would like Sally to be able to independently feed herself and be able to brush her own teeth.  Sally’s father left the family six months after Sally’s birth and does not visit the family.  He does pay a limited amount for child support and has stated that he cannot deal with the fact that he has a “crippled” child.  The oldest boy, Eric who is 16, visits his father on weekends but does not share his father’s attitude toward Sally.  He continually searches for a way to get his father interested in getting together with the rest of the family.

Sally is in the fourth grade and attends an inclusive school.  At the beginning of the school year an IEP was developed for Sally by her teacher, physical therapist, social worker, occupational therapist, and her mother.  Sally does all of her schoolwork on the computer.  She mainly uses her two index fingers to type on the computer keyboard.  She is allowed extra time to complete her assignments.  However, her teacher often finds errors in her schoolwork and believes it is due to her visual impairment. 

Sally is able to communicate by using a language board that she uses to spell out words by pointing to the letters.  When using the board, Sally is able to carry on an intelligent conversation.  However, Sally often becomes frustrated with the language board because of the effort it takes to spell out each word.  She finds it difficult to answer questions in class or communicate with groups of friends with the language board.

Sally likes to play games and watch sporting events with her two older brothers.  She would like to become more involved in gym class.  She wishes there was an activity she could participate in with fellow classmates.  She enjoys activities such as playing cards, playing Nintendo, swimming and playing ball games.

Sally uses a Zippie P500 power wheelchair for mobility.  She uses a joystick to operate and control the wheelchair.  Currently, Sally’s bedroom is on the second floor of her home and she is unable to bring her wheelchair to the second floor.  Her mom therefore carries her up the stairs every night and down the stairs every morning.

Cerebral Palsy Student Final Project