Encephalitis is a very serious but fortunately, rare, infection that affects the brain and central nervous system. Encephalitis has many causes, but many cases in children result in an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). The extent of the damage caused to a child's brain varies from mild to severe and is usually dependent on the cause of the infection, how rapidly medical attention was received and how the child reacted to treatment.
If your child has an ABI from encephalitis, you are no doubt feeling very fearful and anxious about how this will affect their life. Fortunately, there are many specialised therapists who can help your child to manage and overcome the negative impacts that an ABI has on their physical and mental health. Here are two specialist therapists that your child's neurologist can refer you to for help and advice.
1. A paediatric occupational therapist
Occupational therapists specialise in providing their patients with help to develop practical skills that they need to manage during daily life. They also focus on developing a child's self-confidence and help them to become more independent. They use mental and physical activities to help a child develop strategies and routines that capitalise on their abilities and work around the things that they struggle with.
Self-care is an important part of occupational therapy. Going to the toilet, bathing and showering, eating and drinking are all included in this. The therapist will also focus on skills important for school, such as holding pencils and scissors, organising materials and planning and activity management.
2. A paediatric physiotherapist
Physiotherapy is another incredibly helpful and important type of therapy that can help a child with an ABI. Paediatric physiotherapy is essentially the same as physiotherapy for adults, but therapists have special training which helps them to understand the differences in child physiology, the stages of optimal child development and how to work with children in a way that makes them feel safe and valued.
ABIs can cause serious problems with things such as walking, balancing, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. The extent of these problems depends on which areas of the brain were damaged and how severe the damage is. Fortunately, recent research has shown how adaptable children's brains are.
Physiotherapy can help your child to retrain their brain and to relearn basic and advanced motor skills. Because of the plasticity of children's brains, even children who have had large areas of their brains removed during surgery can develop new neural pathways that can restore many physical functions.
For more information, contact your local paediatric occupational therapy clinic today.