Children and Adolescent Hand and Arm (CHArm) Center

Evaluation

The upper extremity evaluation for people with cerebral palsy is critical. A thorough evaluation process includes several components. It is often recommended to come in on more than one occasion to allow our professionals to have the opportunity to see your child under different conditions, as we know spasticity can have subtle and not-so-subtle changes from day to day. Your child's nervousness may also be a factor and must be considered.

Since everyone moves their hands and arms differently and has different strategies to get things done, our team also wants the opportunity to fully appreciate the individual characteristics of each patient. It is always helpful for our orthopedic team to see evaluations and progress reports from the therapists and doctors that are working with your child to further their understanding of his or her strengths and needs.

The pre-surgical evaluation for patients with cerebral palsy (CP) includes typical rehabilitation assessments such as range of motion (ROM), sensory testing, timed movement tests, and an activities of daily living (ADL) assessment. A videotape (in order to prevent your child from having to do tasks repeatedly) is often useful. A test called dynamic electromyography (EMG) may also be recommended.

The evaluation process may include giving your child time to develop goals and skills through pre-operative exercises and splinting. Since surgery is most often elective and able to be planned at the family's convenience, these factors dictate that from the first visit to surgery can be anywhere from 2 months to over a year.

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