I have recently joined HOPE For Exceptional Needs, a Facebook page for parents and staff of The Hope Center, a model special needs facility in Saudi Arabia. The Hope Center is unique in that it accepts students regardless of race, religion, gender, national origin, or the number of disabilities a student has. In 2003, only four years after start of operation, the Ministry of Social Affairs named HOPE as one of the top 14 “standardized” schools for the disabled in the Kingdom.
HOPE serves children with many different special needs. Recently I was asked by teachers for information on how to handle learning & writing problems related to Cerebellar Ataxia. I am not familiar with this condition. So I did some homework.
- Young children are most commonly diagnosed with acute cerebellar ataxia following a viral infection while current and chronic cerebellar ataxia may occur from stroke, migraines, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, seizures and other genetic, acute or autoimmune diseases.
- Symptoms of cerebellar ataxia may include uncoordinated movements in the limbs, clumsiness, unsteadiness, abnormal eye movements and visual complaints.
Obviously, this is a debilitating condition for young learners. The good news is that it is treatable and correctable. But teachers and therapists will need guidance in how to apply our knowledge therapeutically. Therefore, I am contemplating the creating a HELP BLOG specifically to address such questions. While I wish the blog could be a source for definitive resources, it will more likely be a simple, starting point for serious research, serving to point readers in the right direction.
This blog post will be a test of this idea. I hope you find this information to be helpful.
LINK: Cerebellar Signs; a Patient Plus article.
PatientPlus articles are written for doctors and so the language can be technical, however some people find that they add depth to the patient information leaflets. You may find the abbreviations record helpful.
LINK: Treating ataxia
Ataxia UK is the UK’s leading charity for people living with ataxia and provides information about specific ataxia services. It is also a useful resource for people who have just received a diagnosis of ataxia.
LINK: Physiotherapeutic Exercises For Cerebellar Ataxia
The cerebellum controls balance and coordination. It does not function properly during cerebellar ataxia. Young children are most commonly diagnosed with acute cerebellar ataxia following a viral infection. Current and chronic cerebellar ataxia may occur from stroke, migraines, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, seizures and other genetic, acute or autoimmune diseases.
LINK: A Case-Study In Re-Teaching A Traumatically Brain Injured Child Handwriting Skills
Richard M. Kubina Jr., Diane Aho, Michael P. Mozzoni, and Paul Malanga
Abstract: The case study details the efforts to re-teach handwriting skills to a child with traumatic brain injury. The intervention focused on practicing handwriting tool, or foundational, skills. The case study took place during occupational therapy while the child attended out-patient sessions at a post acute rehabilitation center. Positive results accompanied the intervention and are discussed. After the intervention, it was clear that the form of Byron’s writing vastly improved. In effect, the practice of tools skills of handwriting was accompanied by a doubling in the total amount of words in the see/copy channel, as well as improved legibility in everyday handwriting, a skill not directly addressed. Another positive effect occurred with Byron’s pencil grasp…… After the study, Byron had normal grasp prehension, thumb opposing two remaining digits.
Journal Of Precisions Teaching and Celeration 1998.XV. 32-40 NUMBER 2
LINK: Vestibuar Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT)
“VRT can also improve impairments in executive, visual-spatial, and linguistic abilities, as well as spatial cognition, language and emotional regulation of behaviour, emotional control, as well as reading and writing skills.
….. and are based on Cawthorne-Cooksey Exercises and a combination of adaptation, substitution, and habituation exercises.
(VRT) has been shown to be effective for both adults and children, with vestibular disorders, both peripheral and central.”
LINK: Watch Holly’s Story