If your child has recently begun the long road to recovery from Guillain-Barre syndrome, a mysterious medical malady that affects the myelin sheaths of nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord, you may be wondering what you can do to assist this process and provide your child with the support he or she needs to regain motor control. Read on to learn more about how occupational therapy may be able to help your child achieve a full recovery.
What long-term effects may your child be dealing with after Guillain-Barre?
While the impact of Guillain-Barre, or GB, is readily observed in those who are dealing with this syndrome or in recovery, doctors and researchers are still somewhat unsure of how this disease develops. Some may come down with GB after a fairly routine virus, while other cases of GB have no known cause.
If your child has been diagnosed with GB, he or she may still deal with loss of motor or muscle control, residual weakness, or brain fog even after recovery has begun. The process of restoring the myelin sheaths that protect nerve fibers and ensure nerve signals make their way from the brain to the muscles can be a long one, and it may be months or even years before your child feels the same way he or she did pre-GB.
How can occupational therapy help the recovery process?
Early intervention is key to a full recovery, and in many cases, seeking occupational therapy while your child is still recovering from GB can be the best way to ensure your child recovers his or her muscle strength and range of motion. Occupational therapy differs somewhat from physical therapy in that it is designed to help your child regain practical skills, from holding a fork to using the restroom unaccompanied, helping improve self-esteem while also retraining the body's muscles to promptly respond to nerve signals.
Whether your child is 3 or 13 at the time of his or her GB diagnosis, he or she is likely to benefit from occupational therapy. Over time, as skills are regained, this occupational therapy may transition into regular physical therapy to strengthen atrophied muscles or be phased out altogether in favor of a less-structured exercise and recovery program. By working closely with a therapist and setting achievable recovery goals, your child can recover the ground lost to this sudden and often inexplicable neurological syndrome.