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Regular physical activity is important for all teens and adolescents, but especially for those with conditions that affect movement, such as spina bifida.CDC recommends 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

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People with spina bifida higher on the spine (near the head) might have paralyzed legs and use wheelchairs.

Those with spina bifida lower on the spine (near the hips) might have more use of their legs and use crutches, braces, or walkers, or they might be able to walk without these devices.

A physical therapist can work with adolescents and teens to teach them how to exercise their legs to increase strength, flexibility, and movement.

As people with spina bifida mature, they will perform more and more activities themselves.

Most teens will dress and bathe themselves, manage their bathroom plans, and move about independently in their homes and communities.

They might begin to make their own doctor appointments and continue to participate in updating their own Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan, if they have one.

They also should participate in a seating or wheelchair evaluation at least once each year if they use a wheelchair.

Many physical, mental, emotional, and social changes are associated with the adolescent and teen years.

Teens and adolescents develop their own personalities and interests and want to become more independent.

This transition period can be challenging, especially for people affected by spina bifida.

It is important for the parents and caregivers of adolescents and teens with spina bifida to take active steps toward making them independent starting in childhood, so that by the time they are older they can develop the necessary skills to help them reach their full potential.

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