I was diagnosed in my 30's and now at 49 I'm still not using any assistive devices. I did just complete physical therapy. I would recommend this for all of us but make sure they work with neuro patients, not orthopedic. I went from January to June and I am walking better, I haven't fallen in about 2 months. I still trip but I haven't fallen. They have taught me what to do when I get off balance. Also I discovered that some of the things I was doing to protect myself was actually making the ataxia worse.
I also worked with an occupational therapist and while being evaluated we found out my eyes were being affected. I have been doing eye exercises and my eyes are almost back to normal. My eye doctor never picked this up.
You might want to check out: http://http://walkingwithataxia.com/index.html
Dr. Clouse was told to sit back and let this do whatever it wants also. He said no and has been working on how to walk. He has people that were in wheelchairs that are walking.
I would recommend the PT, to work on your core and OT to help with eyes, fine motor skills. Speech therapy if you're speech is affected and I would do whatever exercise overall that you can do (swimming, walking, yoga, pilates, weights, hiking). I found out that some of the trails are handicap accessible.
Lastly, I would say stay on this website. It's a great resource if you have a question, or just need to vent. More than likely someone has gone through what you are or they can advise you about what they do.
I'm a single mom of a 14 year old so being self-sufficient is very important. I don't have a significant other to depend on. I found the PT, OT were the most similar of what Dr. Clouse feels. The PT that works with neuro patients are there to make you as independent as possible. The PT's that work with orthopedic patients just want to give you walkers. canes, wheelchairs, etc without trying to improve your situation.