Cerebral Palsy is a broad term that describes a group of neurological disorders. It is a life-long condition that affects the communication between the brain and the muscles, causing a permanent state of uncoordinated movement and posturing.
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
Many cases of Cerebral Palsy have unknown causes. The disorder occurs when there is abnormal development or damage to areas in the brain that control motor function. It occurs in approximately two to three out of every 1,000 births. Causes of Cerebral Palsy include
- Very low birth weight (especially in babies weighing less than 1 kg)
- Chemical exposure during pregnancy
- Viruses or Infection
- Complications of labor and delivery
What Are the Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?
The following are the most common symptoms of Cerebral Palsy. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. The child may have muscle weakness, poor motor control or have shaking, also called spasticity, of the arms or legs. Muscle stiffness in the form of stiff legs or clenched fists may also be seen. Cerebral palsy is classified according to the kind of motor function the child may have, including the following:
- Spastic movements of the arms or legs or both.
- Spasticity affecting one half, or side, of the body (such as right arm and right leg)
- Involuntary movement
Children with Cerebral Palsy may have additional problems, including the following:
- Vision, hearing or speech problems
- Learning disabilities and behavior problems
- Intellectual disabilities
- Bowel and bladder problems
- Bone abnormalities - giving the appearance that the person is leaning to one side
Babies with Cerebral Palsy are often slow to reach developmental milestones, such as learning to roll over, sit, crawl or walk. They may also have certain reflexes present that normally disappear in early infancy. The symptoms of Cerebral Palsy may resemble other conditions. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.
What Is the Treatment for Cerebral Palsy?
We recommend specific treatment for your child based on:
- Your child's age, overall health, and medical history
- The type and severity of the disease
- Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the disease
- Your preference
Positive reinforcement will encourage the child to strengthen their confidence and promote as much independence as possible.