Therefore cerebral palsy is a disorder of muscle control which results from some damage to part of the brain. The term cerebral palsy is used when the problem has occurred to the developing brain either before birth, around birth or early in life
Children can have problems such as weakness, stiffness, awkwardness, slowness, shakiness and difficulty with balance. These problems can range from mild to severe. In mild cerebral palsy, the child may be slightly clumsy in one arm or leg, and the problem may be barely noticeable. In severe cerebral palsy, the child may have a lot of difficulties, with the whole body affected.
WHAT ARE THE VARIOUS TYPES OF CEREBRAL PALSY?
There are several different types of cerebral palsy.
Spastic Cerebral Palsy
This is the most common type of cerebral palsy. Spasticity means
stiffness or tightness of
muscles. The muscles are stiff because the message to the muscles is
through the damaged part of the brain.
When people without cerebral palsy perform a movement, some groups of muscles become tighter and some groups of muscles relax. In children with spastic cerebral palsy, both groups of muscles may become tighter. This makes the movement difficult.
Athetoid Cerebral Palsy
Athetosis is the word used for the uncontrolled movements that occur in
this type of
cerebral palsy. This lack of control is often most noticeable when the
child starts to make
a movement. In additions, children with athetoid cerebral palsy often
have very weak
muscles or feel floppy when carried.
Ataxic cerebral Palsy
This is the least common type of cerebral palsy. Ataxia is the word used
shaky movements or tremor. Children with ataxia also have problems with
Many children do not have just one type, but a mixture of several of
NOW TO CLEAR UP A FEW MISCONCEPTIONS ...
Cerebral Palsy is NOT contagious.
Remember, it is not a sickness or disease.
Cerebral Palsy is NOT progressive.
That is, the damage to the brain is not progressive,
but the effect on the body can result in progressive deformities
and disabilities such as curvature of the spine or dislocation of the hips.
Because cerebral palsy is not a sickness or a disease,
and NOT progressive,
it is NOT usually the primary cause of death.
People with cerebral palsy often have other disabilities not related to the cerebral palsy. Disabilities such as heart defects, asthma, and kidney damage are NOT related to cerebral palsy. Many people with one disability [not just those with cerebral palsy] have additional disabilities.
WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF CEREBRAL PALSY?
There are many different causes.
Damage to the brain can occur:
-in the early months of pregnancy, for example if the mother is exposed to certain infections such as Rubella [German measles];
-during labour or at birth, for example when there is lack of oxygen supplied to the baby;
-in the period shortly after birth, for example where an infant develops a severe infection in the first few days or weeks of life.
It is important to note that, despite a careful review and various tests, the cause of the cerebral palsy often remains unknown.
Almost all families continue to worry about the cause, and why it happened. This is understandable, and a natural response. Parents often blame themselves for something they may, or may not have done, during the pregnancy or birth. However, usually the event for which the family blame themselves is either not the cause, or could not possibly have been prevented. It is helpful if families can discuss the problem and share their concerns with each other, and with the people involved in the care of their child.
CAN CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH CEREBRAL PALSY LOOK AFTER
The aim of treatment is to encourage children and adults to learn to be
as independent as
possible. Some children and adults who have mild cerebral palsy will
have no problems
in achieving independence. For others it will be a slow process. In
some with severe
difficulties, considerable assistance from others will always be needed.
Children and adults with cerebral palsy have the same goals as people everywhere, to participate in as many of life's opportunities as possible. Cerebral palsy is not curable. Therefore The Cerebral Palsy Association is concerned with the QUALITY OF LIFE which is achievable by people with cerebral palsy. That is, a life shaped by their abilities and NOT their disabilities.
Further information on any of the above subjects can be obtained from the Resource and Information Service of The Cerebral Palsy Association which has a number of publications and a data base on topics related to cerebral palsy.
Interested persons are also welcome to make enquiries from:
Manager of Children's Services
For more information please mail us on.....
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