If you’re a parent of a child who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, this can not only be upsetting but also shocking at first. Being a parent, you will start processing this information on this disease and will have myriad of concerns and questions. You might be wondering about what the future has for your child, how much abled he will be, what kind of life your child will have and what sort of adjustments or accomodations you’ll have to make to turn your child’s life enjoyable.
Cerebral palsy – What is it?
CP or cerebral palsy is referred to a group of disorders which affect coordination and muscle movement. As the word ‘cerebral’ is there, this means having to do something with the brain and the word ‘palsy’ means weakness or issues with body movement. Cerebral palsy is probably the most common reason behind motor disabilities in childhood. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it affects around 1.5 to 4 among every 1000 children all over the world.
Cerebral Palsy – What are the possible symptoms?
The symptoms of cerebral palsy vary from one person to another and they often range from mild to severe. While some children might find it difficult to walk, some others can find it tough to sit while others can have difficulty in grasping objects. The severity of the symptoms will depend on the part of the brain that was affected. Few more common signs may include:
- Delay in achieving motor skill milestones like sitting up alone, rolling over or crawling
- Delays in speech development and dilemma in speaking
- Variations in muscle tone or being too stiff or floppy
- Stiff muscles, spasticity and heightened reflexes
- Involuntary movement or tremors
- Not enough muscle coordination or ataxia
- Difficulty in walking
- Difficulty in swallowing and too much of drooling
- Neurological issues like intellectual disabilities, seizures and blindness
- Working with a single side of the body like reaching out with just one hand
Cerebral palsy – What are the causes?
The brain not going through a normal development or a sudden injury to the brain usually is the most common causes of CP. This kind of damage has an adverse impact on a part of the brain that controls coordination, body movement and posture. This kind of brain damage occurs before birth but it can also occur during birth or during the initial years of the child’s life. Few of the possible causes are:
- Lack of oxygen reaching the brain during delivery
- Jaundice during infancy
- Gene mutations which can lead to unusual brain development
- Intracranial hemorrhage or bleeding within the brain
- Brain infections like meningitis and encephalitis
- Head injuries due to a fall or a car accident or child abuse
While it is true that there is no cure for cerebral palsy, the condition can certainly be treated and handled effectively. Make sure you keep your child under treatment as that is the only way you can improve his life and help him survive happily with cerebral palsy.