What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a condition (not a disease) that affects motor ability in people of all ages. Not all symptoms are immediately noticeable and are only seen as a child develops. When diagnosing CP, doctors conduct a comprehensive, clinical evaluation process that looks for:
- Relaxed, floppy muscles or stiff, tight muscles
- Unusual postures
- Favoring one side of the body over the other
- Other indications via MRI
What causes cerebral palsy?
While there is not a singular cause of CP, there are risk factors:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Being a twins/triplet/other multiple birth
- Lack of oxygen to the brain prior or during birth
What are the types of cerebral palsy?
- Spastic cerebral palsy - characterized by stiffness and trouble moving
- Dyskinetic (athetoid) - uncontrolled movements
- Ataxic - problems with balance/depth perception
- Mixed - combination of the 3 previous types
How can I provide support for a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy?
Early intervention is KEY. Parents should be willing to be involved as early as possible; this means providing support via tools that allow the child opportunity to stay involved, and being an advocate/asking for help and services when needed. Understand that tools are NOT a crutch, and actually serve to encourage and facilitate growth.