Hello again! Today I'm going to talk about cerebral palsy, but first I would like to dedicate this blog to a former client of mine who grew on me so much. I miss this person and I wish him all the best as he grows and progresses to the best of his ability.
Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that usually appears at birth or infancy. It has permanent effects on body movement and muscle coordination. The symptoms are usually static and do not worsen over time. Infants are slow to reach developmental milestones that include learning to roll over, sit, crawl and walk. Early signs of cerebral palsy are ataxia, spasticity and trouble walking. Ataxia, which is a neurological sign, involves a lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements. It causes dysfunction in parts of the nervous system such as the cerebellum, which controls movement. Spasticity causes involuntary muscle spasms and feelings of stiffness. Exaggerated reflexes and tight muscles are common. Trouble walking is caused by crouched posture, scissored gait, walking on toes or one leg drags. Some individuals with cerebral palsy cannot walk at all.
The types of cerebral palsy are:
- Hypotonic- reduced muscle tone resulting in relaxed muscles.
- Choreoathetoid- jerky or twitching movements (choreiform) and/or abnormal, uncontrollable writhing movements of arms and/or legs.
- Spastic- limited movement due to tight groups of muscles; movements are jerky and stiff. Difficulty holding and letting go of objects and increased muscle tension making the muscles rigid (hypertonia).
Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type, though many individuals with cerebral palsy have more than one type, or a combination. Individuals with cerebral palsy occasionally have other medical conditions such as mental retardation or seizures. Their hearing, sight and communication can also be affected. However, they are not always affected intellectually. Many of them have normal range IQs.
What causes cerebral palsy?
Brain injury or malformation, more specifically damage to the cerebrum, which is responsible for muscle movement, communication skills, memory and ability to learn, that causes cerebral palsy.
Who's at risk?
- Children who are born prematurely (37 weeks or earlier)
- Low birth weight (5 ½ lbs. or less)
- multiple birth (twins, triplets...)
Treatment for cerebral palsy may vary depending on the individual's abilities. Common treatments are behavioral therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and play therapy. Individuals with cerebral palsy can lead rewarding lives with the help of the therapy they need.