Cerebral Palsy Defined


Cerebral Palsy is a common disability that affects roughly 40% of children.

It can be defined as a disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills (both fine and gross) (kidshealth.org). It is caused by brain damage sometimes during pregnancy, birth, or between the ages of 2-5.

Cerebral Palsy comes in four types:

4 Types Of Cerebral Palsy;

  1. Monoplegia– only affects one limb which is usually an arm
  2. Hemiplegia– only affects one side of the body including the leg, trunk, and arm
  3. Diplegia– affects both arms or both legs
  4. Quadriplegia– affects all four of the limbs

Cerebral Palsy can range from mild to severe with each affecting the individual differently.

Ranges Of Cerebral Palsy;

  1. Mild– an individual can move without assistance, and his/her daily activities are not limited.
  2. Moderate– an individual will need supports such as, but not limited to, braces (AFO), medications, and/or adaptive or assistive technology to complete daily activities.
  3. Severe– an individual will require a wheelchair and will have significant challenges in completing daily activities.

Cerebral Palsy affects development.

This means that the child will experience delays in one or more of the following areas (this is not a comprehensive list):

List Of Delays Caused By Cerebral Palsy

  • Crawling
  • Walking
  • Standing
  • Speaking
  • Picking Up Objects
  • Balance
  • Sitting Up Independently

It is important to note the brain damage caused by the CP can affect brain development/functions which can lead to other medical issues such as:

Other Medical Issues That Can Be Caused By Cerebral Palsy

  • Sleep disorders
  • Tooth decay
  • Drooling
  • Speech problems (delayed and/or nonverbal)
  • Visual impairments
  • Hearing loss
  • Behavior Problems
  • Osteoporosis
  • Food Aspirations
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux
  • Seizures
  • Intellectual Disabilities

There is no cure for Cerebral Palsy but having a variety of resources and therapies can help improve the individual’s quality of life.

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Treatment can be twofold-treatment early in life and then lifelong management.

When an individual receives treatment early, it helps the developing brain and body become more resilient. It also allows more opportunities for correcting or improving some of the individual’s mobility limitations.

The main focus of the treatment is to nurture the development of the individual so they can live as independently as possible.

Actively treating any symptoms coinciding with Cerebral Palsy is the best way to ensure the highest quality of life for an individual as they start transitioning into adulthood. Research shows many individuals with cerebral palsy can be completely self-sufficient and have purposeful lives.

Children who have been diagnosed with CP can improve their motor skills with a variety of different methods which include but are not limited to:

Ways Children With Cerebral Palsy Can Improve Their Motor Skills;

  • Alternative Therapy
  • Medication
  • Surgery

If a parent wants an effective treatment for his/her son’s/daughter’s condition, it is essential for the parent to seek out a multidisciplinary team of specialists which can include:

Multidisciplinary Team Of Specialists;

Being a new parent who just received the news that their child has a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy can be overwhelming and scary.

The parent will be overrun with emotions, but it is imperative to remember that YOU are not alone in this journey and with early intervention and an excellent multidisciplinary team, your child can live a happy and fulfilling life.

~ Amanda

Picture of Amanda Wagoner, MAT

Amanda Wagoner, MAT

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