Often times there are misconceptions about what a particular diagnosis means. This is why knowledge IS power and in hopes of continuing awareness and further education I have provided a brief and general overview of what cerebral palsy is by definition. However, please keep in mind that regardless of the diagnosis an individual is not defined by it. Each image provided below will lead you back to the original source if you want to know more, so READ & CLICK away 🙂
WHAT IS CEREBRAL PALSY?
- Cerebral palsy is a group of conditions that are caused by problems in brain development before or after birth.
- It is the most common cause of chronic childhood disability .
- 10,000 infants and 1,500 preschoolers diagnosed each year in the U.S.
- It is non-progressive disorder, which means that early intervention and continued therapy can improve overall outcomes.
- Bacterial and viral infections
- Bleeding in the brain (hemorrhaging)
- A lack of oxygen to the brain before, during or after birth (asphyxia)
- Prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol, mercury poisoning from fish and toxoplasmosis from raw/undercooked meat
- Head injuries sustained during birth or in the first few years of infancy
- (including medical negligence)
*About 20%-50% of cases have an unknown cause
TYPE OF CEREBRAL PALSY
Cerebral palsy can impact different parts of the body and the degree of severity is different for everyone:
Although the following are common, a person does not need to experience all symptoms to have CP.
- Problems with movement on one side of body
- Stiff muscles
- Exaggerated or jerky reflexes
- Involuntary movements or tremors
- Lack of coordination and balance
- Problems swallowing or sucking
- Difficulty with speech (dysarthria)
- Contractures (shortening of muscles)
- Delayed motor skill development
- Gastrointestinal problems
Although these are common co-existing conditions among people with CP, there are many who do not experience any of the following:
- Vision or hearing impairments
- Learning disabilities
- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
- Chronic pain or discomfort
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Speech disorders
- Mental health disorders
HOW IS CP DIAGNOSED?
A diagnosis is often confirmed after 18 months in order to rule out any other possible diagnosis. However, a common way to diagnosis is through evaluating brain images that can determine brain injury.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Computed tomography scan (CT)
- Electroencephalogram (EEG)
- Cranial ultrasound
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Alternative therapy
- music therapy
- aqua therapy
- Orthopedic surgery
- muscle lengthening
- tendon lengthening
- tendon transfer
- Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR)
- Muscle relaxants
- Nerve blocks
There is a long list of various equipment used and among those categories there are multiple variations that are customized based on the level of independence and age. CLICK on the pictures below to find out more about them and where to purchase them.
- rigid frame
- folding frame
- power wheelchairs/scooters
- Prone, supine and multi-position standers
- Mobile standers
- Sit-to-stand standers
- gait trainer
- chest-support walkers
- suspension walkers
- two-wheeled posture control walkers
- four-wheeled posture control walkers
Walking sticks, canes or crutches
Specialists will have their say, but understand that no one should be limited based on their diagnosis. Many people are thriving and surpassing all of their doctor’s original expectations. Cerebral palsy does not shorten expected life expectancy and is not progressive, but it is important to manage any co-existing conditions with proper intervention methods because those can cause complications that can negatively impact life expectancy.