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Quick link to the information of your choice on Cerebral Palsy:
What is Cerebral Palsy?
- Cerebral Palsy is the general term applied to a group of permanently disabling symptoms resulting from damage to the developing brain that may occur during fetal development, near, during or after birth, and results in loss or impairment of control over voluntary muscles characterized by loss of movement or loss of other nerve functions.
- Cerebral Palsy may be a developmental disability.
- Cerebral Palsy is a non-progressive disorder (symptoms directly resulting from the injury do not worsen) of movement and posture which results from damage to the nervous system.
- Cerebral Palsy is not an illness or a disease, nor is it contagious.
What are the causes of Cerebral Palsy?
- Tutorial for Cerebral Palsy
The University of Virginia Children's Hospital offers a very simple, concise, in layman terms, definitions of the various types of Cerebral Palsy, causes, and effects with examples for what each effect means.
- Injury to the cerebrum (the largest portion of the brain, which is involved with higher mental faculties, sensations, and voluntary muscle activities) during fetal development.
- Injury can also occur from illnesses or head injury.
What are the characteristics of Cerebral Palsy?
- Wide ranges of types and severities:
- Hemiplegia - one side of impairment -arm and leg.
- Diplegia -parts of both sides impaired - four limbs, legs affected more.
- Quadriplegia - all four extremities.
- Parpalegia - two limbs different sides.
- Six different forms: Spastic, Atheoid, Ataxic, Atonia, Rigidity, and Tremor.
- Loss of control of voluntary muscles.
- The part of the brain injured/damaged decides what disabilities occur.
- "The effects of cerebral palsy vary widely from individual to individual. At its mildest, cerebral palsy may result in a slight awkwardness of movement or hand control. At its most severe, CP may result in virtually no muscle control, profoundly affecting movement and speech. Depending on which areas of the brain have been damaged, one or more of the following may occur: (1) muscle tightness or spasms (2) involuntary movement (3) difficulty with "gross motor skills" such as walking or running (4) difficulty with "fine motor skills" such as writing or doing up buttons (5) difficulty in perception and sensation" From the Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy (OFCP)
- Cerebral Palsy sometimes can be accompanied by other disabilities (speech, vision, epilepsy, gait, balance, coordination, hearing and sensation).
- Cerebral palsy is a lifelong disorder.
- Severe cases require assistance in daily activities: feeding, dressing, bathing and toileting.
- Areas of the brain which define a persons intelligence are not affected by Cerebral Palsy. If however, there has also been additional trauma to the areas of the brain that affect cognitive development, then cognitive ability may be impaired in addition to the Cerebral Palsy.
- Cerebral palsy does not affect expected length of life.
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Cerebral Palsy can cause multiple disabilities as listed above. The complexity of the consequences makes Cerebral Palsy a complicated disability. The following are just some of the complications due to the involuntary movement of Cerebral Palsy.
- Injuries from falls
- Reduced mobility
- Reduced communication skills
- Social stigmatization
What are the statistics regarding Cerebral Palsy?
- -2.5 to 6 per 1000 births.
- Most common of all nonprogressive disabilities.
- Adequate prenatal care may reduce the risk of some rare causes of cerebral palsy. However, dramatic improvements over the last 15 years in obstetrical care at delivery has not reduced the incidence of cerebral palsy.
- Pregnant mothers with various medical conditions may need to be followed in a high risk prenatal clinic.
- "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Although one cannot always prevent injury, there are known ways to prevent injury to newborns.
Parents and doctors must remain diligent during the birth process.
- Avoid difficult or premature delivery of newborns.
- Healthy pregnancy, healthy baby programs help avoid difficult or premature delivery and low birth weight, both risk factors for developmental disabilities.
"America's health care system is in crisis precisely because we systematically neglect wellness and prevention." - U.S. Senator, Retired, Tom Harkin
- Read our NHU Report on the Prevention of Disabilities - Spring 2015
Read about the rising prevalence of developmental disabilities, the impact of developmental disabilities and the need for data for research. ----We all know to move forward on any problem facing mankind requires research. We are stating, in order to protect children of the future, newborns, their parents and society from disabilities, we should broaden the scope of data collected through the U.S. Standard Certificate of Live Birth. This update to our existing data system would be more easily adopted and is necessary to more effectively meet current research needs for the purpose of preventing disabilities. Existing data collected is vague and not in sync with the rapid advances in medicine for today.
People are more alike than they are different.
- Identify and develop an appreciation for each persons strengths and accomplishments.
- Become aware of the affect on daily activities.
- People First Language from disabilityisnatural.com by Kathie Snow offers insight into society's use of language when using the term disability. The term disability is a societal construct to identify characteristics related to a medical condition that may entitle an individual for services or legal protections. The use of this language encourages freedom, respect and inclusion for all, and recognizes forms of language that can isolate, create negative stereotypes and place attitudinal barriers for individuals. "Using People First Language, putting the person before the disability—and eliminating old, prejudicial, and hurtful descriptors, can move us in a new direction. People First Language is not political correctness; instead, it demonstrates good manners, respect, the Golden Rule, and more—it can change the way we see a person, and it can change the way a person sees themself!" For more articles by Kathie Snow to "help us begin to use more respectful and accurate language and create positive change," visit People First Language and More
- There is no correlation between physical disability and aptitude. People with Cerebral Palsy may lead normal lives.
- Although one may have an impairment, one may not have a disability (have difficulty performing a daily living task) or may not be handicapped (because of disability, unable to achieve normal role in society).
- People with Cerebral Palsy experience social stigma associated with the involuntary movement of Cerebral Palsy.
Visit our NHU Community Forum on Cerebral Palsy for more insights, awareness, viewpoints, experiences, needs and solutions.
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Needs and Solutions
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- As a parent, call your health care provider if symptoms of cerebral palsy develop in your newly born child, especially if you know that an injury occurred during birth or early infancy.
There is no known cure for Cerebral palsy. Therapy is centered on achieving increased independence for the person with Cerebral palsy at home, school and in the community:
- Treatment is guided by the symptoms exhibited and may include physical therapy, braces, appropriate glasses and hearing aids, medications, special education or appropriate schooling, and, in severe cases, long-term care may be required.
- Augmentative communication and the use of a computer for communication and school work.
- Occupational Therapy improves hand function, perceptual motor skills and other activities of daily living. Appropriat adaptive devices.
- Splinting needs, positioning equipment and home modifications.
- Physical Therapy evaluation of motor development, functional mobility, and appropriate equipment; developmental stimulation; gait/mobility training; immediate post-operative management, family education and theraputic pool facilities.
- Crutches, walker, braces, arm slings, seating or wheelchairs.
- Feeding and swallowing disorders.
- Speech and audiological therapy.
- Assessment of spasticity which considers such things as positioning, surgical procedures such as dorsal rhizotomy and muscle surgery and medicines such as intrathecal Baclofen and Botox.
- Orthotics makes braces based on the individual person's needs.
- Rehabilitation Services include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and neuropsychology, for people who require this level of care as well as exercise, hygiene, education, training, and vocational rehabilitation.
- If you have not been evaluated for using adaptive computer technology, the Tech Act Center in your state may be a good place to start. The RESNA TA Project provides information to individuals and programs about adaptive technology devices. To find the location in your state, contact the RESNA TA Project, 1101 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 7000, Washington DC 20036, phone (202) 857-1140 or fax (202)223-4579.
- Mainstreaming in regular schools is advised unless physical disabilities or mental development makes this impossible. Glasses, hearing aids, or other equipment must be designed specifically for the particular disabilities and may assist with communication and learning. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, orthopedic intervention, or other treatments may be appropriate.
- Medications may include muscle relaxants to reduce tremors and spasticity, and anticonvulsants to prevent or reduce the frequency of seizures.
- Surgery may be needed in some cases to release joint contractures, a progressive problem associated with spasticity. Surgery may also be necessary for placement of feeding tubes and to control gastroesophageal reflux. Recently, the use of botulinum toxin injections has been show to reduce or delay the need for surgery.
- The majority of cerebral palsy patients will run into residence and healthcare issues at some point in their lifetime, whether during their youth or in their adult years. A large number of cerebral palsy patients are placed in hospitals as children because their families lacked the resources to support them. Some have been stuck in these hospitals for longer than they feel necessary. As a patient becomes older, the need for a residence outside the hospital becomes more and more important. The need for an increase of cerebral palsy residential homes is unmistakable, and past due.
Often children with cerebral palsy are in need of adaptive equipment to increase independence. Some equipment necessary such as a wheelchair or walker will help aid a child with cerebral palsy with mobilization. Mobility is key for independence.
Many times children with cerebral palsy suffer and have a difficult time using their fine motor skills, making things such as eating utensils, and writing material difficult to manage. Being able to feed one’s self shows independence. Having utensils and writing material equipped with special grips or handles, handles with bends or curves make it easier to grip and hold onto utensils or tools.
Many times it is difficult to understand what a child with cerebral palsy maybe saying, limit their ability in communication. There are many adaptive tools to help keep conversation and communication very smooth. Some of these tools may include a book, or computer. With technologies’ recent advancement with the app era, many communication tools can be provided on your phone or an Ipad.
For more information on apps for children with special needs visit Moms with Apps.
Learn More About Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy: Hope through Research, condensed by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is a very comprehensive article on Cerebral Palsy. If you are looking for more detail visit the detailed version of this article at Cerebral Palsy: Hope through Research (Detail) This article includes descriptions of Cerebral Palsy, causes, types of CP, including Early Signs for specific age groups, Treatments, Research, a glossary of terms and a list of resources.
Cerebral palsy; A guide for care is written by the duPont Hospital for Children, Alfrred I. duPont Institute of the Nemours Foundation, Wilmington, Delaware. This brief description is cited from a book by Miller, Bachrach, et al., published by Hopkins Press.
Cerebral Palsy Guidance is a comprehensive informational website on Cerebral Palsy (CP) with a mission of providing quality cerebral palsy information and assistance to families in need. This site provides information on Cerebral Palsy symptoms and treatments to financial assistance including daily living articles, covering all aspects of cerebral palsy and all of the information is thoroughly researched and cited. Their writing staff includes, Alex, who’s lived with cerebral palsy since infancy. His personal experiences of life with cerebral palsy makes this website more insightful and places the importance on how critical it is for parents of a child with CP to have access to reliable and comprehensive information on this complex condition.
Cerebral Palsy Guide is an organization that supports families and children affected by a cerebral palsy diagnosis through free resources, support groups, and financial help. The information is easy to find and provides solutions. For more information, visit their website or contact Cerebral Palsy Guide, 3208 E. Colonial Dr., #241, Orlando, FL 32803 or Phone: 1-888-908-4261.
Cerebral Palsy from Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia page of information about Cerebral Palsy.
Cerebral Palsy by Kid's Health is an information page about Cerebral Palsy written in kid language.
Disability and Rehabilitation Handbook, by Goldenson, Robert, McGraw-Hill, New York, New York, 1978.
Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy What is Cerebral Palsy? (OFCP)
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), 1660 L Street, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036-5602, (800) 872-5827.
About Cerebral Palsy by the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Clinical Departments, Pediatrics,Tutorials for Patients and Families
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