What is it?
Cerebral Palsy (CP) refers to a range of movement disorders caused by damage to the motor control centres of the brain. People with CP may have spasms, abnormal muscle tone and difficulty with balance, walking and other day-to-day physical activities. Often there is some pain associated with the condition.
What causes it?
A child’s motor control centres can be damaged during pregnancy, child birth or after birth. Premature infants are particularly at risk. Cerebral Palsy can be caused by exposure to toxins, near drowning or head injury. Essentially the developing brain is a delicate thing, and many different things can lead to Cerebral Palsy. Only in rare cases is the cause genetic.
Many things can be done to help people with CP achieve their potential. Physiotherapy can build strength, Occupational Therapy helps them learn practical skills, and Speech-Language Pathologists can help with language and eating problems. Sometimes orthopedic surgery and drugs are part of the treatment.
Various medical issues are often associated with CP. For example epilepsy is found in about one-third of the cases and difficulty with cognition is not uncommon.
Looking down the road
CP does not get worse (it is ‘non-progressive’) however it cannot be cured. Therapy and coping strategies can help people with CP function much more effectively and allow them to pursue their interests and ambitions.