December 9, 2010
What is Cerebral Palsy and
what causes it?
It is a disorder of the nervous system that
targets the muscle tone, movement, and other
In most cases of cerebral palsy, the causes are
unknown, but in some, it develops during
pregnancy in which the brain isn’t fully
developed or there is a significant decrease in
the amount of blood flow to the brain.
Complications during labor and delivery can
cause CP in some cases.
Signs and Symptoms
Struggles with fine motor skills. These include handling scissors, using crayons, buttoning a shirt, and any other movement that uses her fingers and hands
Struggles with gross motor skills. These include walking, riding a tricycle, kicking a ball, and other movements that use his legs and arms.
Trouble sitting upright. It takes a lot of muscle tone to sit up without toppling over.
Shakes a lot or has uncontrollable jerking of her legs, arms, or torso.
Muscles are weak.
Body tremors, drooling, weakened muscles in his face; may lose control of his tongue.
Trouble moving from one position to another.
How is CP Diagnosed?
Diagnoses of CP may be done at an early
stage in a child’s life.
Doctors diagnose cerebral palsy by testing
an infant’s motor skills and looking carefully
at the infant’s medical history. A physician
can also perform a number of medical tests
such as MRIs, CTs, and ultrasounds to look
at pictures of the infant’s brain, which can
help determine the cause of the child’s
problems as well as rule out other disorders.
3 types of Cerebral Palsy: Spastic,
Choreoathetoid, and Hypotonic
In Spastic cerebral palsy, the muscle tone is increased.
During this type of cerebral palsy, your movement is limited; often occurring on one side of the body (hemiparesis), but it can affect all four limbs (quadriparesis).
Uncontrollable movement of the legs and/or arms is
involved during Choreoathetoid cerebral palsy. With this type of cerebral palsy, the muscle tone is decreased (hypotonia). Choreathetoid cerebral palsy results from damage to
specialized brain structures that involve the basal ganglia, which deals with how you control your movement.
In Hypotonic cerebral palsy, the muscle tone is diminished
completely. The child will appear floppy. This type of cerebral palsy affects the motor skills, and cognitive development in the child.
Treatment will require specific therapies to help a child
with cerebral palsy reach his/her potential physically,
mentally, and socially.
Rehabilitation therapy includes physical therapy to help
with the muscle tone, strength, and gait.
Occupational therapy involves helping the patient learn
the physical skills he/she needs to be independent.
Things like feeding and dressing themselves.
Speech therapy helps the patient overcome
communication problems. Some children with
neurological problems have a high emotional distress
and may require help from a mental health facility.
Ways to reduce brain
damage that can lead to CP
Don’t ever shake the child, this could lead to
major brain damage; the brain is bounced
around from back to front.
If you have a child riding in the car with you,
properly strap the child down in a car seat,
away from airbags.
Be aware of lead in your house, it can also
lead to brain damage.
Having the child up-to-date on immunizations
is important, this can protect against
Coping with the stress of
Having a child with CP
Cerebral Palsy is an emotionally and financially
devastating life long condition. Medical bills add up quickly and put strain on an already challenging situation.
Becoming an effective advocate for your child means
understanding and accepting the reality of your child’s
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