Growing Up with Cerebral Palsy
Many aspects of life, like movement and speech, often feel like automatic processes. Individuals with cerebral palsy may experience challenges with certain basic functions that can be easily taken for granted. While this can present challenges, those with cerebral palsy are always capable of enhancing their already amazing life with a little help.
The Scoop on Cerebral Palsy
When examining the words “cerebral” and “palsy,” we can realize a lot about its meaning. “Cerebral” refers to the brain and “palsy” refers to weakness of the muscles. Put together, we can know that cerebral palsy (CP) is a type of neurological (occurring in the brain) issue that affects movement control. As a result, it affects the way daily activities are performed. CP is also the most common motor disability.
The symptoms and severity all depend on the part of the brain affected and how much area is affected. As a result, cerebral palsy looks different across individuals. For example, cerebral palsy could cause inability to speak while others may speak clearly.
Three types of CP exist:
- Spastic (most common) – Muscle stiffness difficulties and inability to relax
- Athetoid (Dyskinesia) – Muscle control difficulties resulting in movements that happen against the will
- Ataxic – Challenges with balance, depth perception, and coordination
Generally, cerebral palsy results after complications with the brain during pregnancy and sometimes, early infancy. Some issues during pregnancy such as injury or stroke can increase the likelihood of cerebral palsy, but the cause of CP is generally unknown. No matter the cause, we want all affected by cerebral palsy to know that life can still be lived to its fullest potential.
Together is Better
All kids with cerebral palsy can lead a meaningful life abundant with joy, friends, and learning. The difference is that the kiddo may need extra help or will need to do things a little differently. Some kids may need assistance moving with a wheelchair, for instance. Anyone can be a big help to someone with cerebral palsy. Teaching our kiddos to be a good friend, thoughtful, and to be inclusive can go miles. Nothing is more upsetting than being mistreated or teased because of an issue you can’t control. This means that setting a good example and opening conversation up about CP is helpful for all kids. For CP kiddos, parents and teachers can help by involving them in activities, encouraging interests, and practicing academics and skills at home.
While there is no way to cure cerebral palsy, a comfortable life can be embraced. Consult with your pediatrician who will assist with locating a local physical therapist, occupational therapist, or speech therapist who can help. Depending on the issues that the disorder brings, a kiddo may need help from all three of these professionals, or just one or two. Rest assured, your kiddo will be the commander in charge of a very happy life.
If you suspect your child has cerebral palsy, understand some signs. You may look for developmental delays such as tight/loose muscles, inability to sit up by 7 months old or difficulties, or challenges with walking or crawling. Always reach out to us with questions or concerns.