Cerebral Palsy: An Overview
Cerebral palsy is a physical disability that affects movement and posture. It is an umbrella term that refers to a group of disorders affecting a person’s ability to move. The disorder is due to damage to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth.
Cerebral palsy affects people in many ways and can affect body movement, muscle control, coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. Although cerebral palsy is a permanent life-long condition, some of these symptoms can improve or degrade over time.
People who have cerebral palsy may also have visual, learning, hearing, speech, epilepsy and intellectual impairments.
Children with cerebral palsy may be supported by a team of professionals including health professionals and community-based support services who work together to help the child and family reach their goals.
Cerebral Palsy Causes
Cerebral palsy is the result of a combination of events that happen either before, during, or after birth that can lead to damage in a baby’s developing brain. There is no single cause of cerebral palsy. For most babies born with cerebral palsy, the cause remains unknown.
Researchers now know that only a small percentage of cases are due to complications at birth (e.g. asphyxia or lack of oxygen). Today, it is accepted that cerebral palsy generally arises from a combined series of events that can cause or accelerate injury to the developing brain.
Although prematurity is the largest risk factor for cerebral palsy, it is the sequence of events that led to the premature birth that may have caused the cerebral palsy, rather than the premature birth itself.
In 13 out of 14 cases of cerebral palsy in Australia, the brain injury leading to cerebral palsy occurs either while the mother is pregnant, or before 1 month of age. Stroke is the most common cause in babies who acquire cerebral palsy after 1 month of age. The stroke may occur spontaneously or arise from surgical or heart complications.
Signs of Cerebral Palsy
There are signs that may indicate a child has cerebral palsy. However, not all signs are visible at birth and they may become more obvious as babies develop.
- Low muscle tone (baby feels ‘floppy’ when picked up)
- Unable to hold up his/her own head while lying on their stomach or in a supported sitting position
- Muscle spasms or feeling stiff
- Poor muscle control, reflexes and posture
- Delayed development (can’t sit up or independently roll over by 6 months)
- Feeding or swallowing difficulties
- Prefers to use one side of their body
Depending on the level of severity of cerebral palsy, toddlers and children may experience difficulties with physical development such as:
- not walking by 12-18 months
- not speaking simple sentences by 24 months
If your child is not reaching these milestones or they display some of the signs of cerebral palsy, you may need to speak to your early childhood nurse, general practitioner or pediatrician.
Sign up for Classes at Our Cerebral Palsy Center
Although Cerebral Palsy is a lifelong disability, there are many interventions that can help reduce its impact on the body and the individual’s quality of life. An intervention is a service that Achievement Center of Texas would offer that would aim to improve the condition of cerebral palsy as it affects a person's day-to-day life and activities. At the Cerebral Palsy Center, we are dedicated to helping each student with cerebral palsy obtain a better quality of life. Achievement Center of Texas has many students with cerebral palsy, and we have plenty of space to accommodate to all your individual needs and goals. Click the button below to begin the enrollment process.
Donate to Help Our Cerebral Palsy Center
If you're not ready to enroll your child or yourself into our Cerebral Palsy Center, please donate so that we can continue offering the best services to each, individual student. We want to cater to everyone's unique goals and aspirations. This is only made possible through donations from people like you who care. Please click the button below to begin the donation process.