So, you’ve made your way to my blog for one reason or another and you want to know more because in some way you’re connected or linked to Cerebral Palsy (C.P). Whatever your link may be I hope that I can get you the information you need. Oh, and please if I miss something you want to know, please feel free to ask at the end of this blog and I’ll be happy to help!
First, I want to start by saying C.P. is NOT contagious, you cannot catch it! Now that may seem like a stupid statement, but yes, I have been asked it in the past. C.P. is a neurological based diagnosis where the brain has been damaged in some way or another. Cerebral means having to do with the brain and Palsy means weakness or problems with using the muscle. It is one of the most common disabilities in children with an estimated 30,000 children in the UK being given a diagnosis. That is a vast sum of children and they may all have the same disabilities, but they will all present this in different ways, no one child with C.P. will be the same as another!
In fact, there are a few different types of C.P: Spastic, Athetoid and Ataxic. Within these there are more branches such as spastic C.P. Spastic is the most common, with 80% of people with C.P. having this type. To clarify, it can affect different parts of the body meaning more forms of C.P. are born.
This leads me onto a part with some longer, more medical jargon, so please bear with me. It wont last for long!
Let’s start with Quadriplegic C.P., this is usually where all four limbs (both arms and legs), trunk and head are affected. Next comes Hemiplegic C.P., where just one side of the body is affected, usually the same arm and leg, but the brain is a wonderful thing, so this can also cross over the body. Lastly comes, Diplegic C.P., this is where only the legs are affected. However doesn’t just stop there again in each diagnosis the disability can usually present itself in either of 2 ways (yes, another branch): Hypertonia, this is where the tone of the muscles is increased or tight and Hypotonic, which is where the muscles have decreased tone or low tone (floppy).
Let’s stop there with the types, as I could go on and explain even more, but we can leave that to a later date? For now, I want to talk about the cause of C.P. now. There are many different causes and I couldn’t name them all, but start here are the main ones:
Reduced Blood to brain
Reduced Oxygen to the brain
Infection caught during pregnancy
Asphyxiation (the brain not getting enough oxygen temporarily during birth)
Serious head injury
Brain not developing normally in the womb
Depending on the cause and the area of the brain that’s damaged, this dictates what type of C.P. is diagnosed. So, the cause is not just prematurity as only half of C.P. cases are born prematurely, the damage can also take place at many different stages: pre-birth (in the womb), during birth, post birth and further on in life. Although C.P. is not a progressive condition, it is permanent with some changes going on.
The key for children with C.P. is the intervention they get from many different types of therapists and medical professionals as this can change and support their development drastically. This is why I am so passionate about helping these children and getting this knowledge out there!
If you want any more information on C.P. or the types of therapy that can help, please do not hesitate to leave a comment or contact me. I would love to help, as I know I cannot give all the information needed in just one blog.
Thanks for reading!