Cerebral palsy is not a birth defect, disease, or communicable condition.
Cerebral palsy results because of either brain damage or abnormal brain development. The mitigating factors that lead to cerebral palsy usually occur in utero or during the birthing process.
Cerebral palsy is not as rare as some people think.
Cerebral palsy is a motor disability condition that affects approximately three out of every 1,000 children. In most cases, children are not diagnosed until they are approximately two or three years of age. There is no clear and concise test for diagnosing cerebral palsy. Doctors usually make a diagnosis based on observation, parental input, development, and in some cases, an MRI.
There is more than one type of cerebral palsy.
The term “cerebral palsy” refers to a group of disorders that affect a child’s movements. Spastic cerebral palsy leaves the muscles stiff much of the time; athetoid cerebral palsy can cause either slow and writhing movements or slow and jerky ones; and ataxic cerebral palsy usually causes problems with coordination. There can also be mixed forms of the conditions, and spastic CP is also categorized based on which body parts are involved.
The severity of the condition varies.
Not everyone with CP reacts in the same way. Some people only experience a little bit of weakness in one arm or hand while others are confined to wheelchairs or suffer from speech impairments.
Cerebral palsy can affect all the muscles, big and small.
Cerebral palsy can affect the signals that muscles receive from the brain, so they don’t always work the way they should.
Muscles can be tight or loose.
Muscles can be tight or loose. It depends where the brain damage occurred and how severe it was.
The symptoms can vary on a daily basis.
The muscles can change how they react for many reasons. The muscles can loosen or tighten depending on the weather or even the mood of the patient.
Cerebral palsy is incurable.
While there are effective therapies to help patients deal with their condition, at the present time there is no cure for CP. More research is necessary in order for that to even be a possibility in the future.
The condition has no affect on a person’s personality.
Cerebral palsy does not affect a person’s personality or disposition. The only disability is the outward physical appearance and functions.
Do not feel sorry for people who have cerebral palsy.
While children with cerebral palsy face more challenges than other children, others should not feel sorry for them. The challenges they face are part of who they are, and they are certainly not sitting around feeling sorry for themselves.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture.
- CP is the most common motor disability of childhood. About 1 in 323 children have been identified with CP according to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.
- CP is more common among boys than girls, and more common among black children than among white children.
- Most (about 77%) children with CP have spastic CP. This means that their muscles are stiff, and as a result, their movements can be awkward.
- Over half (about 58%) of children with CP can walk independently.
About 1 in 10 children identified with CP walk using a hand-held mobility device.
- Many children with CP have one or more additional conditions or diseases along with their CP, also known as co-occurring conditions. For example, over 4 in 10 children with CP also have epilepsy and a little less than 1 in 10 have autism spectrum disorder.
- Most CP is related to brain damage that happened before or during birth and is called congenital CP. Some of the factors that increase the risk for congenital CP are
- Being born too small
- Being born too early
- Being born a twin or other multiple birth
- Being conceived by in vitro fertilization or other assisted reproductive technology
- Having a mother who had an infection during pregnancy
- Having kernicterus (a type of brain damage that can happen when severe newborn jaundice goes untreated)
- Having complications during birth
- A small percentage of CP is caused by brain damage that happens more than 28 days after birth. This is called acquired CP. Some factors that increase the risk for acquired CP are
- Having a brain infection, such as meningitis
- Suffering a serious head injury
- The specific cause of most cases of CP is unknown.
- CP is typically diagnosed during the first or second year after birth. If a child’s symptoms are mild, it is sometimes difficult to make a diagnosis until the child is a few years older.
- With the appropriate services and support, children and adults with CP can stay well, active, and a part of the community. Read the stories of children, adults, and families living with CP.
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