Friday, 6 June 2008


Cerebral Palsy

What is Cerebral Palsy; Cerebral Palsy is a permanent physical condition that affects movement. Cerebral Palsy is mostly and more commonly known as CP which is a short way of saying Cerebral Palsy. Its effect can be as mild as just a weakness in one hand ranging to almost complete lack of movement in both arms and legs of a child/adults body.

Cerebral Palsy results from damage to part of the brain. The term is used when the problem has occurred to the developing brain, usually before birth including lack of oxygen, infections etc, and the cause of Cerebral Palsy is unknown.

In Australia it is estimated that a child is born with cerebral palsy every 18 hours. In the world, the incidence is the same; 1 in 400 births. There is no pre-birth test and no known cure. Cerebral palsy, except in its mildest forms, can be seen in the first 12-18 months of life. It presents when children fail to reach movement milestones including when an infant starts to sit and or walk. Babies most at risk of Cerebral Palsy are those born early and or prematurely. Another risk is low birth weight.

There are three main types of Cerebral Palsy (CP) that children/adults can have. The most common type of CP is Spastic Cerebral Palsy which results in spasticity and stiffness or tightness of muscles, another type of CP is Dyskinetic cerebral palsy which results in slow ‘stormy’ movements sustained or muscle spasms causing twisting or repetitive movement. The third type of CP is Ataxic cerebral palsy this is the least common type of cerebral palsy which is by shaky movements. It affects a person’s balance and coordination.

For people that have CP a part of the body is affected. Depending on what type of CP they have, different parts of the body will or have been affected including arms and legs and or only one side of the body e.g. left side. It is different for each person.
There are certain ways used to describe the parts of the body that are affected which include
Hemiplegia - the leg and arm on one side of the body is affected.
Diplegia - both legs are affected significantly more than the arms, children and adults with diplegia usually have some clumsiness with their hand movements.
Quadriplegia - Both arms and legs are affected. The muscles of the trunk, face and mouth can also be affected.

CP sufferers use equipment and support to help with their conditions including wheelchairs, walkers, splints, physiotherapist’s occupational therapists, these equipment and people support people with Cerebral Palsy.

Adults and children that suffer from CP may also suffer other conditions including disorders of hearing, eyesight problems, CP suffers may suffer epilepsy, intellectual learning difficulties, eating and drinking difficulties along with speech difficulties.

Children and adults that have CP should live a normal, healthy long life with the support of equipment, parents, support workers and any other help.

CP sufferers do have the chance of doing many things including using the computer, finding and working, studying at TAFE and many more things when they put their mind to it.

As a sufferer of Cerebral Palsy I know how other cp suffers feel all I can say is live life to the fullest and be positive and you will get far in the world, and if you want to try new things then do it, because from experience I can tell you there is no such thing as cant, don’t let anyone put you down, it might take you a while to do a task than other people but you can do it, Usually people with cp have a strong support system including family and friends.


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