Cerebral palsy (CP) is a disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills (the ability to move in a coordinated and purposeful way. CP usually is caused by brain damage that happens before or during a baby’s birth, or during the first 3 to 5 years of a child’s life. This brain damage also can lead to other health issues, including vision, hearing, and speech problems; and learning disabilities. There is no cure for CP, but treatment, therapy, special equipment,and, in some cases, surgery can help kids who are living with the condition.
Cerebral palsy is one of the most common congenital (existing a tor before birth) disorders of childhood.The are three types of CP which are classified as:
- Spastic Cerebral Palsy– causes stiffness and movement difficulties
- Athetoid Cerebral Palsy– leads to involuntary and uncontrolled movements
- Ataxic Cerebral Palsy– causes a problem with balance and depth perception
Since cerebral palsy affects muscle control and coordination, even simple movements – like standing still – are difficult. Other functions that also involve motor skills and muscles – such as breathing,bladder and bowel control, eating, and talking – also may be affected when a child has CP.
Balance, posture, and coordination can also be affected by Cerebral Palsy. Tasks such as walking, sitting, or tying shoes may be difficult for some, while others might have difficulty grasping objects. Other complications, such as intellectual impairment, seizures, and vision or hearing impairment also commonly accompany Cerebral Palsy.
Every case of cerebral palsy is unique to the individual. One person may have total paralysis and require constant care, while another with partial paralysis might have slight movement tremors but require little assistance. This is due in part by the type of injury and the timing of the injury to the developing brain.
With the exception of children born with a severe case, Cerebral Palsy is considered to be a non-life-threatening condition. Most children with Cerebral Palsy are expected to live well into adulthood. The injury and damage to the brain is permanent. The brain does not “heal” as other parts of the body might. Because of this, the Cerebral Palsy itself will not change for better or worse during a person’s lifetime. On the other hand, associative conditions may improve or worsen over time.