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Life with
CEREBRAL PALSY

cerebral-palsy

Anna M.
Anna will guide you through the section about cerebral palsy:
“It was so hard to understand what this is, because this condition is really unknown…”

As a parent, or caregiver, you want to provide the best for your child.

What exactly is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy (CP) is not a disease. It is a neurological disorder that is diagnosed during infancy or childhood and affects muscle control, coordination and movement.1 CP is a lifelong condition that will require treatment and management, but you are not alone, we are here to help.



The exact causes of cerebral palsy (CP) are not always known.1

However, multiple causes and certain risk factors may be linked with cerebral palsy.

  • Malformations during fetal development
  • Maternal infections during pregnancy
  • Certain genetic factors
  • Problems during labour and delivery
  • Post-natal infections or injuries

These causes may all affect normal brain development, resulting in various types and degrees of CP.1 Most parents go through several emotions when first learning of their child’s diagnosis, but you are not alone in these feelings. You can speak to your healthcare team about any questions you have regarding diagnosis. You may also want to find out about support groups to talk to other parents and caregivers of children with CP.

References:

  1. Reddihough DS and Collins KJ. The epidemiology and causes of cerebral palsy. Aust J Physiother. 2003;49(1):7-12.

What causes cerebral palsy?


As confusing as it may sound, the truth is that the exact causes of cerebral palsy (CP) are not always known.1

Multiple causes and certain risk factors have been shown to have a link with cerebral palsy.


  • Malformations during development
  • Maternal infections during pregnancy
  • Certain genetic factors
  • Problems during labour and delivery
  • Post-natal infections or injuries

These causes may all affect normal brain development, resulting in various types and degrees of CP.1

Whatever the case may be, know that it is normal to have feelings of guilt when your child is diagnosed with CP.

However, remember that you are not responsible for your child’s diagnosis and that you are not alone, as most parents go through these emotions when first learning of their child’s diagnosis.


References:

  1. Reddihough DS and Collins KJ. The epidemiology and causes of cerebral palsy. Aust J Physiother. 2003;49(1):7-12.

There are different types of cerebral palsy


The levels of muscle control, coordination and movement in cerebral palsy can differ greatly from one child to another. Each child with CP is unique, with varying abilities. Severity can be generally classified depending on the type of impairment of movement and posture, and the part of the body that is mostly affected.

The types of CP include:2


The levels of muscle control, coordination and movement can also be categorized into 5 different levels, according to the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS).3 Each level clearly describes the child’s current physical abilities and whether equipment or mobility aids are or will be needed in the future.

GMFCS between 6th and 12th birthday:

GMFCS between 12th and 18th birthday:



 

References:

  1. Reddihough DS and Collins KJ. The epidemiology and causes of cerebral palsy. Aust J Physiother. 2003;49(1):7-12.
  2. Prasad AN and Prasad C. Genetic evaluation of the floppy infant. Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2011;(16):99-108.
  3. Palisano R et al. Development and reliability of a system to classify gross motor function in children with cerebral palsy. Dev Med Child Neurol. 1997;39(4):214-23.

What are the symptoms of cerebral palsy?


Sometimes, children with cerebral palsy (CP) are diagnosed several months following birth or even years later.

Some early signs of CP are listed below. Always consult your healthcare professional if you have any questions.


Some early signs of CP may include:4,5

 


Bear in mind that not all children with CP will display all of these signs.

In the next section, we will discuss cerebral palsy management, from diagnosis to adulthood

→CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE JOURNEY SECTION



References:

  1. Reddihough DS and Collins KJ. The epidemiology and causes of cerebral palsy. Aust J Physiother. 2003;49(1):7-12.
  2. Prasad AN and Prasad C. Genetic evaluation of the floppy infant. Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2011;(16):99-108.
  3. Palisano R et al. Development and reliability of a system to classify gross motor function in children with cerebral palsy. Dev Med Child Neurol. 1997;39(4):214-23.
  4. Colver A et al. Cerebral palsy. Lancet. 2014;383:1240-49.
  5. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Cerebral palsy in under 25s: assessment and management. Full Guideline. NG62. 2017. Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng62/evidence/full-guideline-pdf-4357166226