Cerebral Palsy

What is Cerebral Palsy (CP)?

Cerebral Palsy is a neurological disorder which affects body movement, muscle tone and coordination. CP is an umbrella term used to describe a group of conditions that cause movement problems. Beside the physical disorder, there are associated conditions which can occur such as perceptual, cognitive, visual, auditory, behaviour and speech difficulties. These secondary conditions are also the outcome of the damage in the neurological system.  It is a non-progressive disorder itself, but other secondary conditions such as Epilepsy can affect the overall condition negatively.

What causes CP?

This disorder is caused by a damage to the motor control centres of the developing  brain such as lack of oxygen, stroke, (bleeding in certain parts of the brain). This can happen during pregnancy (pre-natal), at the time of the birth (perinatal) and after the birth (post-natal).

Types of CP:

It is classified into 4 main types:

  • Spastic (most common, in forms of Hemiplegia, Diplegia, Quadriplegia)
  • Athetoid
  • Ataxic
  • Mixed

The type of CP that occurs depends on the exact part of the brain that is affected.

How can one recognize CP?

  • Muscle tone either high (hypertonia), low (hypotone) or mixed (hypertonia and hypotonia)
  • Gross-motor developmental delay
  • "Intention tremor" (shaking movement) occur when voluntary movement begins
  • Irregular posture
  • Language delay
  • Strabismus

Is there any treatment?

CP can't be 'cured', but professional care and continuous "exercise" can improve the control of movement significantly. Conductive Education is one of the most successful methods shown to improve motor abilities and overcome the physical difficulties so that the participant can maximize their independence.

Find out more on Wikipedia.