Cerebral palsy is a movement disorder that appears in early childhood. Its signs and symptoms appear and vary among individuals. It affects the muscle tone, motor skills and movement. Cerebral palsy affects body functions such as motor functions that involve motor skills and muscles like breathing, eating, drinking, bowl and bladder control. It also impairs the ability to speak. Nearly 80,000 people are suffering or affecting in any way from cerebral palsy in the United States.
Cerebral palsy happens due to brain damage during the birth process. It may also occur after birth until 3-5 years of age due to lack of oxygen to the brain. Pre-mature birth, lead poisoning, poor blood flow in the brain, heredity, the problem with mother during pregnancy and bacterial meningitis are some causes of cerebral palsy.
Signs and Symptoms
There are many physical and cognitive disabilities associated with cerebral palsy. Children have trouble with movement and learning and others may have different conditions depending on the damages in the brain. The damage may be partial and affect some brain part and functioning or it may affect the larger portion and child fails to walk due to muscles stiffness. Digestive problems occur due to eating difficulties. The problem in speech and locomotion like the problem in walk and movement are some features of cerebral palsy.
Depending on brain damage other function of the brain as well that includes,
- Poor hearing or hearing loss
- Visual impairment or blindness
- Aspiration food, food and liquid sucking in lungs
- Tooth decay
- Speech problem and drooling
- Learning disabilities and difficulties
- Weak bones such as osteoporosis
- Behavioral problems
- Sleep disorders
- Communication problems
Types Of Cerebral Palsy
Spastic Cerebral Palsy
It causes muscle stiffness and movement difficulty. It occurs due to damage in the outer layer of the brain that disrupts normal growth in children. The child has late developmental milestones. The hand and muscles joint are stiff and have limited and disrupted movement. The child has a problem in the movement like trouble in the walk. These children need assistance in walking.
The spastic cerebral palsy is categorizing on the basis of the damaged area due to brain injury. Hemiplegic, diplegia, quadriplegia, triplegic, and monoplegia are some types depending on what part of the body has an impair function as a result of cerebral palsy.
Dyskinesia (Athetoid) Cerebral Palsy
It causes uncontrolled movement due to damage in the brain part called basal ganglia. This cerebral palsy type is characterized by slow and uncontrolled body movement some time followed by twisting. Arms, hands, legs and feet are the most affected area due to this condition. Sometimes facial muscles also fail to function properly that results in odd facial expression, the issue in tongue movement, speech problem and difficulty, drooling and frowning
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
It causes body and brain balance and impairs depth perception. Damage to the cerebellum is affected and it results in poor hand-eye coordination and poor coordination in muscles movement. They cannot control hind and forelimbs movements. Hands, legs and feet movement is an impairment that creates difficulty in sitting, standing and walking.
Mixed Cerebral Palsy
Some children have mixed symptoms that do not fall in one category or type. They have signs of more than one type of cerebral palsy and their multiple areas are affected and impaired in functioning. Several brain parts injuries result in such condition.
There is no cure for cerebral palsy but the life of the child can improve with surgery. Some therapies are also helpful like speech therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and play therapy. Helping the kids like hearing aids and aid for walking help children movement and speech issues in case child suffer hearing loss due to cerebral palsy.