What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral Palsy is a group of disorders that affects muscle tone, posture and balance. It is the most common childhood disorder.
According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), cerebral palsy affects 1 in 323 children.
It is more prevalent in boys than in girls.
There are three types of Cerebral Palsy:
• Spastic Cerebral Palsy: causes muscle stiffness and makes movement difficult
• Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy: causes uncontrollable movement
• Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: causes problems with balance and depth perception
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
The cause of cerebral palsy is not always known. However, there are some known causes that seem to be common in the diagnosis of cerebral palsy:
• Infections during pregnancy that affects the foetus’ neuro-development
• Stroke while in the womb or after birth
• Genetic disorders
Cerebral palsy can develop later in childhood due to childhood trauma, for example:
• Lead poisoning
• Bacterial meningitis
• Car accident resulting in traumatic brain injury
• Shaken baby syndrome resulting in traumatic brain injury
Like many other childhood illness, your child being diagnosed with cerebral palsy is not your fault. Because the causes are mostly unknown, cerebral palsy is unable to be prevented.
When to See a Physician?
The following symptoms or manifestations of cerebral palsy should be assessed by a physician as soon as possible after the child presents the following:
• Developmental delays (such as not reaching for toys by four months, not sitting up by seven months)
• Problems with motor skills (inability/difficulty walking, crawling or moving the arms and legs)
• Uncoordinated movements
• Muscle tone that is too tight (stiff) or too loose
Difficulties with Cerebral Palsy
There are a range of physical and cognitive impairments that are evident in people with cerebral palsy. Each person is different, and their manifestations depend highly on what part of the brain was affected, to what degree, and what kind of cerebral palsy they have. In general, cerebral palsy can cause the following:
• Visual impairment or blindness
• Hearing loss or deafness
• Gastroesophageal reflux (excessive spitting up)
• Tooth decay
• Learning disabilities
• Sleep disorders
• Behavioural problems
How is Cerebral Palsy Treated?
There are no cures for cerebral palsy, but targeted treatment is available for the different deficits that may arise in persons with cerebral palsy.
• Massage therapy
• Speech-Language therapy
• Occupational therapy
• Assistance with activities of daily living
• Medications (for pain, muscle spasms, gastrointestinal problems)
• Surgery (to correct physiological impairments, such as scoliosis [if developed])
How Can Freiheit Care Help?
Cerebral palsy is diagnosed in childhood, however Freiheit Care Inc. can support adults living with cerebral palsy as well.
We have a range of services that can provide additional support for you or your child in your home. Personal support workers are available to assist with various activities of daily living, such as bathing, toileting, dressing, feeding, meal preparation and light housekeeping. We have nurses on staff who can be utilized to provide at-home therapies, such as medication management and physiotherapy exercises (only if prescribed by a physiotherapist).
Call us at (613) 518-8258 to consult with our Intake Specialist and find out how Freiheit Care Inc. can support you and your child.