The term Cerebral Palsy broadly refers to a group of chronic disorders which impair a child’s control of movement and in some cases his cognitive development. These disorders are caused by damage or the faulty development of different areas in the brain. When this occurs, it is much more difficult for a child to control his movement and posture. A child’s speech and communication can also be affected.
Symptoms of the condition can include stiffness (hyper tone), difficulty keeping balance, involuntary movements, clenched fists, rolling to only one side, and using one side of the body more than the other. Infants with the condition often take longer to reach developmental milestones such as learning to roll over, crawl, sit or walk.
Types of cerebral palsy are as follows:
- Spastic (pyramidal): Increased muscle tone is the defining characteristic of this type. The muscles are stiff (spastic), and movements are jerky or awkward. This type is classified by which part of the body is affected: diplegia (both legs),hemiplegia (one side of the body), or quadriplegia (the entire body). This is the most common type of CP, accounting for about 70-80% of cases.
- Dyskinetic (extrapyramidal): This includes types that affect coordination of movements. There are 2 subtypes.
- Athetoid: The person has uncontrolled movements that are slow and writhing. The movements can affect any part of the body, including the face,mouth, and tongue. About 10-20% of cerebral palsy cases are of this type.
- Ataxic: This type affects balance and coordination. Depth perception is usually affected. If the person can walk, the gait is probably unsteady. He or she has difficulty with movements that are quick or require a great deal of control, such as writing. About 5-10% of cases of cerebral palsy are of this type.
Many individuals with cerebral palsy have normal or above average intelligence. Their ability to express their intelligence may be limited by difficulties in communicating. All children with cerebral palsy, regardless of intelligence level, are able to improve their abilities substantially with appropriate interventions. Most children with cerebral palsy require significant medical and physical care, including physical, occupational, and speech/swallowing therapy.
Despite advances in medical care, cerebral palsy remains a significant health problem. The number of people affected by cerebral palsy has increased over time. This may be because more and more premature infants are surviving. As many as 1,000,000 people of all ages are affected. Cerebral palsy affects both sexes and all ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
Cerebral refers to the cerebrum, which is the affected area of the brain (although the disorder most likely involves connections between the cortex and other parts of the brain such as the cerebellum, and palsy refers to disorder of movement. However, “paralytic disorders ” are not cerebral palsy — the condition of quadrilpegia, therefore, should not be confused with spastic quadriplegia, nor Tardive dynkinesia withdyskinetic CP, nor diplegia with spastic diplegia, and so on.
Cerebral palsy’s nature as an umbrella term means it is defined mostly via several different subtypes, especially spastic , and also mixtures of those subtypes.
Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the motor control centers of the developing brain and can occur during pregnancy, during childbirth or after birth up to about age three. Resulting limits in movement and posture cause activity limitation and are often accompanied by disturbances of sensation,depth perception and other sight-based perceptual problems, communication ability, and sometimes even cognition; sometimes a form of CP may be accompanied by epilepsy. CP, no matter what the type, is often accompanied by secondary musculoskeletal problems that arise as a result of the underlying etiology