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Cerebral Palsy And Its Effects On Children

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Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common disability of childhood that impacts movement and motor skills. This is a neurological condition with brain damage as the underlying cause. The damage may occur while the baby is still in utero, during labor and delivery, or shortly after birth. There are different types of Cerebral Palsy that affect children they are spastic cerebral palsy, dyskinetic cerebral palsy, ataxic cerebral palsy, and mixed cerebral palsy. Spastic cerebral palsy is most common and affects about 80% of all people with CP. It causes abnormally increased muscle tone, known as spasticity. However, there are three types of spastic cerebral palsy. They are Spastic quadriplegia which is the most severe form of spastic CP. It can affect a child’s upper and lower limbs and body, severely restricting mobility. Many children with spastic quadriplegia will also experience chronic seizures, have difficulty with hearing and speech, as well as associated learning disabilities. While Spastic diplegia is another type of spastic cerebral palsy it is not as severe as spastic quadriplegia. It affects only the lower half of the body, and some children are still able to walk. However, because of tight hip and leg muscles, they often struggle to walk, have issues with balance and coordination, and may need assistive devices for mobility. Other symptoms include delayed milestones, fatigue, seizures, “flexed knees,” and a crouched gait. Even though, Spastic hemiplegia is another type of static cerebral palsy it affects only one side of the body, usually the arm more than the leg. The child can often adapt, and most are able to walk. Dyskinetic cerebral palsy is also known as dystonic and athetoid. It is the second most common type of CP. Persons with this type of cerebral palsy will have dystonia (repetitive and twisting motions), athetosis (slow, writhing movements), chorea (unpredictable and irregular movements), poor posture, painful movements, and difficulty swallowing or talking. Ataxic cerebral palsy is the least common type of CP. It causes poor balance and coordination, tremors, and shaky movements that are difficult to control. While mixed cerebral palsy causes a mix of symptoms characteristic of all the other types. Spastic-dyskinetic cerebral palsy is the most common type of mixed cerebral palsy.

Cerebral Palsy is caused by a variety of things one such thing is brain damage. Even though, there are many potential ways damage can occur. In some cases the exact cause of cerebral palsy and brain damage are unknown. Brain damage can occur mostly during childbirth. (Cerebral Palsy, 2019) Another cause of cerebral palsy is preeclampsia. This is a condition in which a pregnant mother has high blood pressure along with high levels of protein in her urine. Research has proven that five to eight percent of pregnancies are affected by this condition and can result in brain damage in the infant. If preeclampsia develops into eclampsia, which is when it progresses to maternal seizures, it can have devastating consequences for the newborn, including brain damage, seizures, and even death. Consequently, infections are also another cause of cerebral palsy. When a mother has an infection during pregnancy, it can affect her unborn child. Infections like herpes, rubella (German Measles), syphilis, cystitis, HIV, and others, especially when not properly treated, increase the risk of brain damage in the baby. Infections can also increase the risk of premature birth, which is also associated with a greater possibility of damage to the brain.

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The effects Cerebral Palsy has on children are heart-rending because children with CP cannot control some or all of their movements while some children are hardly affected at all. Some will have difficulty talking, walking, or using their hands yet, some will be unable to sit up without support and will need help to do most everyday tasks. A child with Cerebral Palsy may have some or most of the following features, slightly or more severely: slow, awkward, or jerky movements, muscle spasms, and unwanted movements. The start of one movement often results in other unwanted movements. As stated previously, Cerebral Palsy is not progressive (that means it does not become more severe as the child gets older) but some difficulties do become more noticeable. Certain difficulties and medical conditions occur more often in children with Cerebral Palsy than in most other children. However, no two children experience exactly the same difficulties.

There are certain difficulties children with Cerebral Palsy have these are speech problems, hearing difficulties, and eyesight problems. Speech problems and difficulties with chewing and swallowing often occur together in children with Cerebral Palsy. Speech depends on the ability to be in command of little muscles in the mouth, tongue, palate, and voice box. However, children with athetoid Cerebral Palsy are more likely to have severe hearing difficulties than other children, though this is not the case for children with other forms of Cerebral Palsy. Eyesight problems are also another difficulty children with Cerebral Palsy have. The most common eye problem is a squint, which may need rectification with glasses, or in severe cases, an operation. Some children may have cortical vision defects. This means that the part of the brain that is responsible for understanding the images the child sees is not functioning properly. When examined the eyes may appear healthy, but he or she will not be able to see properly. The difficulty is in unscrambling the messages received from the brain when learning to read for example.

Currently, there is no cure for cerebral palsy, but a variety of treatment options can improve symptoms and quality of life for babies and children. One such treatment is medication because it controls spastic movements, seizures, and relieves pain. Surgery is also an important treatment option for many children with CP. Surgical procedures may be used to improve mobility or manage pain, for instance. Common procedures include tendon or muscle release, repair of hip dislocations, as well as scoliosis surgery. Various types of therapy can also be helpful for people with cerebral palsy. Therapy can improve physical, mental, social, and learning deficits. If started early enough, therapy for cerebral palsy can reduce impairment and lessen the risk of developing other associated conditions. Common types of therapy used to help children with cerebral palsy include: physical, occupational, and aquatic.

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Cerebral Palsy And Its Effects On Children. (2021, August 04). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from
“Cerebral Palsy And Its Effects On Children.” Edubirdie, 04 Aug. 2021,
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