A Basic Look at Cerebral Palsy

CP, or cerebral palsy, is caused by parts of that brain that do not function properly.  These parts are responsible for controlling the ability to utilize our muscles and other body parts.  Often the injury happens while still in the womb, during delivery or immediately after.

CP can run the gamut from being mild to severe.  Children who have mild CP are often clumsy; those who have moderate CP may walk with a limp or need a brace to walk and children with sever CP may be confined to a wheelchair.  Some children with CP may also have speech issues, learning problems, sensory issues or intellectual disabilities.  Normally, the more injured the brain is, the more severe the child will have CP.

Cerebral palsy is not very common, occurring twice in every 1,000 births.  Even with the advances in medical care, the rate has not changed much in several decades.

There are four major types of CP.  Spastic CP is when a child has too much muscle tone.  They will have movements that are very stiff and when they walk, their legs may turn inwards.  About 50%-75% of CP cases are spastic.  Athetoid may affect how the entire body moves.  The child may have very slow body movements and it may be hard for them to walk and sit.  This type of CP makes up for 10%-20% off the cases.  Ataxix makes up 5%-10% of CP cases and the child will have poor coordination, no depth perception and poor balance.  And mixed CP is a mixture of the above symptoms.