What is Cerebral Palsy?

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Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder that involves damage to the brain that impairs movement and posture. The neurological injury may also damage other functions of the brain such as intelligence, hearing, vision, speech, etc. as well. The brain injury occurs before birth, during birth, or within the first few years of a child’s life. Cerebral palsy is non-progressive (it does not get worse), not genetic, and is incurable. It is a disease rather than a condition.

Cerebral palsy is characterised by issues with muscles (such as being too stiff, being out of voluntary control, an inability to sit up straight), reflexes, co-ordination, or motor skills. Often, people with cerebral palsy have problems with bones or joints (deformities, stiff joints, dislocated joints etc.).

Many people with cerebral palsy have secondary problems. This include learning disabilities/mental retardation, seizures, epilepsy, incontinence, speech issues, eating problems and sensory/perception issues.

Cerebral palsy is very diverse. Each individual will have different symptoms, while its severity ranges from mild (slight clumsiness) to severe (co-ordinated movement virtually impossible).

Whilst cerebral palsy has no cure, medical and therapeutic interventions can significantly enhance the quality of life for those affected. Those interventions occurring in early life, when the child is still developing, are most effective, and that’s why it’s important that cerebral palsy is diagnosed early.