I have had cerebral palsy for 20 years, but I really don’t know what it is. As I learn about it I will write here. My goal is to learn and teach others about CP. Some day I want to go on the radio and visit college nursing classes to help everyone understand about CP.
Cerebral Palsy Made Easy
Cerebral = having to do with the brain. Palsy = having to do with the muscles.
Cerebral palsy is not one specific symptom. It is a group of possible outcomes from a brain injury before, during or after birth up to 3 years of age. The brain and nervous system of the person with CP has to overcome nervous system communication difficulties. These cause malfunction in the movement of the body. There is nothing wrong with the muscles of the person with CP. It’s a communication problem. The person with CP must build many new bridges and make new communication routes in the brain. It takes a lot of repetition to make these new communication routes and the road can be bumpy. The person with CP often has spastic movements. It is not contagious. Sometimes CP affects half of the body and not the other half. This could be left/right or upper/lower half.
There is no known cure for CP. The incidence rate is about 2 to 2.5 births/1000 births in developed countries or about 120-150 people on Kauai. The incidence rate is actually increasing because babies with low birth weights are more likely to have CP, and due to many health successes babies with low birth weights are living longer than 30 years ago.
- Mental disadvantage (IQ < 50): 31%
- Active seizures: 21%
- Mental disadvantage (IQ < 50) and not walking: 20%
- Blindness: 11%
People with CP often have problems with posture and therefore slouch or can be clumsy. Speech and language problems are common. With therapy and hard work and some new educational methods, the quality of life for individuals can improve greatly. That’s what we are here to talk about today. There is HOPE.