Birth Defect: Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is not curable. Improvements can be made with proper physical and
Birth Defect: Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy can occur at birth when there is brain damage or it can occur anytime in the first few years of
Cerebral palsy affects the child's ability to move. The damage that causes movement impairment can occur during
the fetal development stage, during the birthing process or can be caused by brain damage that occurs in the first
few years of life.
Cerebral palsy can be mild, moderate or severe.
Weakness and floppiness of muscles
Spasticity or rigidity of muscles
Neurological disorders such as mental retardation or seizures
Cerebral palsy is not curable. Improvements can be made with proper physical and occupational therapy.
Involuntary muscle movement
Lack of muscle coordination
Asymmetrical walking gait with one foot or leg dragging
Variations in muscle tone
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Difficulties swallowing, sucking or speaking
Difficulties with motions that are precise like, writing, buttoning or zipping
Some have mental retardation
Children with cerebral palsy can be very intelligent as well as some may have mental retardation. Some children
may appear physically normal and others may require a wheelchair or leg braces. Some require no assistance at all
Spastic cerebral palsy - This is the more common type of cerebral palsy. This form of cerebral palsy causes
muscles to stiffen, which makes movement difficult. It can cause both of the child's legs to become spastic
(spastic diplegia) or it can make the entire side of the body become spastic (spastic hemiplegia). The most severe
cases are when all four limbs (arms and legs) and the truck of the body are spastic (spastic quadriplegia).
Athetotic cerebral palsy - This is often referred to as extrapyramidal cerebral palsy. It affects the entire
body and if often manifested in uncontrolled and slow movements.
Ataxic cerebral palsy - This is the least common type of cerebral palsy. This is when balance and coordination
Children can have symptoms of more than one type of cerebral palsy, which is referred to as having a mixed form
of cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy does not worsen with age.
Cerebral palsy can result from an injury to the cerebrum (largest area of brain). Some children acquire cerebral
palsy after an illness as a small child; such as bacterial meningitis. Some children develop cerebral palsy after a
Head injuries can also be received during the birthing process and cerebral palsy result. It is believed that
only a small number of cases of cerebral palsy actually are attributed to problems at birth or related to fetal
Congenital causes for cerebral palsy:
Doctors and researchers have been able to identify some underlying causes for congenital cerebral palsy that
Maternal infection during the pregnancy such as rubella or some other viral infection.
ABO or Rh incompatibility that occurs when the blood of the mother and the blood of the fetus are
Abnormal brain development before birth, which may have genetic or metabolic connections.
Disturbances in brain circulation before birth, which can be caused by an artery spasm or a blood clot, similar
to a stroke.