Cerebral Palsy (CP) refers to a number of neurological disorders that causes difficulty with movement, muscle control and/or balance.
The child’s muscles may be too stiff (high tone), too floppy (low tone) or both in different areas (trunk floppy, but limbs tight). Both arms and legs may be affected, or just the legs, or the arm and leg on one side of the body.
- CP is caused by damage to the part of the brain that controls the muscles. The damage can happen before the baby is born, during birth, or right after birth (especially if the baby is born too soon). It is not progressive and does not get worse over time. It is not contagious.
- Most children with CP have normal intelligence. Some may have difficulty with speaking or eating because the muscles in their mouths are also affected, but they can still understand many things.
- These children may be at a slightly higher risk for seizures, which can usually be controlled with medication. If the child has a seizure, see the doctor!
- Brain damage cannot be cured, but the child’s ability to take care of himself/ herself can be improved.
- Early intervention, occupational therapy, physical therapy, braces, and other treatments can help the child be stronger and more independent.
- Talk normally to the child and encourage them to do as much as they can for themself. These children are usually bright and eager.
- Help a child with poor balance to sit securely by using chairs with arms, pillows, rolled up blankets, etc.
- A variety of supports and devices are available to help a child attend school, play sports and have an active and normal life.
*Medical information courtesy of LoveWithoutBoundaries.com