Loosely translated, Cerebral Palsy (CP)means “brain paralysis” and refers to a condition represented by a combination of disorders which affect body movement, balance, and posture. There are three primary types of CP, namely: Spastic (where muscles are stiff and movements are jerky or awkward), Dyskinetic (Athetoid and Ataxic) and mixed (a combination of different types, i.e. Spastic and Athetoid).
How Does It Occur?
CP is caused by abnormal development or damage in one or more parts of the brain that controls muscle tone and/or motor activity. Other causes may arise from infections, seizure disorder, Thyroid disorder, birth defects (especially those affecting the brain, spinal cord, head, face, lungs, or metabolism), RH factor incompatibility, hereditary/genetic factors, complications during labour and delivery, premature birth, low birth weight (less than two pounds), severe bout of jaundice, multiple births (twins, triplets), lack of oxygen (hypoxia), and infections (such as meningitis).
Early signs of individuals with CP include delayed milestones such as controlling head, rolling over, reaching with one hand, sitting without support, crawling, or walking, “infantile” or “primitive” reflexes, weakness or abnormal muscle tones, abnormal movements, skeletal deformities, joint contractures, mental retardation, seizures, speech problems, swallowing problems, hearing loss, vision problems, dental problems, and bowel and/or bladder control problems.
Functional Wellness can help improve gross motor skills, balance and movement in CP sufferers. Occupational therapy is one technique which is used to aid in the development of fine motor skills, i.e. eating, dressing, writing, etc. Functional Wellness also includes selection of a series of adaptive equipment, i.e. wheelchairs, walkers, special eating utensils, etc to help CP sufferers accomplish tasks independently. Speech and language therapy helps CP individuals communicate by aiding the development of facial and jaw muscles, improving speech via sign language messages or tools such as computers or visual aids.