Cerebral palsy is neurological disorder which affects kid’s movement, speech and posture due to brain damage. Brain damage may be caused due to various reasons. Brain damage may be either congenital (during pregnancy) or antenatal (before birth) or postnatal (after birth).
- Congenital damage happens if mother had a fall during her pregnancy or she suffered from high blood pressure or diabetes.
- Antenatal: if the meconium is stained (due to lack of oxygen sometimes the child passes stool, which is called meconium) or due to any other reason when oxygen supply is cut off to brain that causes brain damage.
- Postnatal: post birth when the child suffers from high fever or infection or jaundice, causes brain damage.
These are some of the reasons which cause hypoxia which means lack of oxygen supply leads to brain damage. Depending on the area and extent of brain damage, various body functions of kid gets affected.
Various types of cerebral palsy are:
- Spastic : movement is stiff and difficult
- Athetoid: movement is involuntary or uncontrolled
- Ataxia: balance and depth perception is abnormal
- Mixed: combination of above 3.
The symptoms of cerebral palsy may be obvious either at birth or it takes few months to become apparent. Symptoms may be
- loose or tight body tone,
- delayed milestones,
- delayed speech
- Hearing difficulties.
Whether a child is suffering from cerebral palsy, can be diagnosed by consulting a pediatric neurologist who determines the extent of damage by various tests like MRI, EEG etc. Pediatric neurologist then suggests medicines to improve the body tone and control seizures. Also various kinds of therapies are also suggested to make the child achieve independency as much as possible in his/her condition. Therapies like physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy help kids learn to achieve as much control over their body and speech as possible. Pediatric orthopedic can help including braces or splints which act as additional aid to support and prevent further deformities.
Cerebral palsy has no cure, it’s a lifelong condition. But with correct diagnosis, therapy and treatment a child will be able to become independent and do its daily chore by him/herself.