This month is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month so I’m going to be sharing a number of articles to raise awareness of the condition, what it’s like to live with it and the challenges that it presents. Later this month, I’ll also be sharing advice for parents who have a child with CP and maybe some of my favourite bits from my memoir about living with the condition – “Does it wet the bed?”
What is Cerebral Palsy (CP)?
Cerebral palsy is a general term for a number of neurological conditions which affect movement and co-ordination.
Cerebral Palsy is caused by problems in the parts of the brain which is responsible for controlling muscles. The brain becomes damaged either before, during or just after birth, or sometimes, during early childhood.
What are the three main types of CP?
Ataxia – a lack of muscle control when performing voluntary movements. (National Institute of Health, 2011)
Spasticity – Causes stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes.
Dyskinetic – Characterised by fluctuation in muscle tone which is either too loose or too tight.
What are the causes of CP?
- An infection caught by the mother during pregnancy;
- A lack of oxygen;
- A difficult or premature birth;
- Bleeding in the baby’s brain;
- Changes in the genes that affect the brain’s development.