What is cerebral palsy?
It’s a condition caused by abnormal development or damage to the brain, resulting in weakened muscles that don’t work properly. It’s also the most common childhood disability affecting motor skills, causing difficulty with movement, posture, and balance. Dr. Karen Harum at Clinic for Special Children in Wilmington, North Carolina offers comprehensive care for children affected by cerebral palsy and other childhood conditions.
Brain damage which results in cerebral palsy, also known as CP, can happen before, during, or after birth. Most cases of CP occur before or during birth, resulting in congenital CP. Another type of CP which occurs after birth is known as acquired CP, and can be caused by an infection, or head trauma.
Cerebral palsy is differentiated into four types:
- Spastic cerebral palsy, which is the most common type of CP, and accounts for about 80% of cases; with spastic CP, muscles are stiff and movements are awkward.
- Dyskinetic cerebral palsy; this type of CP results in uncontrolled movements of the arms, legs, feet, and hands, and difficulty walking and sitting still.
- Ataxic cerebral palsy; this type of CP results in problems controlling movements to perform tasks like writing.
- Mixed cerebral palsy, which results in a combination of symptoms from more than one type of CP; the most common combination of mixed CP is spastic-dyskinetic CP.
There are several identifiable signs and symptoms of CP in babies and young children, including:
- Delayed development such as inability to roll over, walk, sit, or stand
- Stiffness, floppiness and overextension when you pick your child up
- Inability to bring the hands together, or bring the hands to the mouth
- Reaching with only one hand, while the other hand stays clenched in a fist
- Lopsided crawling and inability to crawl on all fours
CP can be diagnosed with specific monitoring and testing. Once a diagnosis of CP is made, a comprehensive care plan can be established. This care plan can help a child reach his or her full potential. The care plan often includes medications, surgery, braces, and other assistive devices.
Comprehensive therapy is also an important part of the care plan and includes physical, occupational, and speech therapy.
Early diagnosis and treatment for cerebral palsy can help your child live a productive, happy, healthy life. To find out more about cerebral palsy and other childhood conditions, talk with the experts.
Call Dr. Karen Harum at Clinic for Special Children in Wilmington, North Carolina today.