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Cerebral Palsy

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Cerebral Palsy is defined as an abnormal development or damage affecting the motor centers of the brain, accompanied by neurological and physical abnormalities. According to CDC, Cerebral Palsy is the most common motor disability found in children. It affects movement, posture, and balance. In the majority of cases children are diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy by the age of three. Statistics show that on average every two to three children in one thousand fall victim to this disorder. The combined total of all children and adults in the United States living with Cerebral Palsy is estimated to be around 800,000.

Symptoms vary from child to child as well as the age of onset. Some signs to look for are any disturbances in the development of learning. Such as if the child is having trouble learning to crawl, walk, rolling from side to side, or sitting by the appropriate age that developmental milestones should be achieved. If the child is only using one hand to grab things while keeping the other hand balled up into a fist. Another common behavior to look for is the child dragging one entire side of the body while trying to crawl with the use of only the opposite side. More causes for concern would be stiff muscles, exaggerated muscle reflexes, muscles not stiff enough resembling a flopping of the limbs, and difficulty with speech and eating. The website Cerebral Palsy Help is a tool to help parents and with early detection, they offer a free evaluation along with signs and symptoms to look for.

Some of the causes of this Cerebral Palsy are related to genetics, brain injuries that can happen during the delivery or within the first couple years of life. For example; a stroke or a fall, lack of oxygen during delivery, severe jaundice, and even no known factors have been the case.

Several risk factors for developing Cerebral Palsy include but are not limited to; viral and parasitic infections that the mother may have had during pregnancy such as Chickenpox, rubella, Toxoplasmosis, Syphilis, and many others. Bacterial Meningitis, Viral encephalitis, newborn weighing less than 2.5kg, breech births, and delivering a premature baby all put a child at risk. Cerebral Palsy can often times be unknown as to how or why it was caused but by eradicating these risk factors or at least attempting to manage them, can significantly decrease the chances of having a child with Cerebral Palsy.

There is no cure for cerebral palsy, only treatments used to manage the symptoms. Knowing and seeing the signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy is important. Identifying and beginning treatments as early as possible is the key to success. When braces are used correctly they have been shown to improve muscle coordination. There are also surgeries that can be done to help with the symptoms of cerebral palsy. Different types of therapies such as speech, physical therapy, and occupational therapy have also proven effective. By using management techniques or treatments it can improve the life of a person with cerebral palsy.

There are many types of support groups and programs for people with cerebral palsy. United Cerebral Palsy is a great website. The website is for the United Cerebral Palsy of Northwest Florida. They are located at 2912 N E St in Pensacola, Florida 32501. The contact phone number is (850)0432-1596. They provide not only support groups, but also nursing care and adult day care services to their patients. Another great site with information is Cerebral Palsy Support Network; it is an Australian based support group where you can share stories and see other people’s also. Just because a patient has been diagnosed with an illness whether it be cerebral palsy, AIDs, cancer, or any or disease, they should not have to go through it alone. There are always people and resources out there ready to help; it may be a group of people, a single person, or a chat room. Having a strong support system is important when dealing with any type of illness.


Cerebral Palsy. (2013, October 17). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved November 11, 2013, from

Cerebral Palsy: Hope Through Research. (n.d.). : National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Retrieved November 11, 2013,

Clinic Staff. (2013, August 16). Cerebral Palsy. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved November 11, 2013, from

Small Change = Big Strides. (n.d.). United Cerebral Palsy of San Diego County. Retrieved November 11, 2013, from

UCP | United Cerebral Palsy. (n.d.). UCP | United Cerebral Palsy. Retrieved November 11, 2013, from

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