Peace! Love! Hope! Cure! Cerebral Palsy (Part Two)

I could search for days on end two individuals who are exactly the same and my efforts would be fruitless. Identical twins also differ when it comes to their finger prints. Each child with cerebral palsy is completely different from the other as well. Do not mind about having to look for the exact type of cerebral palsy the child has for this usually will not help in their treatment. However there are ways in which the cerebral palsy may exhibit itself.

Different types of cerebral palsy

Spastic cerebral palsy

The child who is ‘spastic’ has muscle stiffness, or ‘muscle tension’. This causes part of his body to be rigid, or stiff. Movements are slow and awkward. Often the position of the head triggers abnormal positions of the whole body. The stiffness increases when the child is upset or excited, or when his body is in certain positions. The pattern of stiffness varies greatly from child to child. Spasticity is the most common form of cerebral palsy, occurring in 70-80% of people affected. Sometimes
Spastic cerebral palsy is grouped and described according to the parts of the body that are affected: when all four limbs are affected, this is known as ‘quadriplegia’; if it affects only one side of the body, this is known as ‘hemiplegia’; and if mainly the legs are affected, this is known as ‘diplegia’.

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Athetoid(or dyskinetic) cerebral palsy
This type of cerebral palsy causes involuntary movements due to lack of control in the way that muscle tone changes from floppy and loose to tense and stiff. It can result in difficulty maintaining any position. Speech can also be hard to understand due to difficulty in controlling the tongue, breathing and the use of vocal cords. Hearing problems can be associated with athetoid cerebral palsy, too. This type of cerebral palsy occurs in about 15% of people affected. A child with athetoid cerebral palsy is rarely still – they have too much movement. As soon as they try to initiate a movement or thought, their body will start to move. Effort or intention to move of any sort tends to increase movement.

POOR BALANCE OR ‘ATAXIA’.
The child who has ‘ataxia’, or poor balance, has difficulty beginning to sit and stand. She falls often, and has very clumsy use of her hands. All this is normal in small children, but in the child with ataxia it is a bigger problem and lasts longer (sometimes for life). To keep her balance the child with ataxia walks bent forward with feet wide apart. She takes irregular steps, like a sailor.

Mixed cerebral palsy. The types and descriptions of cerebral palsy above do not always describe adequately the individual nature of cerebral palsy. Individuals can often experience a mix of types of cerebral palsy.

Many children who have spasticity or athetosis also have problems with balance. This may be a major obstacle in learning to walk. However, much can often be done to help a child improve her balance.

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Parent C.P: then will my child ever be able to walk?

A.A: Walking is important both functionally and socially. But in terms of the child’s needs, other skills may be more important. For the child to lead as happy, independent a life as possible, necessary skills and accomplishments (in order of importance) are:

Having confidence in yourself and liking yourself

Communication and relationship with others

Self-care activities such as eating, dressing, toileting

Getting from place to place (And if possible) walking

We all need to realize that walking is not the most important skill a child needs and it is certainly not the first. Before a child can walk he needs reasonable head control, needs to be able to sit without help, and to be able to keep his balance while standing. Most children with cerebral palsy do learn to walk, although often much later than normal. The less severely affected the child is and the earlier she is able to sit without help, the more likely she is to walk. If she can sit without assistance by age 2, her chances for walking may be good—although many other factors are involved. Some children begin to walk at age 7, 10, or even older. Hemiplegic and diplegic children usually do learn to walk, although some may need crutches, braces, or other aids.

Many severely affected children may never walk. Whether or not the child may someday walk, he needs some way to get from place to place.

However for us to help the child to be the best they can be it is important to realize what the child can do and thus expect him to do it. At first parent want to do everything for the child even that which he is able to do. Let him do what he can.

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