Cerebral Palsy

cerebral1Cerebral palsy is a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by an insult to the immature, developing brain, most often before birth. Signs and symptoms appear during infancy or preschool years. In general, cerebral palsy causes impaired movement associated with exaggerated reflexes, floppiness or rigidity of the limbs and trunk, abnormal posture, involuntary movements, unsteadiness of walking, or some combination of these. People with cerebral palsy may have difficulty with swallowing and commonly have eye muscle imbalance. People with cerebral palsy may have reduced range of motion at various joints of their bodies due to muscle stiffness. The effect of cerebral palsy on functional abilities varies greatly. Some people are able to walk while others aren’t able to walk. Some people show normal to near normal intellectual function, but others may have intellectual disabilities. Epilepsy, blindness or deafness also may be present. People with cerebral palsy often have underlying developmental brain abnormalities.

Source: Mayo Clinic Staff (hyperlink- http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cerebral-palsy/basics/definition/con-20030502)

cerebral2WHAT CAUSES CEREBRAL PALSY?
Cerebral palsy is caused by an abnormality or disruption in brain development, usually before a child is born. In many cases, the exact trigger of this abnormality isn’t known. Factors that may lead to problems with brain development include:
– Random mutations in genes that control brain development.
– Maternal infections that affect the developing fetus.
– Fetal stroke, a disruption of blood supply to the developing brain.
– Lack of oxygen to the brain (asphyxia) related to difficult labor or delivery. This is rarely a cause.
– Infant infections that cause inflammation in or around the brain.
– Traumatic head injury to an infant from a motor vehicle accident or fall.

SOME SIGNS OF CEREBRAL PALSY
The signs of cerebral palsy vary greatly because there are many different types and levels of disability. The main sign that your child might have cerebral palsy is a delay in reaching motor or movement milestones. If you see any of these signs, call your child’s doctor or nurse.

A child over 2 months with cerebral palsy might:
– Have difficulty controlling head when picked up
– Have stiff legs that cross or “scissor” when picked up

A child over 6 months with cerebral palsy might:
– Continue to have a hard time controlling head when picked up
– Reach with only one hand while keeping the other in a fist

A child over 10 months with cerebral palsy might:
– Crawl by pushing off with one hand and leg while dragging the opposite hand and leg
– Not sit by himself or herself

A child over 12 months with cerebral palsy might:
– Not crawl
– Not be able to stand with support

A child over 24 months with cerebral palsy might:
– Not be able to walk
– Not be able to push a toy with wheels

cerebral3WHAT CAN I DO IF I THINK MY CHILD MIGHT HAVE CEREBRAL PALSY?
Talk with your child’s doctor or nurse. If you or your doctors have concerns about cerebral palsy, you can seek the help of a specialist such as a developmental paediatrician or child neurologist. To help your child reach his or her full potential, it is very important to get help for him or her as early as possible!

Learn the signs and act early. Source: Benola (hyperlink – http://www.benola.org/resources.php)

For more information on Cerebral Palsy in Nigeria, please contact BENOLA – A CEREBRAL PALSY INITIATIVE www.benola.org, phone: +234 1 295 4355, e-mail: info@benola.org

COMPILED WITH ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FROM
The Mayo Clinic – http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cerebral-palsy/basics/definition/con-20030502) Benola – A Cerebral Palsy Initiative – www.benola.org