WHAT IS CEREBRAL PALSY?
Cerebral Palsy is described as loss or impairment of motor function. It is caused by brain damage which is caused by brain injury or abnormal development of the brain that happens while a child’s brain is still developing — before birth, during birth, or immediately after birth. Cerebral palsy affects body movements, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflexes, posture and balance. It can also impact fine motor skills, gross motor skills and oral motor functioning.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Cerebral Pal sy is used as an umbrella term which manifests itself differently in different individuals. Some of the main symptoms are-
Developmental motor delay
Weak and stiff muscles
Uncontrolled body movements
Balance and coordination problems
Problems in oral motor functioning
WHY IS CEREBRAL PALSY CAUSED?
In many cases, the exact cause of cerebral palsy is not known but the possible causes of Cerebral Palsy are-
An infection caught by the mother during pregnancy
A difficult or premature birth
Bleeding in the baby’s brain
Changes (mutations) in the genes that affect the brain's development
Brain not getting enough blood, oxygen, or other nutrients before or during birth.
A serious head injury.
WHO IS AT THE RISK?
It should be noted that these are risk factors, and not determinants, of cerebral palsy.
Premature babies delivered who do not cry within the first five minutes after delivery.
Babies who need to breathe on a ventilator for over four weeks and babies who have bleeding in the brain.
Heavy alcohol use during pregnancy
The mother is over 40 years old or under 20
HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?
Developmental Monitoring-Developmental monitoring (also called surveillance) means tracking a child’s growth and development over time.
Developmental Screening-During developmental screening a short test is given to see if the child has specific developmental delays, such as motor or movement delays. If the results of the screening test are cause for concern, then the doctor will make referrals for developmental and medical evaluations.
Developmental and Medical Evaluations-The goal of a developmental evaluation is to diagnose the specific type of disorder that affects a child.
HOW IS IT MANAGED?
Cerebral palsy can’t be cured, but treatment will often improve a child's capabilities. In general, the earlier treatment begins the better chance children have of overcoming developmental disabilities or learning new ways to accomplish the tasks that challenge them.
The treatment includes a combination of-
Medication for muscle stiffness
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR?
A child with cerebral palsy may be slower in achieving important developmental goals, such as learning to crawl, walk or speak. You should see your GP if you are concerned about your child's development.
WHERE THEY CAN BE TAKEN CARE OF?
At HCRA, we have a competent and committed team of Physiotherapists, Occupational therapist, Speech therapist and Clinical psychologist, who can construct the most suitable plan for recovery of the child. If the HCRA team deems it essential to refer the child to an expert, the referral is done with utmost responsibility. We work together in coordination with other experts with the aim of holistic wellbeing of the individual.