Understanding Cerebral Palsy

March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness month. CP affects movement, balance, and posture. It is considered the most common motor disabilities in childhood.

Including You is brought to you by the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

You may have heard the term “cerebral palsy” during a health class or obstetrician appointment. Unfortunately, few people know the facts on CP. According to CDC, cerebral palsy has declined over the past 20 years, but still affects 1 in 345 children in the United States.

There are Four Types of CP

  1. Spastic Cerebral Palsy is the most common type of CP. It occurs when there is increased muscle tone, resulting in stiff muscles in the legs, arms, trunk, and/or face.
  2. Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy is when individuals have difficultly controlling movement in their hands, arms, feet, and legs. This can make it difficult to sit or walk.
  3. Ataxic Cerebral Palsy causes difficulty with balance and coordination, making quick movements hard and high control activities, such as writing, a challenge.
  4. Mixed Cerebral Palsy is a combination of more than one type of CP.

Early Signs

There are a few early signs of cerebral palsy in babies and children. You should keep an eye out for:

  • Infants under 6 months old whose head lags when picked up, stiffens legs or scissors them, or feels extremely stiff or extremely floppy
  • Babies older than 6 months who do not roll, cannot brings hands together, and have difficulty bringing their hand to their mouth
  • Children older than 10 months who crawl in a lopsided manner or hop on knees instead of crawling

As always, you should speak with your doctor or pediatrician if you are concerned about your child’s health and development. Visit the CDC for more information on cerebral palsy and check out the Tusc BDD website for more information of developmental disabilities.

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