Cerebral Palsy

Causes and Types of Cerebral Palsy

In the case of Cerebral Palsy there is no one cause of this severe condition. There are many things that may increase the risk of this condition but will not cause cerebral palsy all the time. In the majority of cases and average of seventy percent, it results from brain injury before the child is even born this is known as congenital cerebral palsy this would be present from birth but may take months even years to diagnose depending on how severe it illness is. There is also a chance of acquired cerebral palsy which could happen through there being a case of meningitis or brain injuries.

Below are some factors that can increase the chances of cerebral palsy. None of the above will definitely lead to cerebral palsy. Before birth: Prematurely, long difficult labor, lack of oxygen to the child, Bacterial infection of the mother during birth, low birth weight, severe jaundice, viral, diseases in early pregnancy, attack of the child?s central nervous system, lack of oxygen / nutrients from the placenta to the fetus and incompatible blood types between the mother and child. After birth: Viral encephalitis, brain tumors, head injuries and Meningitis

Cerebral palsy is broken down into three main types: Ataxic cp, Athetoid cp, Spastic cp.

Ataxic CP - this is the rarest of the three and occurs when the cerebellum has been damaged this part of the brain controls balance. It will be difficult fop the child to coordinate their movements and they will have problems below with balancing.

Along with the three types of cp some children will have a combination of them all.

Athetiod CP - This type of cp occurs when the basal ganglion has been damaged and as a result causes involuntary, uncoordinated and uncontrolled movements of the muscles. This causing uncontrolled and jerky movements as well as twisting of the fingers and wrists may affect all limbs. When walking, it will tend to cause the child to stumble with poor coordination.

Spastic CP - This type of CP is the most common of the three it occurs when there has been damage to the cortex, which is the part of the brain controlling thought movement and sensation. Causes mainly tightness of the muscles, in both the arms and legs of the inflicted. The arms will tend to be flat against the side of the body with the hands bent up against the forearm. Depending on the damage the legs will either be greatly effected or only mildly it may be only slightly obvious that there is a problem when the child walks or in worse cases both legs are affected and they will be crossed with the toes pointing. If the muscles are not exercised often enough this can cause the child to become wheelchair bound.

Diagnosis and Treatments of Cerebral Palsy

Before a child can be appropriately diagnosed with cerebral palsy, their doctor must first have to look closely at both the child and the mother?s medical background to see if there are any known causes of cerebral palsy present in the case. The doctor will very carefully check the baby's motor skills and the reflexes, and then will be tested by a physician, also they will try to determine the Childs hand preference often a child with cerebral palsy will use the hand that is not always the most practical to them due to the fact that depending on the brain damage one side of the body will be much stronger than the other side that is affected.

When cerebral palsy has been diagnosed doctors may go on to do x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, ct scans and MRI, to determine the possible cause or causes of the cp. Here are just some of the signs that may be present in a child with suspected cerebral palsy: Weakness, early hand preference, abnormal postures, irritability, feeding difficulties, delayed or impaired speech, excessive or feeble crying, slow to gain weight, very slow or failure to develop motor skills.

Cerebral Palsy - Treatments and Alternative Approaches

When a child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy they will generally need different types of treatment. Physical therapy - this will help to build up the strength of the Childs muscles working on their walking and keeping their balance. Speech-language pathology-this is to help the child learn to communicate mainly working on trying to teach the child to talk. Occupational therapy-this is to help the child with skills they need for everyday living to give them some independence like feeding themselves and dressing. There are also some alternative therapies that can help to control and manage the condition.

Conductive education - This is to help the child become more independent. Their day will be planned out with physiotherapists, speech therapists and what is called their conductor who will oversee all the tasks to see day to day how the child is progressing and set new more tasks for them, which when achieved will increase the Childs self-esteem. The conductor will form a very close bond with the child, which is vitally important for how successful this treatment will be. The conductor will look at the child not the special need and help to bring out the Childs personality and use their interests to help them learn and achieve more.

The Bobath concept - This concentrates on helping the child physically using play to increase muscle control, improve the Childs posture and reduce stiffness. The therapist involved in this use key points of the body when handling the child at all times. This can greatly improve the Childs mobility.

Patterning - This works on teaching the undamaged parts of the brain to takeover what the damaged part should be doing. This is quite an intense therapy for the child as rhythmic stimulation is used on the limbs for up to eight hours a day to help the child gain complete balance and control of their movements which may distress the child greatly and is very time consuming for the parents.