What is Cerebral Palsy?
 
Cerebral Palsy is a neurologic condition. The cause of Cerebral Palsy is either brain injury or brain malformation occurring during fetal development, at birth, or after birth while the brain is still developing. The actual brain damage does not progress, which differentiates Cerebral Palsy from similar conditions. Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a chronic condition affecting the ability to move and maintain balance and posture. CP is the most common motor disability in childhood. Cerebral means having to do with the brain. Palsy means weakness or problems using the muscles. CP is a permanent disability that affects movement. Its impact can range from a weakness in one hand, to almost a complete lack of voluntary movement. Many also have related conditions, such as intellectual disabilities, seizures; epilepsy, problems with vision, hearing, speech, and changes in spine and joints. Cerebral Palsy is a lifelong disability. There is no known cure. Cerebral Palsy is non-life-threatening, non-progressive, not contagious; or communicable. Cerebral Palsy is manageable and every case is unique to the individual.
 
 
Cause of Cerebral Palsy
 
Cerebral Palsy is caused by brain injury or brain malformation that occurs before, during, or immediately after birth while the infant’s brain is under development. But how a brain injury affects a child’s motor functioning and intellectual abilities is highly dependent on the nature of a brain injury, where the damage occurs, and how severe it is.
 
 

Classification based on severity level

Cerebral Palsy is often classified by severity level as mild, moderate, severe. These are broad generalizations that lack a specific set of criteria.

  Mild Cerebral Palsy means a child can move without assistance; his or her daily activities are not limited.                                                                                                                                                      Moderate Cerebral Palsy means a child will need braces, medications, and adaptive technology to accomplish daily activities.                                                                                                               Severe Cerebral Palsy means a child will require a wheelchair and will have significant challenges in accomplishing daily activities.

 
Types of Cerebral Palsy
 
Spastic: Stiff, tight muscles. Exaggerated movements, limited mobility, and abnormal gait. Joints do not fully extend. Walking on tiptoes, contractures, and abnormal reflexes.
Dyskinetic: Involuntary movement in the face, torso and limbs. Stiff or rigid body. Floppiness in the limbs. Problems with posture. Issues feeding.
Ataxic: Problems with balance and coordination. Difficulty speaking. Problems with depth perception. Shakiness and tremors. Spreading feet apart when walking.
Combination: All types combined are also possible.
 
 
Associated Conditions
 
Cerebral Palsy affects muscle tone, gross and fine motor functions, balance, coordination, and posture. These are considered primary conditions of Cerebral Palsy. There are associative conditions, like seizures and intellectual impairment, that are common in individuals with Cerebral Palsy. There may be co-mitigating factors that co-exist with Cerebral Palsy, but are unrelated to it.
 
 
Management for Cerebral Palsy
 
Treating Cerebral Palsy is almost as complex as the condition is. There is no universal protocol on how to approach treatmen because each individual is affected differently. Although the brain injury that causes Cerebral Palsy cannot be healed, the resulting physical impairment can be managed with a wide range of treatments and therapies. All cases will be treated differently as a person’s form of Cerebral Palsy, extent of impairment, and severity level help to determine care.