What is Cerebral Palsy?

  • Cerebral palsy is the general term for a number of neurological conditions that affect movement and co-ordination.
  • It is estimated that 1 in 400 people in the UK is affected by cerebral palsy.
  • The symptoms of cerebral palsy normally become apparent during the first three years of a child's life.
  • The main symptoms are:
    • muscle stiffness or floppiness
    • muscle weakness
    • random and uncontrolled body movements
    • balance and co-ordination problems
  • These symptoms can affect different areas of the body and vary in severity from person to person. Some people will only have minor problems, whereas others will be severely disabled.
  • Many people with cerebral palsy also have a number of associated problems, including repeated seizures or fits, drooling problems and swallowing difficulties. Some people with the condition may have communication and learning difficulties, although intelligence is often unaffected.

Getting Help:

  • 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. If necessary, they can refer you to a paediatrician, who can help identify any problems.

How to Manage Cerebral Palsy

  • There is no cure for cerebral palsy. However, there are numerous treatments available, which can treat many of its symptoms and help people with the condition to be as independent as possible.
  • These treatments include physiotherapy, occupational therapy and medication to relieve muscle stiffness and spasms. In some cases, surgery may also be needed.

All information from NHS Choices

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