What is cerebral
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a general term used to describe a group of
disorders that impair muscle control due to damage to the developing
Q. What are the symptoms of CP?
CP may present from extreme clumsiness to extensive spasticity. Parents
may first notice that their child is not developing motor milestones
normally i.e. the baby may have delayed rolling over or the baby may
be late to sit, crawl or walk. The child may also show an unusual
posture or favor one side of their body.Though
spastic children are universally identified as children with CP,
there are actually 4 types of CP
- It is the most common type in which the muscles are stiff
& weak (due to uncontrolled contraction of the muscles) . The
stiffness may occur in both legs (diplegia), in the leg & arm
on the same side (hemiplegia), or in all four limbs (quadriplegia).
These children usually show toe walking & typical crossed (scissoring)
- Patients with this type of CP have bizarre
twisting motions or unusual posturing.
- It is a combination of the above two types.
- These children usually present with low muscle tone &
increased floppiness. These children eventually develop spasticity
Q. What are the causes of CP?
CP is caused by damage to the developing brain. It usually develops
by 2-3 years of age. Though most of the causes remain unknown; infections
during pregnancy in the mother, severe jaundice in the infant, birth
injuries & stress to the fetus in the womb are some of the known
factors. Babies born prematurely are at a particular risk. Any severe
illness damaging the brain in the 1st
year of life can
result in CP.
Q. Is CP progressive?
Though CP is due to damage to the developing brain, it is non-progressive.
However, the symptoms due to brain damage often change with time,
sometimes getting better & something worse.
Q: My child has cerebral palsy. But he also
has epilepsy. Why is it so?
Many children with cerebral palsy may have accompanying seizure
disorders & some level of mental handicap. They may also have
vision, speech, hearing & language problems.
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created on 15-12-2000
Last updated on 18-11-2006