Cerebral Palsy Essay

1270 words - 5 pages

Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy (CP) is brain damage. It cannot be cured, it is not contagious, it is not a disease, and it does not get worse. According to Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, "Cerebral Palsy is a broad term for various nonprogressive disorders of motor function in people, resulting from brain damage around the time of birth. Damage to the brain could occur before, during, or shortly after birth"(“Cerebral”). Since the damage is done during the brain’s formation, and occurs in the part of the brain that controls motor and muscle functions, people with CP might have problems with motor skills, muscle tone, muscle weakness, reflexes, balance, excessive drooling, difficulties swallowing or speaking, shaking, tremors, and difficulty with fine motor skills (“Cerebral Palsy: Hope”). Although it may not be diagnosed until a child is a few years old, most children with CP are born with it, and even though it does not get worse the symptoms caused by the brain damage can change and people with CP may have problems with vision, speech, hearing, or language, but with early intervention, support and treatment, many people with CP can manage their condition and lead full, productive lives.
Dr. William Little wrote the first medical description of the disorder in the 1860’s. He thought most cases of CP were caused by complications at birth resulting in lack of oxygen to the brain. Cerebral Palsy was called Little's disease for many years. CP refers to neurological disorders that appear in early childhood and affect movement and coordination (“Cerebral Palsy: Hope”). Although CP is caused by damage to the motor areas of the brain and affects body movement and muscle coordination, it is not caused by problems in the muscles or nerves (“UCP”). Because CP influences the way children develop, it is known as a developmental disability. Because CP describes a group of neurological and physical abnormalities, people affected by the disorder may have other neurological and physical problems. CP may not be noticeable at birth. Children with CP develop predictable developmental milestones slowly because of their motor impairments, and these delays in reaching milestones are usually the first symptoms (Gale Enc). Doctors diagnose CP by checking the infant’s motor skills, looking for developmental delays, and considering the child’s medical history. Many Doctors use the Early Motor Pattern Profile (EMPP) to help in their evaluations. The EMPP indicates variations in muscle tone, reflexes, and movement and is used to identify children during the first year of life who are at risk for the development of CP. The EMPP can be done during a routine office visit. Observation and minimal handling can detect abnormal motor patterns, making it quick and inexpensive. EMPP is the beginning of evaluation and intervention (“Early” 692). CP is a neurological disorder affecting motor control. It is the most common physical disability in childhood. It is a lifelong...

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