No two cases of Cerebral Palsy are exactly alike. For many families affected by CP, understanding the extent and severity of a loved one’s symptoms is among the first steps necessary for managing life with this condition.
The signs of Cerebral Palsy often aren’t observable until a child’s development reaches certain points. Some indicators could be readily visible within the first year of life, while others might only become evident through time and the growth of the child.
Recognizing Cerebral Palsy
The brain trauma responsible for Cerebral Palsy has the biggest impact on brain cells that control muscle function and coordination. This can result in a multitude of different symptoms, including:
- Loss of mobility and balance
- Motor skill and coordination impairment
- Irregular muscle tone and reflexes
- Intellectual disability
- Speech problems
- Difficulty eating and swallowing
- Abnormal sensations, potentially including chronic pain
For any parent, these issues would be cause for concern. Early diagnosis is critical to understanding how Cerebral Palsy could affect a child, as well as finding strategies for managing symptoms and finding ways to cope with lifestyle changes.
Coping With Cerebral Palsy
Unfortunately, it can take doctors a significant amount of time and testing to make an accurate Cerebral Palsy diagnosis. In most cases multiple doctors will need to be involved, including neurologists, surgeons, geneticists, and other specialists, as well as the family pediatrician.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the challenges facing the family can be overwhelming. However, knowledge is power, a knowing a child’s situation can empower members of the child’s support network to begin exploring:
- Medication, therapy, and treatment options
- Early intervention and special education programs
- Government benefits
- Support organizations
- Opportunities to help children with CP make physical, mental, and social strides
To learn more about what can be done to stop Cerebral Palsy, please connect with MyChild Cerebral Palsy Foundation for more information.