What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral Palsy is a condition which is often thought to arise due to brain damage as a result of oxygen deprivation.
This can happen before, during or after birth. For some people the effects will be very mild whilst for others they can be severe or profound, with many variations in between. The most common and obvious effect is a problem in controlling movement and posture.
Depending on which parts of the brain are affected the person might also have sight or speech problems, epilepsy, and perhaps learning disabilities.
Today, more sophisticated medical care means that many more premature babies are now surviving. Some of these children have more than one severe problem and over the last few years the number of people with cerebral palsy who have profound and multiple difficulties has increased.
A person with Cerebral Palsy may have some or most of the following features, to a lesser or greater extent:
- low awkward or jerky movements
- muscle spasm
- unwanted movements
- the start of one movement resulting in other unwanted movements
Certain difficulties occur more commonly in people with cerebral palsy such as:
- problems with eyesight
- special perception
- speech and language
- chewing and swallowing
Whilst some people with cerebral palsy are highly intelligent: some have average intelligence; many have an intellectual or learning disability, accompanied by physical disabilities. It is often assumed that people with cerebral palsy, who are unable to control their movements or cannot talk, have a learning disability.
This is not always the case.