Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a group of neurological disorders that affect movement, posture, and muscle coordination. It is caused by damage to the developing brain, often occurring before or during birth. CP can result in a range of motor disabilities, affecting an individual’s ability to control and coordinate their movements.
The causes of Cerebral Palsy can be diverse and may include prenatal infections, birth complications, genetic factors, and brain injuries during early childhood. The damage to the brain interferes with the normal development of motor control and can lead to long-term difficulties with movement.
Cerebral Palsy is classified into several types based on the nature of movement problems and the parts of the body affected. The main types include:
1. Spastic CP:
Characteristics: This is the most common type of CP, characterised by muscle stiffness (spasticity) and difficulty in controlling and coordinating movements.
Affected Movements: Individuals with spastic CP may have tight muscles, making it challenging to move certain body parts. This stiffness can affect both gross motor skills (e.g., walking) and fine motor skills (e.g., grasping objects).
2. Dyskinetic CP:
Characteristics: Dyskinetic CP involves involuntary and uncontrolled movements, which can manifest as writhing, twisting, or jerking motions.
Affected Movements: These involuntary movements can affect the entire body or specific body parts. Fine motor skills, such as writing or buttoning a shirt, may be particularly challenging.
3. Ataxic CP:
Characteristics: Ataxic CP affects balance and coordination, leading to shaky movements and difficulties in maintaining a steady posture.
Affected Movements: Individuals with ataxic CP may have trouble with tasks that require precision, such as reaching for objects. They may also experience problems with balance and may appear unsteady when walking.
4. Mixed CP:
Characteristics: Mixed CP is a combination of two or more types of CP (e.g., spastic-dyskinetic CP).
Affected Movements: The specific characteristics and symptoms depend on the combination of types involved. For example, a person with mixed CP may exhibit both spasticity and involuntary movements.
Each type of CP presents unique challenges, and the severity can vary widely among individuals. Additionally, some individuals may have additional features or conditions associated with their specific type of CP.
There are a lot of emerging technologies to better accommodate amputees needs and goals. Where previously the focus has been on engaging amputees in community settings, we are now seeing a large movement towards sports participation as well. In the Hunter we are lucky to have inclusive and adaptive sports for our amputees to participate in.
How Can We Help?
Physiotherapy and Exercise Physiology
Physiotherapy and Exercise Physiology plays a crucial role in managing Cerebral Palsy by addressing physical challenges and promoting functional independence.
Physiotherapists design exercises to improve muscle strength, flexibility, and coordination. They may also recommend assistive devices like braces or walkers.
Occupational therapy focuses on enhancing daily living skills and independence. Occupational therapists work on improving fine motor skills, self-care abilities, and adaptive techniques. They may suggest assistive devices and modifications to the environment.
Speech pathology is essential for addressing communication and swallowing difficulties often associated with Cerebral Palsy.
Speech pathologists help improve speech and language skills. They may also address issues related to feeding and swallowing through specialised techniques and exercises.