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Cerebral palsy can be classified into 4 different types:

  • Spastic, characterized by stiff movements and caused by damage to the motor cortex
  • Dyskinetic, characterized by uncontrollable movements and caused by damage to the basal ganglia
  • Ataxic, characterized by poor balance and coordination and caused by damage to the cerebellum
  • Mixed, a combination of 2 or more types of CP

 

Cerebral palsy is the most common childhood motor disability

1 in every 500 children who are born have cerebral palsy. Children can also die before birth. CP is commonly caused by bleeding in the brain, infections, seizures, premature birth or traumatic injury to the head. 

 

Cerebral palsy does not directly affect cognitive function

Cerebral palsy is a motor disorder, meaning that it specifically affects movement. Although 50% of individuals with cerebral palsy have a co-occurring intellectual disability, an intellectual disability is not caused by the same source of brain damage as cerebral palsy. 

 

Cerebral palsy is not hereditary

Cerebral palsy is not hereditary, so the chances of an adult with cerebral palsy passing down the motor disability to their child is the same as an adult without cerebral palsy. 

 

Progress

Every case of cerebral palsy is unique, and everyone will experience different motor impairments and associative conditions. CP can be effectively managed, and motor functions can be improved because of neuroplasticity. 

 

Many people with cerebral palsy can walk

Although cerebral palsy almost always affects at least one leg, 2 in 3 people with CP are able to walk. Assistive devices like walkers and crutches can help individuals with CP be more mobile, active, and independent. 

 

Individuals with cerebral palsy can improve motor functions

Cerebral palsy is a life-long condition, meaning that the damage to the brain does not go away. However, the brain has neuroplasticity, which is its ability to rewire itself and reassign affected functions to undamaged areas of the brain. 

 

Therapy at young age is the most important factor to improve outlook

Early intervention is key to improving motor functions because children’s brains have greater levels of plasticity than adult brains. Through intensive training that focuses on repetitions, individuals with cerebral palsy can promote neuroplasticity and improve their motor functions.

 

The effects of cerebral palsy can worsen if not properly managed

Cerebral palsy is not a degenerative disorder, and brain damage will not worsen over time. However, effects of cerebral palsy like spasticity (continuously contracted muscles) can progressively worsen if left unmanaged.