Cerebral Palsy / Delayed Development
Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that can involve brain and nervous system functions such as movement, learning, hearing, seeing, and thinking.
They are several different types of cerebral palsy, including spastic, dyskinetic, ataxic, hypotonic, and mixed.
Premature infants have a slightly higher risk of developing cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy may also occur during early infancy as a result of several conditions, including:
- Bleeding in the brain
- Brain infections (encephalitis, meningitis, herpes simplex infections)
- Head injury
- Infections in the mother during pregnancy (rubella)
- Severe jaundice
In some cases the cause of cerebral palsy is never determined.
Symptoms of cerebral palsy can be very different between people with this group of disorders. Symptoms may:
- Be very mild or very severe.
- Only involve one side of the body or both sides.
- Be more pronounced in either the arms or legs, or involve both the arms and legs.
Symptoms are usually seen before a child is 2 years old, and sometimes begin as early as 3 months. Parents may notice that their child is delayed in reaching, and in developmental stages such as sitting, rolling, crawling, or walking.
There are several different types of cerebral palsy. Some people have a mixture of symptoms.
Symptoms of spastic cerebral palsy, the most common type, include:
- Muscles that are very tight and do not stretch. They may tighten up even more over time.
- Abnormal walk (gait): arms tucked in toward the sides, knees crossed or touching, legs make “scissors” movements, walk on the toes
- Joints are tight and do not open up all the way (called joint contracture)
- Muscle weakness or loss of movement in a group of muscles (paralysis)
- The symptoms may affect one arm or leg, one side of the body, both legs, or both arms and legs
The following symptoms may occur in other types of cerebral palsy:
- Decreased intelligence or learning disabilities are common, but intelligence can be normal
- Speech problems (dysarthria)
- Hearing or vision problems
- Pain, especially in adults (can be difficult to manage)
Eating and digestive symptoms:
- Difficulty sucking or feeding in infants, or chewing and swallowing in older children and adults
- Problems swallowing (at all ages)
- Vomiting or constipation
- Increased drooling
- Slower than normal growth
- Irregular breathing
- Urinary incontinence
- Resisted band and ball exercises
- Mat exercises
- Neurofacilitation techniques