Cerebral palsy (CP) is a general term for some conditions in the brain and nervous system that affect movement and co-ordination. CP is caused by a problem in the parts of the brain responsible for controlling muscles. The condition can occur if the brain develops abnormally or is damaged before, during or shortly after birth.
The symptoms of Cerebral Palsy normally become apparent during the first three years of a child's life.
- muscle stiffness or floppiness
- muscle weakness
- random and uncontrolled body movements
- balance and co-ordination problems
Many people with CP also have a number of associated difficulties, including seizures or fits, difficulties with speech, eating, drinking and saliva control. Some people with the condition may have communication and learning difficulties, some may not.
A child with Cerebral Palsy may be slower in achieving important developmental goals, such as learning to crawl, walk or speak.
You should see your GP if you are concerned about your child's development. If necessary, they can refer you to a Paediatrician (a doctor who specialises in the treatment of children), who can help identify any problems.
How we can help
Our Speech and Language Therapists can work on developing speech and use of a communication aid. Our Speech and Language Therapists specially trained in Dysphagia management can also help to manage difficulty with eating and drinking, swallowing and saliva control.
We often work jointly with Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Dieticians to support people with complex needs such as those with Cerebral Palsy.