A Cerebral Palsy Symptom
What Can Be Done About It?

A specific cerebral palsy symptom may differ in type and severity from one person to the next and may even change in individuals over time. Because the term cerebral palsy is so broad, there are a wide range of symptoms depending on the severity of brain injury.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), each cerebral palsy symptom listed below may be exhibited in a child with cerebral palsy, depending on the extent and location of the child's brain injury:

- lack of muscle coordination when doing voluntary movements (ataxia) ;
- stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity) ;
- walking with one foot or leg dragging;
- walking on the toes, a crouched gait, or a scissored gait;
- variations in muscle tone, either too stiff or too floppy;
- excessive drooling or difficulties swallowing or speaking;
- shaking (tremor) or random involuntary movements; and
- difficulty with precise motions, such as writing or buttoning a shirt.

Individuals with cerebral palsy may have no other medical disorders. However, because cerebral palsy involves the brain and the brain controls so many of the body's functions, cerebral palsy symptoms may include seizures, impaired intellectual development, and affected vision, hearing, or behavior.

According to the NIH, two-thirds of individuals with cerebral palsy will be intellectually impaired. Mental impairment is more common among those with spastic quadriplegia than in those with other types of cerebral palsy.

However, we believe that in many cases, cerebral palsy children are termed mentally retarded primarily because they are not able to effectively communicate with the outside world. In many cases, these severely affected cerebral palsy children are intellectually capable and just need stimulation, learning, and opportunity for communication.

One common cerebral palsy symptom is seizures. According to the NIH, as many as half of all cerebral palsy children have seizures. Seizures can take the form of the classic convulsions of tonic-clonic seizures or the less obvious focal (partial) seizures, in which the only symptoms may be muscle twitches or mental confusion.

A syndrome called failure to thrive cerebral palsy is common in infants with moderate or severe brain damage, especially those with spastic quadriparesis. Failure to thrive is a general term used to describe children who lag behind in growth and development. In babies this lag often takes the form of too little weight gain.

In some cases, most noticeably in children with spastic hemiplegia, the muscles and limbs affected by cerebral palsy tend to be smaller than normal. In this case, limbs on the affected side of the body may not grow as quickly or as long as those on the normal side.

Deformities of the spine, such as curvature (scoliosis), humpback (kyphosis), or saddleback (lordosis), can also be symptoms of cerebral palsy. Such spinal deformities can make sitting, standing, and walking difficult and cause chronic back pain.

Impaired vision, hearing, and/or speech often result from the brain damage of a cerebral palsy child. This is especially true with children with severe brain damage. Speech and language disorders, such as difficulty forming words and speaking clearly, are present in more than a third of those with cerebral palsy.

As an example, our son was born cortically blind and unable to vocalize clearly. His hearing however has always been good, if not hypersensitive.

Another cerebral palsy symptom can be difficulty feeling simple sensations. A child with a severe brain injury may have difficulty feeling vital sensations such as extreme temperatures or other strong sensations on his skin.

A cerebral palsy child may also have stereognosia, which makes it difficult to perceive and identify objects using only the sense of touch. For example, a child with stereognosia would have trouble sensing the difference between a hard object and a spongy object placed in his hand.

Drooling is another common cerebral palsy symptom. Individuals with cerebral palsy drool because they have poor control of the muscles of the throat, mouth, and tongue, as well as poor respiration and poor posture.

For each cerebral palsy symptom, the key to helping your child improve is to address the injury to the brain.

If the brain is effectively treated, the related symptoms can improve.

We were told that our son's cerebral palsy was so severe that he would never do anything. Never even know who we were.

Thanks to some common sense, parent driven therapies and stimulation , the doctors were wrong.

There is hope for your child too.

To learn more about Cerebral Palsy, please investigate the following links:

Click here for the Cerebral Palsy Guide

Click here for Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis

Click here for Cerebral Palsy Causes

Click here for Cerebral Palsy Prognosis

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