Cerebral Palsy: Causes & Symptoms

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Cerebral palsy can greatly affect your child’s life as the severity of this disorder can cause speech problems, learning disabilities, and problems with hearing and vision.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder characterized by a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture, and usually appears in early childhood or infancy.

Causes

The factors that can contribute to the development of cerebral palsy (causing the interruption of brain development) include:

  • Genetic mutations
  • Infections in the infant or pregnant mother
  • Fetal stroke
  • Oxygen deprivation to the brain
  • Injury to the brain in the early years (bad falls or accidents)

Symptoms

Most cases of cerebral palsy are caused by an interruption of brain development, resulting in:

  • Impaired reflexes
  • Insufficient muscle development
  • Uncontrolled movements
  • Balance issues
  • Difficulty walking
  • Reduced range of motion due to joint stiffness
  • Partial paralysis
  • Excessive weakness in certain muscle groups
  • Drooling
  • Problems with swallowing and chewing
  • Weak fine motor skills
  • Eye muscle imbalance

The issues often get worse with age, but they can manifest in different levels of severity, often depending on the underlying cause of the condition.

  • For example, some people with cerebral palsy are able to walk, but others cannot.
  • Vision and hearing issues, going so far as blindness and deafness, may also be present in some cases, while other people are unaffected in this way.
  • Perhaps most notable is the impact this condition can have on cognition, leaving some completely unaffected, while others show significant signs of cognitive impairment.
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