This week, I’m absolutely delighted to be part of Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week and
World CP Day on Wednesday 7th October. As someone with CP, it’s refreshing that the condition is being talked about and it’s a great opportunity to challenge some of the misconceptions that people hold about people with cerebral palsy and disability in general.
Did you know?
- 1 in 400 people in the UK have cerebral palsy
- There is no cure for CP but physiotherapy can be used to help people with the condition to be more independent
- There are 3 different types of cerebral palsy (explained below)
What is cerebral palsy and how does it effect people?
All forms of Cerebral Palsy (CP) are caused by brain damage or by the brain failing to form as it should. The condition is different for everyone – there are no hard or fast rules but there are three main types of the condition. The most common type of CP is called spasticity which causes stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes. This affects the majority of children who are diagnosed with CP. The second type of CP is called athetoid and this means that the person will have increased or decreased muscle tone, causing involuntary movements. It affects most tasks in daily life such as feeding, dressing and speaking. The third type of CP is called ataxic and it’s a less common form of the condition which affects sense of balance and depth perception. Some people have just one form of the condition, whilst others have elements of all three.
The condition is most often caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain at birth or an accident during early childhood. CP isn’t hereditary and it can’t just be “developed” – it occurs after birth and may not be diagnosed for some months or even years later. It’s severity is extremely varied and in my experience, CP is different for everyone and I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who experiences it in the exact same way that I do. Some people have very little movement and use a wheelchair full time, others have very mild symptoms and have never needed a wheelchair. I’m somewhere in between – I use my electric wheelchair outdoors and for long distances but when I’m at home, I am able to and prefer to walk around to try and keep a level of mobility. My speech is affected but I am capable of doing most things for myself – it just might take a little longer!
I’ll be live on Twitter on World CP Day, Wednesday 7th October, to answer all your questions about Cerebral Palsy, from 1-2pm GMT. Follow me @Aideen23Henry
For further information about Cerebral Palsy, please follow the links below:
Medical information from:
Support for Parents of Kids with CP: