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How to Cope with Cerebral Palsy in Children

Cerebral palsy results from damage to the parts of the brain which control the body’s movements and posture. This damage may occur before birth, during birth or during the first two years of life. The amount of damage caused may be slight or severe. The developing brain can be damaged by lack of oxygen, infections in the mother during image 7 How to Cope with Cerebral Palsy in Childrenpregnancy or a placenta which is not functioning properly. In many cases doctors are unable to find the exact cause. The blood vessels in the brain of premature babies are very fragile and are relatively easily damaged during labour and in the first few weeks of life, depending on the degree of prematurity. It follows that cerebral palsy is more common in very premature babies.

The damage may not always be evident at birth but may become obvious as the baby grows. Some of the tests done at the eight week screen check for cerebral palsy. However if parents are worried that their baby has not achieved any of the developmental milestones they should seek reassurance from their doctor.

Children with cerebral palsy may need treatment throughout their childhood but parents should always be involved in the programme and in most cases will be able to help with exercises at home. Some sufferers of cerebral palsy may also have a mental handicap – another result of brain damage – but equally there may be no mental handicap whatsoever and the problem is purely a physical inability to control muscle movement.

This article is a guide only – please seek advice from your medical advisor in all cases.

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