Cerebral palsy

(CP) is defined as a cluster of different conditions that affect neuromotor development resulting from non-progressive injuries or lesions in the brain. CP can occur prenatally, perinatally, and postnatally and is accompanied by symptoms such as gross motor impairments, seizure disorder, and disturbances of sensation, cognition, communication, perception, and balance. Most children with CP are diagnosed at around 1 to 2 years of age. There are a variety of causes of CP, which can include a lack of oxygen to the brain, lack of perfusion to the brain, maternal infection, low birth weight, premature birth, breech position at birth, placental abruption, and idiopathic reasons. CP is further classified by type of muscle tone, distribution of limb involvement and by functional skill level. Some types of CP are spastic diplegia, quadriplegia, hemiplegia, double hemiplegia, monoplegia, as well as hypotonia, dyskinesia, and ataxia. Spastic diplegia is the most common form of CP. As one ages, their gross motor function progressively declines, therefore, affecting their quality of life.

Spastic Diplegia is one of the many forms of Cerebral Palsy. Symptoms usually differ from one child to the next. Developmental delay and hypertonia/hypotonia are the first signs of spastic diplegia that appear early in an infant’s life (2-3 months). Despite mainly occurring in the lower extremity, spastic diplegia can also affect the upper extremity in severe cases. The severity of brain injury and co-existing disorders will depict the concurrent signs and symptoms. These signs and symptoms usually include abnormal gait, crossed knees, walking on tiptoes, contractures, equinus, limited mobility, delayed motor or movement milestones, stiffness, seizures, fatigue, and lack of coordination and balance. Children who have spastic diplegia usually ambulate without an assistive device, but have noticeable gait deviations such as toe-walking, stiff flexed knees, flexed hips, and an anterior pelvic tilt. Because of these impairments, children will have difficulty in performing everyday ADL’s such as eating, dressing, walking, running, jumping, and negotiating stairs. It is imperative to provide these children with an intensive rehabilitation program to improve their gross motor skills by the time they reach adolescence.

 

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