Information taken from cerebralpalsy.org
WHAT IS CEREBRAL PALSY?
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder that causes abnormal or weak muscle tone. Cerebral palsy is broken up into 4 different categories: spastic, ataxic, dyskinetic, and hypotonic. Body movement and muscle coordination are the primary areas that are affected in children with cerebral palsy.
HOW IS SPEECH AND LANGUAGE AFFECTED?
Cerebral palsy often impacts the centers of the brain that control speech and language. Children with CP may have impaired jaw, throat, and mouth muscles that are used for speaking, eating, drinking, and breathing. Furthermore, articulation of sounds may be difficult due to poor muscle tone.
WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF CEREBRAL PALSY?
It should be noted that not all children will experience the following symptoms. Furthermore, each child will have differing severity levels.
- Poor muscle tone
- Involuntary tremors
- Rigid muscles
- Exaggerated reflexes
- Poor fine motor skills (i.e., gripping a spoon or a finger)
- Difficulties with swallowing
- Dysarthria (a motor speech disorder)
- Hearing loss
WHAT CAUSES CP?
Cerebral palsy is the cause of brain damage or brain malformation. Damage is caused by brain injury or abnormal development when the brain is still growing. This can happen before birth, during birth, or immediately after birth. An estimated 10% of CP cases are due to complications during delivery. Common risks may include the following: negligence, abuse, medical malpractice, accidents, infections, and injuries. Most people who have CP were born with CP; however, cerebral palsy may be acquired later.
If your child was recently diagnosed with cerebral palsy, this can be a very frightening and confusing time for the family. We urge you to join a support group to gain more insight. You are not alone!
OUR APPROACH AT KEY THERAPIES:
As mentioned earlier, there are varying severity levels with CP and we will develop an individualized treatment plan for each child based off of his / her current needs. For an individual with cerebral palsy, we may work on articulation and oral motor exercises to improve muscle tone. We may also see a need to work on AAC or on feeding issues. Furthermore, a home program will be taught to caregivers so that follow-through can be completed at home.