You have probably heard of cerebral palsy. It is one of the most common congenital (existing before or at birth) disorders of childhood. Caused by a variety of factors, cerebral palsy can lead to a lifetime of difficulties for those who suffer from it.
There are three main types of cerebral palsy:
- Spastic cerebral palsy – results in stiffness and difficulty in movement
- Athetoid cerebral palsy – causes involuntary and uncontrolled movements
- Ataxic cerebral palsy – disturbs the sense of balance and depth perception
Though cerebral palsy does not get worse over time, it can cause extreme difficulties. Children suffering from the condition often require round-the-clock care and regular medical attention.
Cerebral palsy affects muscle control and coordination, making it difficult to perform even simple tasks. Just standing still may be impossible. A variety of other vital functions can be affected, including breathing, bladder and bowel control, eating and learning.
The situation for these children is not completely hopeless, though. The sooner the condition is diagnosed, the sooner therapy can begin. Some cerebral palsy suffers go on to live full lives. Some start businesses, go to college or become motivational speakers.
A diagnosis of cerebral palsy can be devastating, especially when it is the result of a birth injury. It is important to remember, though, that although the condition may never go away, therapy may result in an improved life for the victim.
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