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NCHPAD - Building Healthy Inclusive Communities

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Cerebral Palsy Basics


By: Ginni Buller

Ginni is sitting with her husband and two children.
Ginni is sitting with her husband and two children.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a non-progressive group of conditions that is caused by damage to the area of the brain that controls motor function. CP can occur before or during birth (90% of cases) or after birth up to 3 years of age (10% of cases). CP can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as a difficult birth or any type of accident resulting in damage(s) to the brain area. It is not hereditary and cannot be passed down to your children. The type and degree of CP depends on the location and extent of the injury. CP affects muscle control and coordination with impairments including muscle spasticity, seizures, involuntary movements, mobility problems, the retaining of reflexes beyond development, and difficulties with speech, vision, hearing, bowel and bladder control, and learning.

There are four types of CP: spastic (70% to 80% of cases), with a high degree of muscle tone; athetoid (10% to 20%), with uncontrolled flailing movements; ataxia (5% to 10%), with balance and coordination impairments; and mixed, with a combination of types.


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