Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a condition in which a number of neuromuscular abnormalities result from damage to the brain at an early stage of development. Lord in 1984, defined CP as a non-progressive disorder of motion and posture due to brain insult or injury occurring in the period of early brain growth, generally under 3 years of age. The cause of the disorder is brain pathology, the brain damage occurring early in life in young or yet to develop CNS. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), out of every 1,000 children at least 1.5 to 4 is affected in the worldwide. Studies reveal that most children are born with CP, but they may not show signs of a disorder until months or years later. Symptoms usually appear before a child reaches age 3 or 4.

Common Signs:

  • Delays in motor skill milestones, such as rolling over, crawling or  sitting up alone
  • Variations in muscle tone, such as being flaccid(floppy) or spastic(stiff)
  • Delays in speech development and difficulty speaking
  • Ataxia, or a lack of muscle coordination
  • Tremors or involuntary movements
  • Excessive drooling and problems with swallowing
  • Difficulty walking
  • Favoring one side of the body, such as reaching with one hand
  • Neurological problems, such as seizures, intellectual disabilities, and blindness

 

Speech problems include:

  • Articulation disorders –they exhibit poor oral-motor control and muscle weakness in the head, neck, face, and throat, which may interfere child’s ability to make sounds, form syllables, and say words.  Articulation problems (reduced clarity) can make it difficult or impossible for others to understand a child’s speech.

 

  • Fluency disorders – Interruptions, such as stuttering, break the flow of speech, which affects the communication

 

  • Voice disorders – Resonance problems and other voice disorders occur when cerebral palsy patients experience irregular pitch, volume control and voice quality. The condition makes it hard for children to interact, and may also cause pain or discomfort as a child speaks.

 

  • Dysarthria disorders – they sometimes experience impaired muscle movement that are used for speech production. These areas include the tongue, lips, and vocal folds. Some signs of Dysarthria include:
  • “Slurred” or “mumbled”
  • Delayed rate of speech (speed)
  • Limited facial movement
  • Abnormal pitch or rhythmic speaking

 

  • Dysphagia disorders – Difficulty swallowing or digesting food from your mouth to stomach. Symptoms of Dysphagia include:
  • Having trouble swallowing or digesting food
  • Drooling
  • Regurgitation
  • Frequent Heartburn
  • Coughing and Gagging

 

Speech therapy supports development in these areas:

  • Increase vocabulary/expressive vocabulary
  • Understanding and comprehension
  • Regulating voice volume and Pitch
  • Improves perception
  • Articulation and pronunciation
  • Voice quality
  • Chewing and swallowing

As communication skills improve, cerebral palsy patients gain confidence and participate in a wider range of activities. .  Speech therapy may lead to progress in these areas:

  • Confidence and self esteem
  • Desire to interact socially
  • Learning and communicating at school
  • Expressing thoughts and ideas
  • Independence
  • Problem-solving
  • Overall quality of life
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