While you may understand Cerebral Palsy by its symptoms and the lifetime of challenges it presents, you may not fully comprehend just what the condition is. With so much misinformation existing surrounding CP, including some beliefs it is a disease or on par with a cold or infection, it’s no wonder parents often find themselves lost after a diagnosis. In understanding Cerebral Palsy as a brain injury, it is our hope that parents can equip themselves accordingly to getting their child the support he or she needs, while also exploring the root cause of the specific condition.
First, what do we mean by a ‘brain injury’? Cerebral Palsy, at its root, relates to a condition caused by damage to the brain. The cause of this injury can vary, from malformation during pregnancy, to bacterial infections, genetic abnormalities or even medical errors during pregnancy, delivery or post-birth care. No matter the cause, though, the area harmed always involves the brain.
Cerebral Palsy symptoms are a manifestation of the brain injury, meaning that an inability or difficulty is centered around the brain’s inability to ‘execute’ the task the way it would normally. While early intervention can be extremely effective in helping retrain the brain around those processes (and the reason why starting at a young age is so important!), the initial injury does not worsen. Symptoms may become more noticeable as the body ages but the initial brain injury resulting in Cerebral Palsy does not worsen.
Why does understanding CP as a brain injury matter? Simple: it focuses your energies to efforts that target the root cause. Physical therapy can be an essential cog in your child’s ability to improve and advance but that is because it involves two components: retraining the brain based upon manipulation of the body, as well as assisting the limbs, muscles, etc. Occupational therapy, similarly, looks to retrain the brain and make some everyday tasks a possibility. In turn, your child can gain a sense of independence that can be enjoyed by child and family alike.
The brain injury resulting in Cerebral Palsy can vary significantly based upon its cause but what remains true, for all children with CP, is how important care and effort can be. In focusing on health and wellness, the brain can be provided its best chance to combat the effects of an initial brain injury at such an early age and develop to allow your child to reach their full potential. Whether through nutrition/diet, therapy, assistive technology, etc., looking to help the brain find solutions should be an essential part of your child’s long-term care.
For more information about Cerebral Palsy, a child’s early brain injury resulting in CP or other conditions, resources and programs aimed to help children with CP, or to see what we can do to help your family and child, contact us today through our online contact form or by calling (800) 692-4453(800) 692-4453 FREE!