Cerebral Palsy is one of the most common causes of physical disability in Australia, affecting one in every 500 births. People with Cerebral Palsy have difficulties with their movements including walking, posture and balance.
Cerebral Palsy may develop because of factors during pregnancy, in the birthing process or soon after birth. Generally, it arises from a lack of oxygen to the brain which affects its development. Factors which may contribute to cerebral palsy include premature birth, low birth weight, stroke and infections to the mother in utero or to the newborn.
Initial indicators that a baby may have cerebral palsy include low muscle tone, a weak suck with feeding and slow milestones with talking and walking. Some people with Cerebral Palsy can also have an associated intellectual disability, whilst others will not have any impairment of intellectual function.
There are different types of Cerebral Palsy including:
- Spastic – this is the most common type where the affected limbs have increased tone
- Dyskinetic – this type is less common and the individual can have movements of their body which are out of their control
- Ataxic – this type is less common and results in poor balance, tremor and difficulties with positioning in space.
- Mixed type – this includes features from other categories of Cerebral Palsy
Although Cerebral Palsy is not a curable condition, there are therapies and supports which can help to improve mobility, independence and quality of life. These include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, medical and nursing input.
Our doctors at Adelaide Disability Medical Services combine compassionate General Practice care with expertise in disabilities. We aim to treat the whole person, with a focus on quality care and compassionate medicine.
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