Cerebral Palsy was earlier known as “ Little Disease” named after William Little who made initial studies regarding the condition. It was William Osler who coined the term Cerebral Palsy from the German term “Cerebrale kinderlahung” which means cerebral child paralysis.
Cerebral Palsy (CP) is group of movement disorders that results from damage to the brain “Cerebral” refers to the brain while “Palsy” refers to paralysis. It describes lack of muscle control that is often a symptom. Cerebral palsy is not hereditary, not contagious, not progressive, and not a primary cause of death. It is known that the brain damage is closely linked to the factors responsible for premature birth, spontaneous abortion, birth defects, and stillbirths. These factors include improper positioning of the fetus in the womb, anemia, infection, lack of oxygen during birth, other disease and injury during pregnancy and after giving birth.
The person with Cerebral Palsy can be determined by observing their physical movement, like poor head control, inability to sit up without support after 8 months, stiff or rigid arms and legs and floppy or limp posture. Some behavioral problems are extreme irritability, feeding difficulties, persistent gagging or choking when fed after 6 months of age especially if the tongue pushes the food out of the mouth and failure to smile by 3 months. Other conditions that often appear with CP are seizures, hearing loss, joint problems or contractures (shortening of muscle and other tissues), dental problem, communication problems, and respiratory problems.
Cerebral Palsy can be managed through physical rehabilitation (physical, occupational, speech and language therapy), provision of assistive device, special education, vocational guidance and training, counseling surgery and medication as required / suggested by a rehabilitation medicine specialist (Physiatrist).