Cerebral palsy is a well-known illness often caused by complications during childbirth. CP actually refers to a range of conditions that affect one’s movements, posture, and balance. In that way, it is not a condition that affects all sufferers the same–there is spectrum of severity that ranges quite wide.
One complication with cerebral palsy is that, even when the underlying injury (to the brain) occurs during birth, the actual long-term effect on the child is not readily apparent. Instead, medical professionals are usually only able to identify various risk factors to CP development. In many cases the potential for harm is high, because of serious problems during birth. For example, premature infants are at a higher risk because of they have had less time to develop At other times, there child may show signs of fetal distress and have oxygen deprived to their brain for a prolonged period of time. All of these challenges may result in the child suffering from CP.
Early Cerebral Palsy Identification Is Crucial
Cerebral palsy is not evident until a child develops and shows signs of various challenges. The specific difficulties will range considerably, depending on the severity of the CP. Yet, no matter what, early identification of the condition is crucial. That is because treatment, education, and support for these children goes a long way in helping them deal with the challenges they will face as a result of their injury. A recent Times India story touched on the crucial role that parents can play in watching for early signs of cerebral palsy in their youngsters.
The story notes how one of the earliest signs of CP is a delay in an infant’s ability sit up and hold their neck. Similarly, irregularities with food intake weight gain, and fevers may also be signs of problems. In general, child growth experts explain that by three months of age most children will be able to hold their neck up and concentrate on objects. By six months most will begin to sit up and turn. By nine months the baby usually crawls and stands, with walking occurring not much after that. Of course, none of these rough guidelines are iron-clad dates, but they offer a helpful general guide to understand whether more professional help should be sought out.
Unfortunately, there is still a lack of awareness of these potential problems. One doctor interviewed for the story explains that, “There are certain milestones which the parents should monitor. More efforts are needed to make parents aware of the causes and to sensitize them about the prevention and treatment of this illness.”
Fortunately, treatments are available which can help significantly. Physiotherapy is often crucial. Various other forms of assistance are also available, depending on the child’s specific symptoms. For example, medicines are available to help with muscle tightening and spasticity. Surgeries, exercises, use of medical devices, and other options are also hugely beneficial. However, not identifying the possible problem means that the child loses precious time, with their recovery often stunted indefinitely.
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