My Child's Walk - Cerebral Palsy


Cerebral palsy basically refers to a general condition regarding a collection of permanent, non-progressive motion disorders which lead to physical disability, most often in the regions of body movements. Furthermore, the body also experiences problems in sensation, ability to communicate, as well as depth perception. Subsequently, the patient experiences cognition challenges as well as epilepsy, which is a prevalent condition in majority of cerebral palsy cases. Essentially, cerebral palsy also has many subtypes, including the type characterized with spasticity which has features such as poor coordination. Basically, cerebral palsy is caused by damages that may occur in the motor control center of the brain. The condition is highly attributable to occurring during pregnancy, childbirth or at tender age. However, most cases of cerebral palsy are attributable to genetic cause. Nevertheless, the condition is neither infection nor a contagious disease. Indeed, most cases are identified during tender age of the child as opposed to adolescence or maturity stage (Hansen & Atchison, 2008).

Ideally, improved care of the newborns has been attributable to the reducing levels of babies with cerebral disorder besides raising survival rates particularly for the victims with relatively low weights at birth. Indeed, no cure has been discovered to work for the victims of cerebral palsy, and the main issue has to be in prevention rather than cure. According to global statistics on the problem, cerebral palsy occurs at the rate of about 2.1 cases for every 1,000 live births. Basically, cerebral palsy refers to a section of the brain called cerebrum which is affected by the disorder. It may involve the infection of cortex as well as other brain parts including cerebellum. Palsy refers to the aspect of paralysis. Consequently, it is used in the discipline of medicine in reference to weakness or paralysis which often comes alongside nerve damages. Low sensation as well as muscle disorders characterized with uncontrolled motion. Such uncontrolled motions may be manifested through shaking or trembling among other forms. Among the major causes of the disorder are prematurity, term infants, early childhood as well as genetic disorder among others.

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The Effects of Cerebral Palsy on Children

Children suffering from the disorder often have problems pertaining to the tone of muscles, balance as well as motor skills. Indeed, the condition arises from damage of the brain in the event of child development. It comprises of many other disorders aggregated together. Essentially, the symptoms manifested in the patient could be diverse depending on the brain section having been spoilt as well as the magnitude of extortion. According to the manual, Merck Medical discipline, cerebral palsy is said to affect between 2 and 4 children for every 1,000 newborns in the United States of America.

Another effect of cerebral palsy on the child is a combination of tendons and muscle stiffness. Indeed, this may take a form of one side paralysis or either. In fact, the resultant paralysis takes the latter effects for the three distinct forms of cerebral paralysis: spastic quadriplegia, spastic diplegia and spastic hemilegia. Consequently, the tightness of muscles and tendons is attributable to subsequent interference with the body movements, particularly during walking (Ross & Bowers, 2009).

Similarly, cerebral palsy also results in trouble in both walking and crawling for the child. For instance, children suffering from either SD or SH forms of cerebral palsy have the tendency of walking latter as opposed to children under normal circumstances. Furthermore, in the event that children suffering from SH begin to crawl, such advancement favors one side of the body while sparing the side, hand or leg with the cerebral palsy problem. Eventually, after walking, such children also portray tip-toe pace in order to compensate on the issue of muscle stiffness and shortened tendons. Consequently, parents attempt to address the latter challenge by the use of walker, while others use leg braces to assist the child in movement (Ross & Bowers, 2009).

Furthermore, the child also experiences extensive delay prior to reaching out developmental milestone. Indeed, earlier indication of cerebral palsy could be an indication of delayed achievement of standard milestone for development. The majority of children with normal growth roll over at four months, sit and sit in isolation after the fifth month and crawl at the age of seven months. In the event that children do not exhibit these traits at such times, then, parents ought to consult pediatrics for assistance and further guidance. Poor manual coordination is also another sound effect on a child with cerebral palsy. Besides challenges with massive motor function, children suffering from cerebral palsy also portray difficulties in controlling their own hands and arms. For instance, such children have difficulties in performing tasks that needs precise hand and arms control such as draining some liquid from one container to another (Ross & Bowers, 2009).
In particular, children suffering from SH type have problems on one side of the body, while those with DH disorder have challenges in performance of the body on bothr sides. Cerebral palsy also interferes with muscles of the face and tongue. As a result, a child may have difficulties in speech. In particular, children suffering from either SD or SH begin talking later besides having difficulties in pronouncing or precision in speech work. For children with strong SQ conditions, talking is even more challenging. In most cases, however, victims of cerebral palsy have ordinary intelligence. However, the problems with speech may only be an exhibition of problems with the coordination of muscles. As a result of technological advancement, there are discoveries of assistive technologies which enable such children to communicate by use of mechanism other than speech; a discovery that has been effective in addressing the challenge of communication hitches as a result of muscle inflexibility (Ross & Bowers, 2009).

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Furthermore, lack of muscle tone is also an effect of cerebral palsy in children. As a matter of facts, despite the stiffness of muscles of the child with cerebral palsy, other cases involve extremely loose muscles portraying very fine tone as well as regarded activation. For example, SQ victims are usually characterized with loose and uncontrolled neck movement, a condition that leads to floppy head motions most of the time. Absence of facial control is also eminent in children with cerebral palsy. Indeed, such children often portray uncontrollable spastic contraction with regard to their facial muscles. This condition produces a grimace facial expression. The child may also have challenges in controlling both lips and the tongue thus drooling (Carey, Crocker, Elias, Feldman, & Coleman, 2009).

Seizure is also typical for children with cerebral palsy. In particular, children suffering from strong SQ type have varying durations and severity of conditions of seizure. Indeed, seizures during tender ages are an indication of cerebral palsy condition. Similarly, children with SH type of the disorder have a more recharged or activated side of the body. As a result, the child may have spinal curvature, a condition also referred to as scoliosis. Furthermore, children may also have writhing motions of either hands and feet or both. Indeed, dyskinetic cerebral palsy is one of the least common forms of cerebral palsy. Besides other symptom, children suffering from dyskinetic cerebral palsy often make uncontrolled motions of feet and hands, a condition that is highly disturbing. Finally, the child may also have a problem with grasping objects. Indeed, ataxic cerebral palsy (ACP) which rarely occurs in children and increases severity when handling targeted objects. The latter forms a pool ranging effects of cerebral palsy on children (Arnould, Penta, & Thonnard, 2007).

The Effects of Cerebral Palsy on Families and the Society

Essentially, psychological distress associated with cerebral palsy is perhaps one of the critical depressing conditions as appertains to families living with cerebral palsy. The issue of impaired motor function is perhaps one of the characteristics of cerebral palsy disorder though children suffering from it have a collection of other disorders. In particular, giving appropriate care is perhaps an ordinary part of parenting children living with cerebral palsy conditions, which is especially complicated when a child has functional limitations as well as a possible long-term dependent nature. Indeed, one of the critical challenges in nurturing a child is the case of managing the chronic health condition of a child by the parent besides focusing on the daily needs of the child. As a result, caring for children with disabilities at the home environment might be daunting for the majority of caregivers, particularly the parents as well as the society at large. In fact, the move to provide such care may not only pose psychological challenge but also be detrimental to the health conditions of the parents (Balaban et al., 2007).
Furthermore, caring for any child regardless of their physical or health conditions involves wide range of resources. However, in case of cerebral palsy childcare, such resources increase considerably. Besides, cerebral palsy victims also have been reported to have psychological disorders which further add up to the child care burden on the family. The depression status of mothers living with cerebral palsy children victims has also been indicated to be adversely influenced. Consequently, there is absolute need to asses and correct mental health of caregivers for the cerebral palsy children victims (Carey et al., 2009).

Additionally, parents of children with cerebral palsy also experience higher stress levels than ordinary parents. As studies indicate, the dependency of children with disabilities on other people in everyday activities causes psychological distress in the mother. Consequently, more dependent children imply high level of distress in the mother. Indeed, the aspect of coping with cerebral palsy distress is often complicated since such children need long-term care from both parents and the society at large. The effect of cerebral palsy in contributing to parenting stress is often affected by other factors which may include increased demands for care-giving. Furthermore, the challenges in parenting of cerebral palsy children are also contributed by poor ethnic background and little maternal education. Consequently, any promising coping strategy must be geared towards enhancing daily care burden while restraining re-admission into hospitals and subsequent target of appropriate psychosocial support systems. These measures would enhance positive parent perceptions as well as expectations on child's health conditions (Ellenberg & Nelson, 2013).

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Similarly, the attitude people have on both cerebral palsy children and the family members also contributes significantly to psychological trauma of both children and the family. Indeed, the stigmatization of such families produces an aspect of disturbance on the child. As a result, such children may be denied the right to education, friendships as well as recreational opportunities. Consequently, for effective mental health of parents and children victims, a good sense of self-esteem is pivotal. In most African societies, for instance, cerebral palsy conditions are often associated with witchcraft. Consequently, victimized families perceive the condition as mere punishment from their gods perhaps due to a wrong act by one of the family members, particularly, the mother. Indeed, more often than not, the culpability is shifted to vulnerable groups, particularly women, thus leading to eventual incidences such as family breakdown and subsequent gaps in the society (Carey et al., 2009).

Essentially, cerebral palsy conditions have also been attributed to the mistakes done by physicians in handling pregnant mothers or during the time of giving birth. For instance, physicians may have miss-read their fetal equipment, delayed in handling a particular problem with the mother or even their failure to detect fetal distress at the time of labor. Consequently, the result of the latter conditions leads to subsequent challenges that may be contributed by incidental harm on the child's brain, during or after pregnancy. In this regard, physicians handling pregnant women should ensure that all conditions pertaining to the unborn child health conditions are considered and necessary steps taken to prevent injurious activities that may harm the overall health of the parent as well as the unborn baby. If this occurs, some states provide stringent laws that focus on enhancing the right of child where parents can accuse physicians of irresponsible acts and subsequent deterioration of their children's health conditions (Carey et al., 2009).

Finally, parents, family and the society should engage combined effort in monitoring and improving child developments. Negative perceptions towards incidences of cerebral palsy should also be avoided as in the case of African traditional society, which associates it with witchcraft. Consequently, this move would ensure minimal if any form of stigmatization on both the child and the family at large. Medical checks are compulsory during pregnancy in order to prevent fateful incidences of child fatalities after birth.

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