As a licensed physical therapist (albeit non-practising at the moment) and a mom of two, I have always admired parents of children with special needs. During my days as a UP Manila intern, I was exposed to families of special needs kids from different backgrounds – some were from poor families, others were more well-off than most. But despite their differences, their love and concern for their special child was the same. They were willing to learn about anything and everything that could help them deal with their kids’ conditions.
What is Cerebral Palsy (CP)?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cerebral palsy refers to “a group of disorders that affect a person's ability to move and to maintain balance and posture. It is due to a non-progressive brain abnormality, which means that it does not get worse over time, though the exact symptoms can change over a person's lifetime.”
Persons with cerebral palsy have damage in that part of their brain which controls muscle tone. Muscle tone is the amount of resistance to movement in a muscle. In other words, muscle tone is what lets you keep your body in a certain position or posture. If your child has cerebral palsy, the tone in his or her different muscle groups is not balanced, so his or her movements are not fluid.
The symptoms of CP are not the same in every child, and may change in time. Children with severe CP may not be able to walk and may need you to take care of them for the rest of their lives, while those with mild CP may only need help in walking.