To honor Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, you may see many people wearing green.
Why green? The color was chosen to reflect youthfulness and new growth, as well as hope for advancements in treatment and acceptance.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood, affecting body movement and muscle coordination.
CP is caused by abnormal development or damage to the parts of the brain that control movement, balance and posture.
In some cases, the cerebral motor cortex hasn’t developed normally during fetal growth. In others, the damage is a result of injury to the brain either before, during, or after birth. In either case, the damage is not repairable and the disabilities that result are permanent.
CP is the most common motor disorder and the second-most common disability found in children. Currently over 700,000 people lie with CP.
Parent usually notice developmental delays early, although an official diagnosis may be delayed until age two or later.
According to the National Institutes of Health, early warning signs include:
The specific forms of cerebral palsy are determined by the extent, type, and location of a child’s abnormalities. Doctors classify CP according to the type of movement disorder involved:
However, CP can’t fit into a one-size-fits-all box. There are several types of cerebral palsy, with many variations. No two people with the disability will have it in the exact same way.
There’s no cure for cerebral palsy. Some of those who have it use medications to help control muscles and relax. Physical, occupational, speech and water therapy are used to gain strength, be able to stretch, and improve overall quality of life.
CP was given its own month of observance in 2005, thanks to the efforts of many including Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Senator Robert Case of Pennsylvania.
The goals are to increase awareness: