Cerebral palsy comprises a group of illnesses that affect movement and muscle tone or posture. It’s caused by impairments that occurs to the young brain as it grows, most often before birth. Symptoms of cerebral palsy appear during infancy years i.e. 0- 3 years. In general, cerebral palsy causes weakened movement along with anomalous reflexes, slackness or rigidity of the limbs and body, abnormal posture, involuntary movements, unsteady walking, or a combination of all these.
Signs and symptoms can vary greatly.
Movement and coordination problems associated with cerebral palsy include:
- Differences in muscle tone, such as being either too stiff or too floppy
- Spasticity -stiff muscles and exaggerated reflexes.
- Rigid muscles – stiff muscles with normal reflexes.
- Ataxia – Lack of balance and coordination
- Trembles or uncontrolled movements
- Slow, writhing movements
- Delays in reaching motor skills milestone
- Favouring one side of the body, such as reaching with one hand or dragging a leg while crawling
- Difficulty walking.
- Excessive drooling or problems with swallowing
- Difficulty with sucking or eating
- Delays in speech development or difficulty speaking
- Learning difficulties
- Difficulty with fine motor skills, such as buttoning clothes or picking up utensils
Cerebral palsy can affect the whole body, or it might be limited primarily to one limb or one side of the body.