RSVP Home Care is proud to serve many families with children who have cerebral palsy. Here is our Cerebral Palsy 101 for families dealing with CP.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, CP is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. CP is the most common motor disability in childhood. Cerebral means that it has to do with the brain and palsy means weakness or problems using muscles. Simply put CP is caused by damaged or abnormal brain development that results in a person’s inability to control his or her muscles.
CP is unique in each child. No two children will present exactly the same way and no two children will benefit from the same treatments. The first thing you need to know in Cerebral Palsy 101 is that the term cerebral palsy applies to many different things. It can affect different muscle groups that cause different reactions in different children. Some children may require a wheel chair others a brace. Some children will have manageable CP, which allows them to function in normal ways most of the time. In some children CP symptoms come and go and aren’t visible all the time.
CP involves how the brain signals the muscles and groups of muscles. The brain is very complex. Muscle tone with CP can either be hypertonic or hypotonic. When we think of someone being “hyper” we think of him or her being very active and unable to be still. This is the same with muscle tone. Hypertonic muscles are very active and appear stiff or flexed. Hypotonic muscles are just the opposite. They are generally inactive and appear limp. Other terms are used to explain the muscle movement in CP like rigidity, spasticity or dystonia. Quadriplegic Cp normally has nothing to do with paralysis but more to do with having no purposeful movement.
CP at this time has no cure. There are many treatments that can help with the muscles and other complications associated with CP. Your doctor may refer you to a physical or occupational therapist for help as well as a respiratory therapist depending on your child’s needs. As with most childhood disabilities early detection can often help your child overcome some of the difficulties associated with CP. There are pros and cons of each treatment and it is up to you and your doctors to determine which treatments are the right ones for your child. Treatments for CP include:
CP alone does not cause respiratory distress, however associated conditions can lead to life-threatening respiratory issues. Pneumonia, aspiration and choking are just a few of the conditions you need to be aware of. It is estimated that over 80% of children with CP have oral-motor dysfunction, which is an inability to control facial and neck muscles. This can lead to difficulties swallowing, breathing and communicating. Proper management of respiratory health can improve your child’s quality of life and prevent many complications that could arise. Respiratory function allows oxygen to get to all the organs of the body. It requires a child to breathe properly, cough effectively and detect and treat respiratory infections promptly.
If you have questions about our Cerebral Palsy 101 or need more information about RSVP Home Care please call our office and a licensed respiratory therapist will be happy to help answer your questions.