Spasticity is usually caused by central nervous system injuries, such as brain injuries or spinal cord injuries. Spasticity is a little different from stiffness.
Cerebral palsy refers to a group of conditions that are caused by problems in brain development and that affect how movement and motor control happen in children. Problems with walking and talking are often the way people start a conversation about cerebral palsy.
As your child with CP is becoming a teenager, there are a couple of things you may want to think about.
It's important for all of us who are imposed with certain physical boundary conditions to push those boundary conditions as far as possible and maintain as much independence as absolutely possible.
All adolescents and young adults experience some peer pressure to engage in drinking or other risky behaviors. Adolescents with cerebral palsy engage in risky behaviors just like other teenagers. Some families find it helpful to sign what's called, a Contract for Life, or a Contract for Safety, with their child. The parent agrees not to yell in the moment and to have a conversation about it the next day. That's one way that adolescents and parents can create some zone of safety around drinking.
Children with cerebral palsy have more complex self-management and self-care demands than children who are typically developing. They have to learn how to deal with medications and they may have to deal with medical equipment. At some point, they're going to have to learn about medical appointments.
I have cerebral palsy spastic diplegia. So it affects my legs and sometimes my fine motor skills. I walk with two canes. I do things a little slower, but I get things done.
One thing that parents can say to start a conversation with their kids is, "Let's talk".
As we all know, becoming a teenager means significant upheaval, not only physically, but in terms of friendships, in terms of learning, and life outlook. This is also true for adolescents with cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities. We know that whilst we may of spent a lot of time focusing on their physical abilities and other difficulties it is not the only part of their life.
I spent many years and many hours learning how to make the body work better, how to bring it out of pain. But that's not the human being alone.
Up to 50% of adolescents with cerebral palsy have an intellectual disability, as well as a physical disability. Adolescents with intellectual disabilities still need sexual health education, they just need it in a way that's more individualized so that they can understand it and use it. When it comes to school, it's important that parents of adolescents with physical disabilities make sure your child gets to take sex ed. Too often, adolescents with physical disabilities are told that they don't need to be in sex ed, that it doesn't apply to them, but everyone needs that information and parents need to make sure their kids get that education.
There are so many different causes for potential pain that it can be hard to find the cause. If you have CP or are a parent of someone with CP it is really important to empower yourself with information on pain including what causes it and options for treatment. You need to work out what is causing the pain not just mask it with pain medication.
One of the things that was identified through research is that patients with cerebral palsy have higher rates of depression and anxiety than you would see in the general population.
Around the age of six all children are going off to school. Children move from explorative play, which is fairly informal to a much more formal day. That can be a lengthy day and it's quite structured. There are a lot of challenges faced by children with cerebral palsy throughout the school year.
There are a couple of key things to think about in helping children and adolescents make the transition into young adulthood and independence. One of those things is called mastery motivation and we can see mastery motivation early in life. It's the ability to persist in the face of challenge. If you're growing up with a disability, it can be harder to do things. If you are not challenged, if the environment is not set up correctly, or if you don't have the resources, then you start to feel that you can't master certain kinds of tasks.
Neuroplasticity is the ability that the brain has to form new connections between different cells or between different areas of the brain.
Oropharyngeal dysphagia, or OPD, is an impairment of the oral or pharyngeal phases of the swallow. This can impair muscle movements and coordination of the mouth, such as the lips, tongue, jaw, cheeks, palate, and also muscles of the pharynx and the entry to the airway.
We all have different towns and we all have different things that we do in the course of the day. It may be that the student is a great artist or a great writer. When it comes to assistive technology we have to think about what is going to give that student the ability to do what they love without having to see roadblocks and go, "I can't do that”. There are so many tools out there, whether it's a communication app, a video app, a math tool. With assistive technology you are not making the student into what you want them to be.
The typical cognitive assessments that are used for children require them to be able to use their hands to point to pictures or hold puzzle pieces.