Muscle Development & Early Intervention
Cerebral palsy is an injury to the brain, but what we find is that it has a lot of effects on how you use your muscles.
When you use your muscles, the muscle activity actually releases growth factors in the brain. Basically using your muscles, tells your brain that you want to keep growing. So this is why a lot of children with cerebral palsy are smaller because they're not using their muscles. The muscles aren't signaling the brain to keep growing.
Early intervention is important, but we may not start it young enough. It's very challenging in cerebral palsy as in all children, because if they're not doing anything yet, motor wise, how do you really intervene? Easy things like putting the child on their tummy more, holding them upright so they have to use their muscles, standing them up on your lap, and having them bounce and use their legs. Anything that would encourage them to use any of their muscles and joints.
Science has been telling us how important movement is, but it’s possible that we have not been starting early enough in those first few months of life. It’s likely that Early intervention has not really shown the results it can have because we haven't started sooner. Children inherently love movements. It's something that parents enjoy doing with their children. They're learning something, their muscles are learning. Their brain is learning and they're enjoying it. It promotes their interest in moving more.
"When you use your muscles, the muscle activity actually releases growth factors in the brain."