Cerebral Palsy Program
The newly integrated Cerebral Palsy Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is a multi-disciplinary clinic devoted to children and adolescents with cerebral palsy.
Garey H. Noritz, MD
Nationwide Children's Cerebral Palsy Program
Cerebral Palsy, or CP, is a condition that causes movement difficulties. It results from an injury to the brain that occurs before the child is born, during delivery, or shortly after birth. Often times, there is no known reason for the brain injury. The extent of the difficulty can range from mild to severe. It is not progressive, so the child’s condition does not worsen.
CP is a relatively common diagnosis. According to the CDC, there are about 10,000 babies born each year in the U.S. who have CP. There is no cure; however, there are many treatments and resources that can greatly assist your child and ensure he/she achieves his/her full potential.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
The diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy is not a determination of how your child will progress developmentally or what other difficulties he/she might experience. Many children with CP have learning difficulties and can be at risk for seizures. Again, though, not all children with CP have these difficulties. There are 3 main types of CP:
It is important to understand that “muscle tone” is not the same as “strength”. Muscle tone has to do with the body’s readiness to move, not how strong or weak your child is. Many parents also question if their child is being “lazy”. Again, development occurs when the connections are made between the brain and the muscles, which then allows the child to develop a particular skill.
There are other terms you will hear that help describe the type of CP your child has. They include:
Whenever the brain receives some form of trauma, there can be an increased risk of seizures. Seizures are when there is abnormal activity in the brain that impairs functioning. When someone experiences numerous seizures over time, they are usually diagnosed with “Epilepsy” or “Seizure Disorder”. There are instances where someone may experience a seizure related to an isolated incident (such as a high fever or a minor traumatic injury). Having one seizure does not mean you have Epilepsy.
About 2 million Americans have Epilepsy, and a significant portion of these are children and adolescents. Anytime there is an injury to the brain, there is an increased risk that seizures will occur in that area. Again, not all children with CP develop seizures but it is important to be aware of the signs so that you can make your health professional aware if you become concerned.
Signs and Symptoms of Seizures:
Experiencing any of the above symptoms does not automatically mean that your child has Epilepsy. Also, every person’s seizures can appear differently and the above list is not meant to include every symptom. It is important, though, if you notice any of these signs or other odd behaviors with your child that you bring it to your physician’s attention.