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Managing Cerebral Palsy & Awareness Month

cerebral palsy awareness ribbon

The month of March marks Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month – a time of advocacy for people living with this group of disorders. Here at VIM Healthcare, we offer support and therapy for people with Cerebral Palsy so thought we would take some time to highlight the condition and the types of treatment that are available to help manage Cerebral Palsy.

What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy is the name given to a group of disorders that affect a baby, either before they are born, during or shortly after birth. There are adults with Cerebral Palsy but no late onset of the condition is known about – the condition is diagnosed at an early age.

Cereal Palsy can be caused by several different factors there is no one cause. The condition develops if a baby’s brain fails to develop properly in the womb, or brain damage occurs during or after birth. Damage that happens during or after birth can be caused when the supply of oxygen is cut off to the brain, a bleed on the brain or a head injury. Certain infections can also damage the brain, such as Meningitis.

Because there are various causes of Cerebral Palsy, and the severity of the damage can vary, symptoms can vary between individuals. According to the NHS website, the symptoms become noticeable in children between the ages of two to three years old.

As mentioned, symptoms are varied but include:

  • Movements in a child that stand out as jerky or uncontrolled, or limbs that are too stiff or too floppy.
  • A child not reaching developmental milestones such as walking (although this can also be caused by numerous other conditions)
  • Difficulty with swallowing, speaking, or vision
  • A child may also have learning difficulties

Cerebral Palsy is a lifelong condition and there isn’t currently a cure. Because the range and severity of symptoms can vary, some children may have severe disabilities and others may have milder symptoms. Life expectancy can also vary, but most children with Cerebral Palsy go on to be adults living with Cerebral Palsy.

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month was initiated in 2006 by a group of advocates and aims to bring together people with Cerebral Palsy, parents, and advocates to not only bring awareness to the condition but offer practical advice on inclusivity and support.

The month of March is dedicated to Cerebral Palsy advocacy and March 25th is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. Advocacy and support are indicated by the colour green – you may see many people using green coloured ribbons on social media, or wearing them. Although these events originated in the US, they are often celebrated around the world, including here in the UK, to further raise awareness of the condition.

There is another special day in the Cerebral Palsy calendar (this is where it can get confusing!) held later on in the year – World Cerebral Palsy Day occurs on October 6th each year.

The celebratory days have a wide appeal because so many people worldwide are affected by the condition. It’s estimated there are 18 million people around the world with the condition. In the UK there are around 160,000 people with Cerebral Palsy. 130,000 of those people are adults living with various degrees of disability, and 30,000 are children.

Managing Cerebral Palsy

There is no cure for Cerebral Palsy, and it is a lifelong condition. The original damage to the brain doesn’t worsen throughout a person’s lifetime, but because of additional strain put on the body, many with Cerebral Palsy can struggle with joint mobility and pain later in life. Generally, people with Cerebral Palsy have issues with mobility overall, this may include walking or fine motor skills. People may often struggle with poor muscle condition and strength. It’s important to manage these symptoms as it can improve a person’s quality of life and prevent secondary conditions later in life.

To manage their symptoms, adults and children can access various types of treatments, medical professionals may be able to provide medications to help with some symptoms, and in some cases surgeries.

However, physical therapy will play a large part in someone’s life if they have Cerebral Palsy, as most symptoms associated with the condition are related to movement.

Cerebral Palsy Management And Therapy At VIM Healthcare

At VIM Healthcare, our holistic approach focuses on improving, restoring, and maintaining physical strength and mobility for adults with Cerebral Palsy. Being able to perform a wide range of normal movements is often the key to independence for most people, in turn, independence increases the overall quality of life and feelings of wellness.

Because each individual with Cerebral Palsy is unique, our treatment packages for the condition are tailored to each person we see.

We provide neurological therapy for clients that may include the use of robotics to assist with movement. This can be used to improve both lower and upper limb function. We also have treatment for people struggling with balance and who are prone to falling. For people that struggle with spasticity, which is very common with Cerebral Palsy we have a range of treatments designed to increase the range of movement and strengthen muscles. In some cases, our orthotic service may also be appropriate.

For some people, occupational therapy may be helpful, particularly for people wanting to work or who are already in employment and need additional help. One of the key issues brought up each month during Cerebral Palsy month, is how we can help more people with the condition find and stay in employment. For some people, especially those with milder symptoms, work can be manageable so long as reasonable adjustments are made and the person has access to support, such as physical therapy.

For people with more severe symptoms and a high degree of disability, we offer an intensive neurological rehabilitation service. This type of service is even suitable for adults with Cerebral Palsy that may have not accessed any treatment for a while or have noticed secondary effects of their condition.

We also have an inclusive accessible gym at our centre that is suitable for people with Cerebral Palsy to use – the gym is often incorporated into our treatment programmes.

No matter your current ability levels or treatment goals, at VIM we have a treatment that can help you manage Cerebral Palsy by increasing independence and overall wellness. Please get in touch to book an assessment and start your journey with us.

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