I don’t often get completely serious here at Muffin top mummy. Even my post about my poor daughter’s food poisoning had a few moments of comic relief.
However, I’m well aware that having a blog that is actually read by people (mostly) gives me a platform. And with that platform, I can do some good, alongside the light-hearted humour.
That is why I’m supporting World Cerebral Palsy day (on October 6th 2017) by sharing some myth-busting facts about the highly misunderstood disorder.
Judgement and preconception is always a dangerous thing. I’m confident that the more we talk and educate people about the reality of disorders like Cerebral Palsy, the better our society will be for it. Awareness must come before a difference can be made.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a chronic neurological disorder that affects a person’s motor function and posture. However, it has a wide range of symptoms that can vary significantly from person to person.
It is caused by a problem with the brain before, during or soon after birth, but symptoms of Cerebral Palsy aren’t usually obvious in a newborn. In fact, it is likely to be during the first two to three years of a child’s life that symptoms may be recognisable.
So, what sort of myths need busting?
Cerebral Palsy Myth vs reality
People with Cerebral Palsy are always mentally impaired.
Nope, not true. In fact, not only are many people with Cerebral Palsy fully functional mentally, many of them are intellectually gifted.
People with Cerebral Palsy need a wheelchair
Although some Cerebral Palsy patients do require a wheelchair, many are able to walk with the assistance of crutches. Others can walk and run without any assistance!
People with Cerebral Palsy can’t communicate
Some Cerebral Palsy patients do have impairments related to hearing and speaking. However, those with hearing impairments often use sign language or communication boards.
Cerebral Palsy is contagious
Not at all!! You cannot get Cerebral Palsy from touching or hugging a person with the disorder. Similarly, babies cannot get it from contact with their mothers, if their mother has Cerebral Palsy.
All Cerebral Palsy is the same
Actually, there are 4 kinds of Cerebral Palsy: spastic Cerebral Palsy, dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy, ataxic Cerebral Palsy and mixed Cerebral Palsy. According to the CDC, the most common type of mixed Cerebral Palsy is spastic-dyskinetic. Plus, there is a huge spectrum regarding Cerebral Palsy’s severity, and each person will have a different Cerebral Palsy experience.
Children with Cerebral Palsy will never live independently
Again, this relates back to that spectrum of severity. Some people with Cerebral Palsy may need lifelong assistance, but many people with Cerebral Palsy live very independent lives!
People with Cerebral Palsy can’t have children
Cerebral Palsy does not usually affect fertility. Though some people with Cerebral Palsy may choose adoption due to medical issues, many choose to have biological children.
Cerebral Palsy is rare
Cerebral Palsy is actually the #1 childhood motor disability, and can affect as many as 1 in 323 children.
Cerebral Palsy is progressive
Usually, Cerebral Palsy does not have degenerative effects and often the symptoms get better over time.
Cerebral Palsy is always the result of a birth injury
Cerebral Palsy is caused by trauma to the brain before, during, or soon after birth. However, it can also be caused by factors like inflammation, congenital disorders or maternal health issues
I hope this information has helped to alleviate any misconceptions you may have had about Cerebral Palsy. I wasn’t aware of a lot of these facts (like the 4 different kinds) so it’s definitely something worth sharing.
Tell your friends, tell your family and get involved with World Cerebral Palsy day. Spread the facts and myth-bust the fiction.
For more information and ideas on how you can help, visit the World Cerebral Palsy day website.
Thank you for reading and showing your support for World Cerebral Palsy day – October 6th 2017!