What are the signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy?

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This is Rupert a.k.a Roopop

The condition is often noticed early in life. A baby may seem ‘floppy’ and could have feeding problems (the muscles in the throat used in swallowing might not be working properly).

Soon afterwards tightness of the muscles (spasticity) might emerge or more jerky chaotic movements (dyskinesia).

Often a child with cerebral palsy will fail to achieve the expected ‘milestones’ of development and their movement patterns are unusual (such as fisted hands or stiff pointed ankles) as though they are trying to walk on tiptoe. Some will go on to have difficulty walking.

Other problems can include speech and feeding difficulties, balance and co-ordination problems, hearing and sight problems and learning difficulties.

Between a quarter and a third of children and adolescents are also affected by epilepsy.

There are three main types of cerebral palsy:

  • Spastic cerebral palsy which affects muscle tone. Muscles can become very stiff and weak.
  • Dyskinetic cerebral palsy where muscle tone can fluctuate.
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy which is the least common and means movements are often jerky and balance is poor.

Different parts of the body can be affected:

  • Hemiplegia means just one side of the body.
  • Diplegia is where the legs are more affected than the arms.
  • Quadriplegia (also called four limb/total body involvement) is where both arms and legs are affected. Quadriplegia is usually the most severe in terms of other problems co-existing.

The conditions don’t progress – in other words brain damage doesn’t get worse – but a person’s physical capacity can change over time.

"What if I fall?" Oh, but my darling What if you fly

Support Rupert

The next fund raiser for Rupert is happening on September 15th by Ruperts Dad, Paul. He will be cycling 284km, 1km for each day that Rupert spent in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and 1km for each day we missed George. The route has been chosen wisely to go through the National Forest between Seville and Granada. The trek is to take around 3 days and all proceeds and donations go to Rupert to fund his on going treatment. You can see more about Rupert's treatment here