September 28, 2015

Therapists in Chicago: Cerebral Palsy

In Therapists in Chicago, an interview with one of our occupational therapists, Christine Deloria mentions her work with children diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in children (Facts About Cerebral Palsy, 2015). Cerebral palsy affects the motor ability, balance, and posture of people due to abnormalities or damages in the brain.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
There are four types of cerebral palsy.
        1.  Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common form, as it affects 80% of those who have cerebral palsy. Spastic cerebral palsy is defined as stiff muscles that result in limited or awkward movement. It can affect the legs, arms, or one side of the body and can make it difficult to walk, swallow, or talk.
        2. Dyskinetic cerebral palsy is associated with having difficulty in moving the hands, arms, feet and legs. Children have a hard time controlling the movement in those areas causing the movements to be drastically slow or speedy. The face and tongue may be affected and can cause eating and swallowing difficulties.
        3. Ataxic cerebral palsy affects one’s balance and coordination. This type causes unsteady walking, along with difficulty with fine and gross motor skills.
        4. Mixed cerebral palsy is a diagnosis given to those who are affected by more than one type described above. The most common diagnosis of mixed cerebral palsy is spastic-dyskinetic cerebral palsy.
Signs of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy can be diagnosed at an early age and many signs appear, some of which present themselves even before the child is 6 months old.
Before 6 months:
  • Head falls back when you pick up the baby
  • Body feels either stiff or floppy
  • Over-extends the back and neck while getting picked up
  • Legs are stiff
Older than 6 months: 
  • Does not roll on either side
  • Difficulty putting hands together
  • Difficulty bringing hand to mouth
Older than 10 months:
  • Crawls lopsided
  • Scoots on his bottom instead of crawling
There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but early intervention is crucial for children who suffer with this congenital disease. Once a child is diagnosed, a team of therapists can collaborate with the mission of helping the child develop to reach their full potential. Most children receiving treatment for cerebral palsy will work with physical, occupational, and speech therapists.
If your child has cerebral palsy, feel free to contact Step By Step Care Group at 312.242.1665 for a custom treatment plan appropriate for your child.


“Facts About Cerebral Palsy.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC, 12 Jan. 2015. Web. 08 July 2015.

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