Living with Cerebral Palsy
I often get asked about my disability and I reply I have Cerebral Palsy, which effects my movement, and I also have Scoliosis. A few people look puzzled when I mention Scoliosis as they haven’t heard of it, I say to them well, it’s what’s called curvature of the spine.
I was born with Cerebral Palsy and diagnosed with Scoliosis in my twenties when I found out I had this condition I also didn’t know what this was. I then did my research into this in terms of Cerebral Palsy and Scoliosis.
I browsed many websites although at the time there wasn’t very much information available. I then set up this website and discussion forum so I could contact other people in a similar situation as myself and share my experiences with others.
Cerebral palsy can occur during pregancy (~75%), at birth (~5%) or after birth (~15%). 80% of causes are unknown. For the small number where cause is known this can include infections, lack of iodine and significant head injury in very early childhood
Cerebral Palsy is a permanent physical condition that affects movement and there are various therapies that can help people with Cerebral Palsy maintain independence, physical movements and overall wellbeing.
People with Cerebral Palsy may have problems with speech and as a result advances in communication methods can help.
I sometimes get asked by people “What’s it like living cerebral palsy?” I reply I don’t see myself as disabled, because I was born this way and this is “normal”.
Living with a disability can also be traced back in history as far back as 1707 with Stephen Hopkins who lived with cerebral palsy, and many other people, past and present.
Scoliosis is a condition that involves a lateral curvature of the spine greater than 10°. The spine is bent sideways. It is incurable, but it can affect its natural course with treatments such as surgery or bracing.
Scoliosis curves greater than 10° affect 2-3% of the population. The prevalence of curves less than 20° is about equal in males and females. Curves greater than 20° effect 1 in 2500 people. Curves convex to the right are more common than those to the left, and single or ‘C’ curves are slightly more common than double or ‘S’ curve patterns. Girls are seven times more likely than boys to developing a significant, progressive curvature. More significant curves tend to develop between the ages of 10 and 16.
Scoliosis is often associated with other conditions such as neuromuscular disorders (e.g., cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, Friedreich’s ataxia); skeletal dysplasias; Marfan’s syndrome; neurofibromatosis; connective tissue disorders; and craniospinal axis disorders (e.g., syringomyelia).
Disability refers to the social effects of physical or mental impairment. This definition, known as the ‘social model’ of disability, makes a clear distinction between the impairment itself (such as a medical condition that makes a person unable to walk) and the disabling effects of society in relation to that impairment.
When a special needs child presents all the unique needs associated with his/her situation, parents face challenges that can sometimes be quite difficult.
Orthopaedic problems in toddlers
From knock-knees to pulled elbows, paediatrician Dr Benjamin Jacobs and orthopaedic surgeon Ms Deborah Eastwood advise on some common paediatric conditions.
Delayed walking – Most children walk with help–for example, with hands held or cruising round furniture–by one year of age. They indicate if a child is not walking by 18 months of age, referral. Causes include developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophies.
If there is a family history of bottom shuffling and the child is mobile by this means, then specialist referral can be deferred until two years of age.