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They say it’s wise to never judge a book by its cover, for its content far exceeds its appearance. The same can be said when looking at pictures of cerebral palsy patients. Because of their sometimes-befuddled facial expressions, many people assume that how they look is a reflection of what is going on inside of their mind and body as well. It just so happens that this is very far from the truth. Athetoid cerebral palsy can sometimes affect the muscles of the face and tongue, which could cause grimacing or drooling. Most people are usually surprised at the sometimes above-average intelligence and candor of cerebral palsy patients. Their intelligence can range from above average to severely mentally retarded. Pictures of cerebral palsy patients can be deceiving because of the varying degrees of the condition.
Cerebral palsy is the collective name used to describe a spectrum of chronic movement disorders that affect muscle and body coordination, caused by damage to one or more areas of the brain. Degrees of mobility issues can vary from slight to severe. Cerebral palsy is not an inherited disorder, as of now there is no way to predict which children would be afflicted. No two people with cerebral palsy are the same; it is as individual as the people themselves. Cerebral palsy is also a condition, not a disease, and is not communicable.
Cerebral palsy stems from “cerebral” referring to the brain and “palsy” to poor muscle control or muscle weakness. The parts of the body that provide movement, such as the muscles, nerves, and the spinal cord are normal. The brain, which is responsible for sending messages to those parts of the body that coordinate movement, cannot execute these movements like a non-disabled person.
Cerebral palsy usually occurs during fetal development before, during, or shortly after birth, or during infancy. Cerebral palsy is primarily not a progressive condition, as brain damage does not get worse, although cerebral palsy symptoms may change over time. Secondary conditions associated with cerebral palsy, such as muscle tightness, over time can improve, get worse or stay the same.
With the various treatments and help centers available today, as well as new technology, cerebral palsy patients have a better chance of living an enjoyable life. With this new technology, video and pictures of cerebral palsy patients can be used to document progress in their gait, and even botox treatments are being found to be extremely effective.
Proper diagnosis at an early age is crucial to the effective treatment and management of cerebral palsy. Diagnosis can be made as early as three months old in severe cases, but usually is easier to detect between 18 and 36 months. Physicians must also have a complete history of mother and child’s healthcare in order to determine possible risk factors during or after birth.
Looking at pictures of cerebral palsy patients can in no way relay the magnitude of this condition. While many show similar symptoms, every case is as individual as the person affected. Specialized teams of medical physicians and physical therapists are important in determining the severity of the condition, and prescribing the proper treatment and therapy in order to alleviate the symptoms of cerebral palsy.