31 Must-Know Facts About Cerebral Palsy
British Columbia celebrates Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month every May.
The final day of May, otherwise known as ‘Canadian Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month’, presents an opportunity for one final sprint of CP awareness-raising before rolling into June. Inspired by lists published by The Mighty and Firefly, we present you with 31 must-know facts about cerebral palsy:
- Cerebral palsy is not a disease.
- It is an umbrella term used to describe a group of disorders affecting body movement and muscle coordination.
- No two people with cerebral palsy are affected the same way.
- Cerebral = “of the brain” + Palsy = “lack of muscle control”
- Cerebral palsy is caused by an injury to the developing brain at any time during pregnancy, birth, or until early childhood.
- It is not hereditary.
- The symptoms of cerebral palsy depend on the area and severity of brain damage.
- There is no known cure for the brain damage.
- Cerebral palsy does not damage a child’s muscles or the nerves connecting them to the spinal cord.
- It only affects the brain’s ability to control the muscles of the body.
- Cerebral palsy is not progressive.
- The injury to the brain is a one-time event, although the effects of cerebral palsy may change over time.
- Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type, affecting roughly 75% of the population with cerebral palsy.
- Athetoid cerebral palsy is the second most common type, representing about 25%.
- Ataxic and mixed cerebral palsy are other, less common types.
- Physical disabilities associated with cerebral palsy do not indicate intelligence level.
- People with cerebral palsy have varying levels of intelligence, no different than that of the general population.
- Speech difficulties reflect muscular limitations, not cognitive restrictions.
- Muscles in limbs affected by cerebral palsy are not paralyzed.
- Areas of the body affected by cerebral palsy may have diminished sensation.
- Cerebral palsy is not contagious.
- A child with cerebral palsy likely will be delayed in reaching developmental milestones, such as rolling over and standing.
- There is no standard physical therapy that works for all people with cerebral palsy.
- Associated medical costs depend on the severity of cerebral palsy symptoms.
- Families in Canada do not receive adequate government benefits to cover the medical costs of a child with cerebral palsy.
- It is the most common physical disability in childhood.
- There are over 100 new cases of cerebral palsy in British Columbia every year.
- Between 2,000 and 3,000 children (19 years of age and younger) in British Columbia have cerebral palsy.
- Over 40,000 people in Canada have cerebral palsy.
- These 40,000+ Canadians have unique skills and knowledge to offer society thanks to differing age, ethnicity, cognitive ability, gender, and physical mobility.
- Canadians with cerebral palsy are part of a spectrum of Canadian diversity that do not need to be made to conform to a standardized norm.