Cerebral Palsy and Secondary Issues

Cerebral palsy affects people differently including; learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, behavioral challenges, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Executive Function Disorder. People with cerebral palsy often have medical issues as well including, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, swallowing difficulties, vision problems, aspiration and constipation.

Seizures
  • a seizure is a sudden, out of control event that can cause involuntary movement.
  • It occurs when there are bursts of abnormal electrical activity in the brain which interferes with normal brain functioning.
  • The brain constantly sends unusual electrical messages very close together.
  • Inform the participants that seizures are the most common of associated problems.
  • Experts believe that seizures are the result of scarred tissue in the brain.
  • About 50% of people with cerebral palsy suffer from seizures.
  • Epilepsy is more common in the child with spastic quadriplegic
  • Complex partial seizures are the most common in people with cerebral palsy
  • in most cases, it is unknown the cause of seizures.

Cases which the cause is known include

  • Serious brain injury
  • Lack of oxygen
  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Infection in the brain including meningitis and encephalitis
  • Inflammation of the brain
  • Co-occurring conditions that involve an intellectual or developmental disabilities

Treating Seizures

  • Try to keep calm and make sure the person having the seizure is comfortable and safe from harm.
  • A seizure can last from a second or several minutes

Do Not:

  • Do not hold the person down or try to stop his or her movements.
  • Do not put anything in the person’s mouth. This can injure teeth or the jaw. A person having a seizure cannot swallow his or her tongue.
  • Do not try to give mouth-to-mouth breaths (CPR). People usually start breathing again on their own after a seizure.
  • Do not offer the person water or food until he or she is fully alert.

After the seizure:

  • After the seizure ends, the person will probably be groggy and tired. He or she also may have a headache and be confused or embarrassed. Try to help the person find a place to rest.
Vision Issues
  • The term blindness refers to complete impairment of vision
  • Visual impairment refers to diminished vison or low vision but not total blindness.
  • A person’s right side may include problems with muscles that control the right eye making it difficult for the affected eye to move from side to side.
  • People may appear to be crossed eyes.
  • Explain that people with cerebral palsy may have a condition called strabismus, where eyes do not line up and focus properly because of differences between the left and right eye muscles
  • May only impact one eye which happens to those whose cerebral palsy affect one side of the body.
Learning Disability
  • People with cerebral palsy may have a short attention span, motor difficulties, perceptual difficulties and language difficulties
  • This can impact literacy, numeracy and other important skills.
  • Learning disabilities may also affect fine and gross motor coordination
  • They may tire easily since they have to put more effort into concentrating on their movements and sequence of actions.
ADHD
  • A disorder of the executive function of the brain that allows a person to focus and organize
  • It is a developmental disability that occurs in approximately 3 to 5% of children
  • 19% of children with cerebral palsy will be diagnosed with ADHD
Hydrocephalus 
  • Enlargement of the fluid filled spaces in and around the brain known as ventricles
  • To correct the damaging effects, the fluid build-up is performed involving a shunt
Behavior Challenges
  • Children and adults with cerebral palsy may be more prone to having problems controlling their impulses as well as having difficulty with focus and attention
Hearing Loss
  • Birth injuries can cause partial or complete loss of vision and or hearing in many individuals
  • Possible result of physical damage to the ear due to inflammation of built-up
  • Senorineural hearing loss- nerves that transmit sound information from the outside world to the brain are damaged
Tube Feeding
  • Gastrostomy is used with children with significant eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties to ensure they received enough food and drink.
  • It is surgically placed through the abdominal wall to feed formula, liquids and medication directly to the stomach.
Intellectual Disability
  • Approximately 2/3 of people with cerebral palsy have an intellectual disability
  • 1/3 have Mild
  • 1/3- Moderate
  • 1/3- Normal IQ
  • Children with spastic quadriplegia are more likely to have an intellectual disability