5 October 2018
World Cerebral Palsy Day – By Interchange Australia Consultant, Katie Dobie
World Cerebral Palsy Day is observed on the 6th October. The day is an opportunity to take action to raise awareness of cerebral palsy and to celebrate and express pride in the lives and achievements of people with cerebral palsy and the people and organisations that support them.
Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition that can be used to describe a collection of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move. This occurs when damage has been done to the brain whilst it is developing or shortly after birth. Cerebral palsy affects a person’s body control, tone and movement, posture and balance. Some people with cerebral palsy may also experience hearing, visual, learning and speech impairments. The cause for cerebral palsy is unknown and there is no cure.
If you were to break down the words cerebral and palsy, ‘cerebral’ means ‘of the brain’ and ‘palsy’ means ‘lack of muscle control’.
Key Facts About Cerebral Palsy*
- Every 15 hours, an Australian child is born with cerebral palsy
- 1 in 500 Australian babies is diagnosed with cerebral palsy
- It is the most common physical disability in childhood
- 1 in 2 has an intellectual impairment
- Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term for a group of disorders. It is a condition that is permanent, but not unchanging
- 1 in 3 cannot walk
- Cerebral palsy is a life-long physical disability due to damage of the developing brain
- 1 in 4 has epilepsy
- 1 in 4 has a behaviour disorder
- Cerebral palsy, except in its mildest forms, can be evident in the first 12-18 months
- 1 in 5 is tube fed
- Motor disability can range from minimal to profound, depending on the individual
- 1 in 10 has a severe vision impairment
- 1 in 25 has a severe hearing impairment
Symptoms of cerebral palsy can range from weakness in one hand, to an almost complete lack of voluntary movement. People with significant physical disability may require 24 hour a day care.
People with cerebral palsy are likely to also have other impairments in addition to their motor disability.
Spastic hemiplegia, where one half of the body has difficulty with voluntary movement, is the most common presentation of cerebral palsy. Approximately 40% of people with cerebral palsy have hemiplegia.
Interchange Australia provides support services to clients with cerebral palsy. I recently wrote an article about one of our clients who has cerebral palsy, Mary-Anne, that outlined all of the achievements she has made as a result of the support services she receives and her own personal determination to reach her goals. For more information about our services, please call our friendly team on 1300 112 334.
For more information about cerebral palsy, please visit the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation website.
*Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation