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Cerebral Palsy

This a very broad umbrella term that is used to describe a group of chronic, non-hereditary condition of varying severity that are believed to be the result of faulty development of, or damage to, the motor areas in the brain, which then causes a disruption in the brain's ability to control muscular movement and posture. The brain damage and/or developmental problems that cause CP can take place before, during, or after birth, and can affect muscular control and movement in one or more parts of the body. Depending on the parts of the brain that are involved, affected individuals may also experience speech control problems, but will often enjoy very normal mental capabilities. Some of the causes of cerebral palsy that have been identified through research, and which to some degree are considered to be preventable or treatable, are: jaundice, head injury, Rh blood factor incompatibility, and German measles (rubella).

Question: Cerebral palsy? I recently started working as a nanny. The family I work for has a 3 year old son with cerebral palsy and is blind. My question is what kind of activities can I do with him? Also does anyone know anything about this condition? I am a little educated with it but not as well as I would like to be.

Answer: My 2 year old son has cerebral palsy. He is not blind, but does have vision issues, and he also has some degree of mental retardation. Some kids with cp have mental retardation, and some kids don't. CP is a neurological disorder. The child's brain has either been injured (perhaps during birth, or oxygen deprivation at some point) or wasn't formed correctly during early pregnancy. The brain can't communicate with the muscles properly, and therefore the child can't control his body the way we do. My son loves to be held, loves music and when I sing to him, he loves the water (of course you must be very careful and never take you eyes off of him not even for a second - if the phone rings, ignore it; same with the doorbell, don't run and get a towel, nothing - you must keep your hands on him at all times!) I bet this kid you are nannying would love the pool (you'd have to go in with him and hold him) My son really loves movement, like swinging and when I toss him gently on the bed over and over. He loves it when I talk to him - at first it didn't seem to make a difference, but slowly he has realized that he can interact with me. Also, stretching his muscles several times a day is very important. Stretch out his hamstrings (back of his thigh) and his calves. Give him lots of time on his tummy so he can develop his arm and back muscles - very important. Just give him lots and lots of love and attention! What a difference you can make in this boy's life! Sorry for the book - I wish that I had someone I trusted to watch my son. Oh yeah, and what frogenstein said is true - he probably qualifies for Early Intervention services, where he can go and get all sorts of therapies and interact with other kids like him. This is really beneficial. Linda


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