The term cerebral palsy describes a range of conditions affecting a child’s ability to move or control their movement due to problems with development or injury to the immature brain. The child’s movement can be affected by increased tone or stiffness in their muscles (spasticity); or by short and jerky movements (ataxia); or by poor control of slow or writhing movements (dyskinesia).
Other terms commonly used to describe types of cerebral palsy include hemiplegia (one side of the body is more affected than the other); diplegia (the legs are more affected than the arms); and quadriplegia (all four limbs are affected).
Cerebral palsy is the commonest cause of physical disability in children and it affects about one child in every 500. There are approximately 60 children diagnosed with cerebral palsy each year in Northern Ireland.
Cerebral palsy is up to 80 times more common among babies born too soon or too small and the number of tiny babies surviving continues to increase.
Very little is still known about the precise causes of cerebral palsy and so the possibilities for prevention remain limited until more research is undertaken.
It is important to find out how services could be improved for children with cerebral palsy.
At the end of each month a yellow report card is sent out to more than 100 health care professionals across Northern Ireland. Professionals are asked if they have seen a 'new' child (ie. newly diagnosed or newly referred) with suspected or definite cerebral palsy during the last month.READ MORE
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