Skip to Content Skip to Mainnavigation Skip to Meta Navigation Skip to Footer
Skip to Content Skip to Mainnavigation Skip to Meta Navigation Skip to Footer

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a condition that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills. It hinders the body's ability to move in a coordinated way and can also affect other body functions that involve motor skills and muscles, like breathing, bladder and bowel control, eating, and talking.

CP is often caused by brain damage that happens before or during a baby's birth, or during the first 3-to-5 years of a child's life. Brain damage also can lead to other issues, like difficulties with sight, hearing, and learning.

People with cerebral palsy often have multiple impairments:

  • a physical impairment, such as difficulty walking, grasping, holding or carrying.

  • a speech impairment: difficulty with speaking and expressing themselves

A big attitudinal barrier that people with cerebral palsy face is that people think they have an intellectual impairment (because of their speech problem) or people think they are drunk.

There are also different levels of Cerebral Palsy (mild, moderate, severe). Some people with Cerebral Palsy can walk without assistive devices, but some may need to use a wheelchair.

Early detection and intervention of Cerebral Palsy is very important. Cerebral Palsy cannot be cured, but physiotherapy and speech therapy early in life are very important for the development of a child with cerebral palsy.

How to communicate with a person with cerebral palsy

  • Allow time for the person to speak. He or she may speak slower than you are used to.

  • Avoid the urge to interrupt or complete the sentence for the person.

  • Do not take over the conversation.

  • If you do not understand what the person said, ask for repetition.

  • Do not pretend you have understood if you haven’t.

  • Ask if there is somebody close by who may be able to interpret.

  • If despite all you are unsuccessful, ask if the message is urgent.

Most importantly, ask someone themselves how they want to be addressed, and how they want to be supported.


Is this article worth reading

Report an error? Report now.

Find answers to all your questions in our Community