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Cerebral Palsy

What is Cerebral Palsy? 

Cerebral Palsy arises from a failure of part of the brain to develop during birth or early childhood. It is the description of a physical impairment that affects movement. The movement problems vary from barely noticeable to extremely severe.

There are 3 main types, which correspond to injuries to different parts of the brain:

The main effect of cerebral palsy is difficulty in movement, but the severity of this can vary greatly. Sometimes other parts of the brain are also affected, resulting in sight, hearing, perception and learning difficulties.

There is no cure, but we do know that correct treatment from an early age can ease the effects of cerebral palsy. Occasionally children who appear to have cerebral palsy lose the signs as they get older. Most importantly, having a disability does not mean that someone cannot lead a full and independent life.

Living with Cerebral Palsy 

Control of the muscles is not very efficient and so any exertion can be tiring. Some individuals will need assistance with everyday tasks such as dressing. 

Where 'speech' muscles are affected communication can prove difficult and frustrating. Excitement can make this worse.

Although communication may be hampered the understanding or learning part of the brain may be unimpaired and intelligence is unaffected.

Adolescence can bring increased difficulties. Along with the usual developmental changes, both physical and emotional, an individual with Cerebral Palsy can lose further mobility.

Practical Tips

Discuss with the individual and/or their parents/guardians the extent to which help is needed and learn any practical tips that they have to offer.

For further information, contact the Scout Information Centre via info.centre@scouts.org.uk, or follow the link to Scope, on the right hand side of the page.


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