Myths and Facts About Cerebral Palsy

Apr 02, 2024
Myths and Facts About Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is the most common form of motor disability in children. If you think your child could have cerebral palsy, it’s important to separate the myths from the facts. 

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you want to know how they can function to the best of their ability and have as rich and fulfilling a life as possible. 

Board-certified pediatric neurologist Dr. Charles Niesen and our team at AMS Neurology in Pasadena, California, diagnose and treat children with cerebral palsy. Each case of cerebral palsy is different, and Dr. Niesen develops a treatment plan based on your child’s specific needs. 

There isn’t a cure for cerebral palsy yet, but there are effective treatments and aids that can help your child reach their potential. Treatment may include the following, which Dr. Niesen helps you access: 

  • Medication for pain and muscle tightness
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Recreational therapy
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Mental health care

People not familiar with cerebral palsy often misunderstand it. Following are common myths about the condition followed by facts that clear up misunderstandings. 

Myth: Children with cerebral palsy have to use a wheelchair 

More than half of children with cerebral palsy can walk. Some walk with assistance and some can walk without it. Every case of cerebral palsy is different. Your child is a unique individual. 

Myth: Children with cerebral palsy can’t be fully independent

Many people with cerebral palsy lead fully independent lives. Modern assistive technologies and devices help individuals with this disorder lead a normal life. The following types of aids are just some of the assistive devices that can help your child with daily living tasks: 

  • Sponges and brushes with long handles
  • Bath benches
  • Dressing aids
  • Raised or lowered toilet seats
  • Grab bars 
  • Weighted silverware and dinnerware
  • Adapted scissors
  • Aids to help getting in and out of bed
  • House key turners

Myth: Children with cerebral palsy are intellectually disabled

While some children with cerebral palsy have intellectual and learning disabilities, many children are of average to above-average intelligence. When you research adults with cerebral palsy, you’ll find people living full lives, including actors, writers, musicians, and more. 

Myth: Children with cerebral palsy won’t be able to function in school

While some children with severe cerebral palsy may have cognitive disabilities that prevent attending a regular school, many children with cerebral palsy sail through school and go on to experience rewarding careers. Modern technology offers a variety of assistive devices depending on your child’s type and level of disability. 

Using a pencil is one of the first tasks children learn in school. Dr. Niesen recommends specific assistive devices to help your child achieve their potential in the school setting. Pencil grips, weighted pencils, and a slanted writing board are available for those with mild physical disability that affects their hands. 

When students begin using computers in school, your child may use a typing aid to help them press the keys on the keyboard or communication board. Dr. Niesen might recommend a typing aid that has a metal pointer to help your child press keyboard keys or small buttons on a phone or calculator. 

Some children may need a communication board and/or a personal aide in school. Your child’s speech therapist teaches your child how to use the board to express their thoughts and complete tasks. If your child has a significant lack of mobility in their arms, hands, and fingers, communication boards can help them succeed with school tasks. 

Call our office at AMS Neurology or book an appointment online today if your pediatrician thinks your child may have cerebral palsy. With effective treatment, they can live a fulfilling life.