Cerebral palsy (CP) happens when the brain doesn’t develop normally. In most cases, it’s when a baby is in the womb, but it can also develop in early childhood.
One possible cause of CP is genes. There’s a problem with the body’s growth blueprint that affects the brain’s progress. But there are other things that may trigger it.
A mother who’s as healthy as possible gives her baby better chances of being healthy, too. For Megha Lingayat, a resident of Nerul from Navi Mumbai this was not the case. She was married to a person from her extended family. When she was pregnant with her first-born son she was suffering from rubella. During her pregnancy, she was treated for the condition. Her doctors assured that it wouldn’t affect the child.
When the child was born, he seemed normal. But she noticed that the child’s development was slow. She consulted a doctor who ran a few tests and then diagnosed the child with cerebral palsy and told her that the child would face difficulties in walking.
The doctor stated that the probable reason behind this was that the rubella infection could have affected the developing brain of the foetus in her womb. She took care of the child and then had another pregnancy.
She consulted a doctor and took precautions, the doctor also assured her that there was nothing to worry about, so she continued with the pregnancy. She was shocked when her second child was also diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Her elder son, Ayush is now an 11-year-old. And her younger son, Vedant is 7 years old.
While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Megha said, “I don’t want another child as I have to look after these children. It is difficult to take care of them as they cannot walk on their own. My husband is the sole bread-earner of the family. He just earns Rs 18,000. We have to take care of our household expenses along with the pshyiotherapy of my children. I cannot leave them and work. “
She added, “But I want to educate them well and give them a fair chance life.”
What is Cerebral Palsy (CP)?
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a problem that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills. It hinders the body’s ability to move in a coordinated and purposeful way. It also can affect other body functions that involve motor skills and muscles, like breathing, bladder and bowel control, eating, and talking.
CP often is 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 sight, hearing, and learning problems.
Cerebral palsy is due to abnormal brain development, often before birth.
Symptoms include exaggerated reflexes, floppy or rigid limbs and involuntary motions. These appear by early childhood.
Long-term treatment includes physical and other therapies, drugs and sometimes surgery.
It is often seen that parents of offspring with cerebral palsy go into depression or they blame themselves for their child’s condition. Such parents also have to face societal stigma. Even children with cerebral palsy feel that something about them is different as they can’t play like other children. They too have their fears and insecurities.
In order to help these parents understand the condition of their children better, Terna Physiotherapy College in Nerul had organised a programme. More than 30 parents and children attended this programme.
The parents were informed of different schemes being provided by the government for treatment and other purposes.
While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Juhi Dave, a professor at Terna Physiotherapy College, said, “If a child is born with cerebral palsy, the parents go into depression or they feel guilty. People think that nothing can be done to treat this condition. But that is wrong, if it is diagnosed on-time treatment is possible and the child can live an independent life.”
She added, “We organised this programme to boost the confidence level of parents. Through this programme, we informed parents about government schemes. And also answered questions that parents had regarding cerebral palsy and other things associated with the condition.”