4 myths about cerebral palsy
It must be the muscles that are injured, when a person has cerebral palsy. Or is it? And how can it be, that some people with CP has cognitive difficulties, while others have none or very few? The CP diagnosis is very diverse, and it can be difficult to know exactly what it means to have cerebral palsy for people, who aren’t familiar with the diagnosis. Therefor we have collected four of the most common myths about cerebral palsy and will explain why they tend not to be quite true.
Myth 1: It is the muscles that are injured
Cerebral palsy is a term for injuries, which has happened in the brain. It is therefore a brain damage, which can cause tight muscles, involuntary movements and other physical symptoms. The muscle itself is not damaged. It is the “operating system” in the brain, which is damaged, and therefore will make the muscle do involuntary movements and cause reduced motor functions.
Myth 2: If you are physically disabled, you are also cognitively disabled
Cerebral palsy is a wide term for different levels of congenital brain damage, or a damage that occurs on the brain within the first two years of a child’s life. The symptoms vary from person to person. The damages occurs in different spots in the brain, and that is the reason why some people with cerebral palsy will be both physically and cognitively disabled, while others have none or just a few cognitive symptoms.
Myth 3: The damage will get worse and worse
Cerebral palsy is a static brain damage. The damage will not get worse. Although, that doesn’t mean, that the symptoms can’t get worse. The muscles can get very tight, if you do not train them and make active stretches. Because of that, it is important for at person with CP to remember to do exercises that strengthen the muscles, train the balance and coordination and actively stretches the muscles.
Myth 4: When a person with CP has trouble speaking, he/she will have trouble understanding what you say to them
If a person with CP has trouble speaking, then it is because the centre in the brain, that regulates the speech, is damaged. That doesn’t necessarily mean, that the person can’t understand what others say. As already written: the diagnosis cerebral palsy can vary a lot from person to person.