Cerebral Palsy Babies & Infants
Cerebral palsy as the name indicates is paralysis caused by the damaged brain. But the symptoms of cerebral palsy babies may vary greatly depending on type and severity of lesion in the brain. It is not always full blown paralysis. The brain damage although is non-progressive but the clinical symptoms in cerebral palsy babies can progress with time. But if treated early, the life of more than 80% children can be independent and productive.
Recent advances have significantly increased the survival of LBW & premature infants. Premature children are more susceptible to brain injury so we have more number of children having a neurological developmental delay and they develop full blown cerebral palsy. Therefore, it is very important to detect it at the earliest and treat with a right combination of cerebral palsy treatment.
High risk cerebral palsy infant:
Newly born cerebral palsy baby with any unwanted event in prenatal, perinatal and post natal life like intrauterine infection, fetal distress, congenital brain anomalies, birth asphyxia, low birth weight, prematurity, severe jaundice etc. leads to high risk of manifesting symptoms of cerebral palsy.
Early detection is the key:
Management of high risk of cerebral palsy must begin as soon as the injury is recognized in the cerebral palsy newborn nursery during the first week of life and should continue up to 1year. Symptoms for developing cerebral palsy can include lethargy, refusal to feed (eating, sucking, swallowing), low muscle tone, seizures, abdominal distension or lack of alertness it can be a sign. We also should check for normal reflexes according to age and another normal developmental milestone. Abnormal reflexes can give an early indication of abnormality. Delay in developmental milestones can be very easily identified and must not be ignored.
What is early intervention?
Early intervention can not only prevent advancement of condition but also makes child independent in future. For this, high-risk cerebral palsy babies must be identified at the earliest and should be provided remedial measures to lessen the handicaps. A simple home-based stimulation program is effective. Neuro-developmental treatment normalizes the muscle tone by inhibiting pathologic tonic reflex activity and repetitive facilitation of normal postural reflexes.
Goals are to educate mother in handling, positioning, daily living activity, to maintain muscle strength, to improve sensation in order to improve milestone. The mother is the best therapist since she is handling the child all day through, the only thing that she must be trained properly for handling the problems of her own child by a trained therapist.
The role of the therapist is to assess present neurological status and provisional future disability, provide overall sensory motor stimulation, follow-up assessment, home based cerebral palsy therapy program and parents counseling. It is better if the detection and management start in the ICU itself in high risk cerebral palsy infants.
Intervention: Correct positioning is very important for neurodevelopment outcome, a baby should be with the mother in accordance with kangaroo mother care, any process that involves touching should be gentle, and tone management should be done according to the type viz. Hypotonia, Hypertonia, Dystonia along with general NICU care. Sensory stimulation such as Proprioceptive, vestibular, visual stimulation, auditory stimulation, Chest & respiratory stimulation, Oromotor function should be given as per requirement. Follow-up should be done at two month and after 6 month.
We must remember “The mother is the best therapist for the child & her involvement & commitment is of paramount importance.”
Click to know more about:
- Cerebral Palsy Definition
- Cerebral Palsy Types
- Cerebral Palsy Surgery
- Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis
- Cerebral Palsy Success Stories
- Cerebral Palsy Life Expectancy
- Pediatric Disabilities Treatment
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