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Cerebral Palsy

You may face some extra challenges if your child is deaf and has cerebral palsy. But there are things you can do.

Children with cerebral palsy are more likely than other children to have problems with their hearing. Try to find out if your child has a hearing loss as early as possible. That way, you can help your child get the help he needs right away.

What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy (seh-reh-bral PAHL-zee) is a medical problem where children may have a harder time moving smoothly, keeping their balance, and standing or sitting straight. Sometimes they may need a wheelchair or crutches to help them get around.

Children with cerebral palsy are all very different. But they all have some damage to their brains. The part of the brain that is hurt is the part that controls whether the muscles are tight or relaxed. This is called muscle tone. Children with cerebral palsy can have muscles that are too tight (called high tone) or too relaxed (called low tone.)

Cerebral palsy usually happens while the baby is growing in the mother's belly or while the baby is being born. Sometimes it can happen from a head injury soon after the baby is born. Cerebral palsy is not a disease that one person can give to another person, like a cold or the flu.

Cerebral palsy often comes with other problems:

  • Problems with seeing, hearing or talking
  • Learning disabilities
  • Problems with eating and breathing
  • Seizures

There is no cure, but with the right help, people with cerebral palsy are living better lives now than ever before.

What causes cerebral palsy?
Doctors don't know exactly what causes cerebral palsy. Most people with cerebral palsy are born with it. Cerebral palsy can happen if the baby's brain doesn't grow right, or is injured while the mother is pregnant.

Some babies get cerebral palsy during birth if:

  • The baby doesn't get enough oxygen from the air. This might happen if the baby has problems breathing.
  • The mother has an infection
  • The baby weighs too little (less than 2 pounds)
  • The baby is born too early

Children can also get cerebral palsy up to the age of 5 from a head injury. But this doesn't happen very often.

Next: The Signs of Cerebral Palsy

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